Jurys Inn Godstow Road Oxford OX2 8AL
28 May 2019
Proposed new two storey extension to create 36 no new bedrooms and associated ancillary accommodation including rooftop plant and associated landscaping works.
This application is for a well-established hotel to expand from the existing 240 bedrooms to 276 bedrooms. The site is large and there is ample space on site for an expansion on this scale. However, the Oxford Civic Society is not convinced that the proposed new building is in the best possible location of the three that appear to have been considered for use within the existing site. The preferred option now put forward is described as Option 3. The applicant claims that this site will enable the enhancement of the area of the main entrance as well as allowing a link into the remainder of the hotel and that these considerations outweigh the loss of some of the existing parking spaces. No consideration appears to have been given to the loss of the attractive green block of trees and shrubs which would have to be removed to allow the new building to be built here. The loss would involve 6 field maple trees, 3 flowering cherry trees and 2 leylandi cypresses and well as 4 common hawthorn shrubs. Furthermore OCS are not persuaded that the erection of this two storey block so near to the main entrance to the hotel achieves the stated objective of enhancing this area. On the contrary, we take the view that the two storey erection of a building that presents a largely windowless facade to those arriving and leaving the main entrance achieves the opposite effect: we prefer the present green block of trees and shrubs. Option 2 which is to the north of Option 3 would allow the retention of this green block. Both Option 2 and 3 are said to involve some loss of existing spaces. At present there are 244 spaces for the existing 240 bedrooms. It is proposed that the new total of 276 bedrooms would have fewer, 232, parking spaces. We find it surprising that this reduction in parking facilities for the expanded hotel appears to have been accepted by the applicant as inevitable: we wonder whether this is really the case and is it acceptable.
Some other matters merit mention. The applicant has carried out air quality studies which appear to show that there would be no significant change in the air quality attributable to traffic generated by the hotel. It is also recommended that a Dust management plan to be in place during construction should be required by condition. Despite lengthy consideration of energy management issues it appears that no firm commitments have yet been made. This should be rectified before the grant of planning permission. We also note that no harvesting of grey water or rain water is currently contemplated.
On the whole, OCS regard this application with no enthusiasm. We recommend further consultation with the planning authorities before it is determined.