The Mitre, No. 16 High Street And Nos. 3-7 Turl Street Oxford OX1 4AG

5 May 2018

 Turl Street: erection of two storey infill lodge building, including new basement. Courtyard: localised demolition of existing buildings, formation of new first floor access platform, including new stairs, canopy and decking to connect existing building, bike storage, new entrances, alterations to doors and fenestration, relocation of extract plant and condensers to new plant stack. Exterior: repair and renewal works to roofs of No’s 3, 6 and 7 Turl Street, replacement dormers to no’s 4 and 5 Turl Street and No. 16 High Street. Interior: internal reconfiguration, addition of en suites, upgrading of all mechanical and electrical services, fire safety measures, provision of an internal fire escape in 16 High Street existing in the Covered Market Entranceway and other alterations.

This is a welcome major refurbishment. The design and access statement explains very clearly how the modernisation of the accommodation and simplification of access and circulation routes will provide much improved facilities and also safer evacuation routes in the event of fire.  The applicant has given very careful consideration to the preservation of the historic fabric.

It is a pity that the insertion of the staircase and first floor platform at the south end of Turl Yard somewhat curtails the view of the Richardson and Gill building on the western flank which is in the Arts and Crafts style (historic buildings report, page 42). However, this is not in the public domain and the staircase and platform are essential components of the rationalisation of the access routes.

We have some reservations about the appearance of the proposed two storey lodge building which is the only part of the scheme which will be visible to the public passing along Turl Street. While the vertical lines of the first floor oriel window reflect those of neighbouring frontage, the fussy wrought iron lattice gate seems out of place.