133-135 And 137 Banbury Road Oxford Oxfordshire OX2 7AJ

16 May 2017

Demolition of garage and 4no. sheds at rear. Erection of single storey kitchen and store including roof top air handling units between 135 and 137 Banbury Road. Erection of single storey building to rear of 137 Banbury Road to provide storage area. Conversion of window to door and window at 133 Banbury Road.

This application is for consent to proposals which, in themselves, are unobjectionable, and could be said to tidy up a collection of minor outbuildings which detract from the settings of the two original properties. However, the justification for the development is presented as the need to accommodate large numbers of additional students for parts of the year, and for whom temporary arrangements have previously had to be made. The proposals therefore are significant in terms of the social consequences of the ‘creeping institutionalisation’ of this area of Oxford, and of the North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area – a phenomenon of which the recent draft Conservation Area appraisal was critical, in terms of its potential adverse effect on the character of the area. This institution (St Clare’s) already occupies 28 buildings in North Oxford, and is just one of several such organisations (as well as University colleges) which have, in recent years, expanded their operations in the neighbourhood. If consent were to be granted to this application, it should only be granted following very careful consideration of the potential adverse social effects and detriment to the character of the Conservation Area, and after establishment of a clear strategy setting limits on the future extent of such commercial and/or educational employment activity in the area.