178-184 Abingdon Road Oxford OX1 4RA

12 June 2020

Demolition of existing hotel and erection of a three storey 43no. bed hotel.

The plots on Abingdon Road align with those at the rear. This historic arrangement has created the distinctive angled frontages of property along this southern entry into the city. The properties of a modest domestic character reflect their plot heritage. Whilst the stepping back of half the new building begins to suggest this heritage, it is negated by the horizontal emphasis of the design. The Victoria Hotel occupies an L-shaped two storey building with a double frontage, traditional pitched roof form and modest out-chutes and outbuildings at the rear. By its very articulated nature it sits comfortably within the area with no harmful impact on neighbours. The proposal occupies a considerably larger footprint of unrelieved three storey building. It harms the amenity of the houses on the east side of Summerfield Road, adjacent property and is overbearing of the character of Abingdon Road. The flat roof covering of all three storeys is an unsatisfactory unifying unrelieved element of the design and ignores the broken skyline of broken eaves lines, pitched roofs and chimneys of the buildings in area. The strong horizontal nature of the proposal emphasized by the large expanse of flat roof is out of scale and harmful to the character of the street scene. The lack of a main entrance to the frontage of the new hotel ignores the important element of good streets and the safety arising from comings and goings on foot. A front door is a distinguishing feature of the front and back of a building and adds variety to the street scene and a focal point of the façade. The northern block of the proposed three storey building makes an unsatisfactory impact on the public realm. By moving the building back by two metres less harm would accrue at this angled boundary junction and the parking at the rear would be unaffected. The architectural treatment of the northern block adjacent to no. 178. is monotonous and in its prominent position is out of scale with the residential vertical character of the road.  The set- back at third storey level is insufficient to reduce the impact of the three storey building. Its accompanying horizontal treatment emphasises the weakness of this set-back. This part of the proposal impacts on the neighbouring property and the street-scape. There is potential of overlooking and loss of privacy to adjoining side property from balconies and from windows at the rear to the houses in Summerfield Road. The supporting proposed site and block plans are misleading as the existing is shown as one homogeneous block when it is in fact articulated and consists of various built forms having minimal impact on neighbours, unlike the proposed building. The proposed 43 bedrooms is an unacceptable increase on the existing fifteen and has resulted in a high density development of monotonous ,horizontal building form which has an overbearing impact on neighbours and the street scene. We recommend that the application be refused. TT, JimG, CB, PT, GR