25 St John Street Oxford OX1 2LH

7 September 2021

Demolition of the existing rear extension. Erection of a single storey rear extension. Alterations to roof height, formation of 1no. rear and 1no. front dormer in association with a loft conversion. Relocation of air conditioning unit to rear elevation.

25 St John Street is a Grade 2 listed building within the Oxford Central Conservation Area. It is particularly important that planning applications for listed buildings in conservation areas should be full, detailed, and accurate. This application fails on all counts. Senior planning officers in meetings with Oxford Civic Society have stated their department’s commitment to raising the quality of planning applications generally. We welcome the progress that has been made despite the lack of adequate staffing resources. Regrettably, this application has somehow slipped through the registration process, perhaps because the thinness of the application conceals the major nature of the works involved.  It will not be enough to allow the application to be patched up by the late submission of further information. This will set a bad example which others will be tempted to follow. A new application fully meeting the requirements of Local Plan policies DH1 and DH3 and removing the errors and inconsistencies in the present application should be required if this proposal is to be properly considered. Any new application should contain a full range of plans, elevations and sections with scales, so that, for example, the relationship of the building to its setting and the treatment of the roof can be made clear. Photographs of the present state of the building should be up to date. The outdated photograph of the frontage does not show all the changes that have been made without planning permission. Full, enforceable, details of the materials to be used should be provided, and these should be appropriate. For example, the Conservation Officer has rightly enforced strict observance of the type of roof slates that are acceptable in this part of the conservation area. A number of important modifications have been made to the building without planning permission.  Any new programme of approved works should include rectification of these.  We will be in touch with the planning enforcement team about this. We recommend that this application be rejected.