Roger Dudman Way Environmental Impact

The Society's response to the Environmental Impact Analysis of the Roger Dudman Way flats.

18 December 2014

This is the Society’s response to the public consultation on the Environmental Impact Analysis of the Roger Dudman Way flats, commissioned by the University of Oxford.

The Environmental Statement (ES) establishes very clearly that Option 3 is the only one of the three options to deliver a significant reduction in the harm done by the development to landscape and visual effects and to the historic environment.

The key conclusion of the ES is that, in terms of landscape and visual impact, the overall significance of Option 1 is still Significant Adverse whereas the impact of Option 3 is Not Significant, (paragraph 7.6.15).

Not for many years has a new building project of the University of Oxford aroused so much opposition, not only among the community, but also among the University’s own members. Of the 430 individual responses to the consultation posted on the City Council’s planning web site by 17 December 2014, over 95% supported Option 3, many of them offering individually expressed views at some length.

Some Oxford Civic Society members have expressed concerns about the cost of Option 3, drawing attention to the alternative uses to which the monies could be put. Because of these and the other factors addressed by the ES, they support Option 1.

Other members have noted that the cost of Option 3 over 25 years is £22.5 million, after eliminating the double counting created by including the cost of works elsewhere. This is to be compared with the University’s plans, announced in May 2014, to spend £1,800 million over the next 10 years on new building. Put in that context, it is argued that the University should think again and adopt Option 3 to achieve the substantial reduction in harm that is needed.

Data extracted from the full ES Report but omitted from the “Non Technical Summary” are shown below.

ADVERSE VISUAL IMPACT ON FOUR CONSERVATION AREAS

Castle Mill Environmental Statement : Total Landscape and Visual Impacts

LANDSCAPE IMPACTS

EXTENT OF ADVERSE IMPACT
 Adverse Impact  As now  Option 1  Option 2  Option 3
 Substantial  2 2 0 0
Moderate  8 8 8 4
Slight to Moderate  0 0 2 2
Slight  3 3 3 7
Negligible 0 0 0 0

VISUAL IMPACTS FROM SELECTED VIEWPOINTS

EXTENT OF ADVERSE IMPACT
 Adverse Impact  As Now Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Substantial 13 10 0 0
Moderate 5 5 15 5
Slight to Moderate  0 0 0 8
Slight  4 6 3 5
Negligible  2 3 6 6
 AREA As Now Option 1 Option 2 Opion 3
 Central  Moderate Moderate Moderate Slight
Jericho  Substantial Moderate Moderate Slight
Wolvercote with Godstow  Substantial Moderate Moderate Slight
Binsey  Substantial Substantial  Moderate Slight to Moderate

What happens next?

The intention of the University to submit a planning application to implement Option One will confront the City Council with a difficult choice. If consent is granted, a course of action will have been approved for which there is very little visible public support and which results in only small reductions in the harm done.

If the Council rejects the application, the University would not be obliged to take any further action since it holds a valid consent for the project as built. If the Council were to reject the application and the University appealed and won, Oxford citizens could incur some costs. If the appeal were lost, the University would still have the option of taking no further action. Efforts by concerned citizens would have to be renewed.