The White Rabbit 21 Friars Entry Oxford OX1 2BY
12 June 2020
Removal of condition 4 (Furniture Details) of planning permission 19/02699/VAR (Alterations of existing car park to create beer garden (revised plans).) (Retrospective).
The beer garden works at the White Rabbit are in breach of the National Planning Policy Framework. The site in question is at the junction of major pedestrian routes in the heart of the Conservation Area and will be seen by many thousands of people, some local, others from all over the world every year. As a previously neglected area, it was crying out for improvement consistent with its location in the heart of Oxford. If this application is allowed, those who are visitors to Oxford will be given a very poor impression of our City as they encounter the beer garden, which looks more like a sheep ranch than a place of public entertainment. One of several eyesores is the very large bar structure, which did not appear in the original planning application. It protrudes at the most visible end of the site. It is mainly clad in shiny corrugated steel, with a faux brick facing concealing the service hatch which is highly visible when the bar is closed. It has wheels and is theoretically moveable but in effect is plumbed into the beer and electrical supplies that lie behind it. The planning statement and other details included in the original application 18/00220/FUL gave the impression of a sensitive, high quality approach to this development, “improving the arrival point into Oxford for tourists and residents using the Gloucester Green bus station”. Far from being constructed strictly in complete accordance with the specifications and plans in the original application, what has emerged is scarcely recognisable. We recommend that the application is refused. This is a test case both of the City’s ability to ensure conformity to originally approved plans and to safeguard the Conservation Area.