New paving stones ‘fine in Aberdeen but not Oxford’

Councillor Susanna Pressel outside Hertford College                                          Picture: OX69405 Ed Nix

Councillor Susanna Pressel outside Hertford College Picture: OX69405 Ed Nix Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

A BURSAR has criticised new paving stones outside his college, saying they would “be fine in Aberdeen” but not Oxford.

Hertford College’s Dr Andrew Beaumont said Oxford City Council’s £12,414 project to lay the granite paving had come to a halt after the college complained.

There are concerns the stones, in Catte Street, opposite the Bodleian Library, do not meet strict guidelines for the Oxford Central Conservation Area.

He said: “We spoke to the council to raise our objection and they were very helpful.

“Our chief objection is that the paving does not fit in with the conservation area.

“Granite with quartz in it would be fine in Aberdeen, but not in the middle of Oxford. It is not in keeping with the city aesthetic. We are presently engaged in a positive discussion with representatives of the city council, to determine a solution that is safe, durable, and sympathetic to the surrounding landscape of Catte Street and other historically-sensitive areas.”

Work started on Friday, August 8, the council said and was stopped on Tuesday, August 19.

The council said it was still in talks with the college but could not confirm why the work was halted.

The conservation area – which puts greater restrictions on development – is characterised by limestone buildings and York stone pavements.

City councillor Susanna Pressel said: “They did it with good intentions, but it looks as though the highways department did not contact the conservation officers to make sure the materials were right. Nobody likes what is there now. It does not fit in with the area and looks out of place.”

Council spokesman Chofamba Sithole said the work had been carried out to repair damaged paving.

He said: “The existing paving outside Hertford College consisted of pre-cast concrete paving and not natural stone.

“It was damaged in places and had sections temporarily filled with tarmac. We replaced the damaged concrete paving with a superior product called Eco-Granite.”

He confirmed council officers were in discussions with the college and its conservation officer to “resolve the issue of the type of paving used”.

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, paid for the works.

When the city council considers conservation area projects, it must take into account its “special character”. That can include building materials used – such as the type of paving stones – the techniques of construction and the scale of the development.

The council’s own guidelines say it will “resist” schemes which are considered to “harm or undermine” the conservation area’s character or appearance.

 

 

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Comments (14)

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10:49am Sat 23 Aug 14

jamiek says...

A college telling the council what to do? Now that makes a change!!
A college telling the council what to do? Now that makes a change!! jamiek
  • Score: 8

11:20am Sat 23 Aug 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

If the college isn't happy, perhaps they should pay to have what they consider suitable, or the council could return the pavement to what it would've been when Hertford college was formed.......mud.
If the college isn't happy, perhaps they should pay to have what they consider suitable, or the council could return the pavement to what it would've been when Hertford college was formed.......mud. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 9

1:39pm Sat 23 Aug 14

mytaxes says...

I don't think the council care about conservation anymore. Recently we have seen residents replace windows with UPVC, and houses painted hideous colours in an Article 4 conservation area, however, our councillors walk around with their eyes closed unless there is a press photographer around.
I don't think the council care about conservation anymore. Recently we have seen residents replace windows with UPVC, and houses painted hideous colours in an Article 4 conservation area, however, our councillors walk around with their eyes closed unless there is a press photographer around. mytaxes
  • Score: 4

2:20pm Sat 23 Aug 14

Patrick, Devon says...

I am sure that York stone paving is very expensive. For many years it has been replaced by much cheaper concrete slabs, which look far more like York stone than granite. The Council should either do a proper job and use York stone or amit it cant afford it and use concrete - which would be cheap to replace if need be.

Colleges in the university seem to be making lots of money out of tourism. Do they pay their fair share of business rates I wonder? If they do, then there should be enough money to use materials like York stone, which will enhance the visitor experience.
I am sure that York stone paving is very expensive. For many years it has been replaced by much cheaper concrete slabs, which look far more like York stone than granite. The Council should either do a proper job and use York stone or amit it cant afford it and use concrete - which would be cheap to replace if need be. Colleges in the university seem to be making lots of money out of tourism. Do they pay their fair share of business rates I wonder? If they do, then there should be enough money to use materials like York stone, which will enhance the visitor experience. Patrick, Devon
  • Score: 5

11:11pm Sat 23 Aug 14

LetsBeRational says...

Just in case you didn't know who was running the city, this article makes it pretty clear.

What would be interesting to know, though, is how much time, money and people with clipboards did it take to start this project before realising there may be a problem? I'm sure that the planning part of this project cost more than the £12k but comes out of the running costs of a council.

Luckily we don't rely on the council to arrange a p***-up in a brewery
Just in case you didn't know who was running the city, this article makes it pretty clear. What would be interesting to know, though, is how much time, money and people with clipboards did it take to start this project before realising there may be a problem? I'm sure that the planning part of this project cost more than the £12k but comes out of the running costs of a council. Luckily we don't rely on the council to arrange a p***-up in a brewery LetsBeRational
  • Score: 0

2:24am Sun 24 Aug 14

The New Private Eye says...

mytaxes wrote:
I don't think the council care about conservation anymore. Recently we have seen residents replace windows with UPVC, and houses painted hideous colours in an Article 4 conservation area, however, our councillors walk around with their eyes closed unless there is a press photographer around.
Do you mean Observatory Street? Not surprisingly most properties are owned by St John's
[quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: I don't think the council care about conservation anymore. Recently we have seen residents replace windows with UPVC, and houses painted hideous colours in an Article 4 conservation area, however, our councillors walk around with their eyes closed unless there is a press photographer around.[/p][/quote]Do you mean Observatory Street? Not surprisingly most properties are owned by St John's The New Private Eye
  • Score: -2

9:42am Sun 24 Aug 14

brucklay227 says...

LetsBeRational wrote:
Just in case you didn't know who was running the city, this article makes it pretty clear.

What would be interesting to know, though, is how much time, money and people with clipboards did it take to start this project before realising there may be a problem? I'm sure that the planning part of this project cost more than the £12k but comes out of the running costs of a council.

Luckily we don't rely on the council to arrange a p***-up in a brewery
When you enlist people from the bottom of the dream pool what else can you expect?
All government departments, be they local or central, employ people of the lowest caliber and the least common sense. Odd isn't it that these same people are afforded the best job protection and security of stable retirement benefits of any in our society.
[quote][p][bold]LetsBeRational[/bold] wrote: Just in case you didn't know who was running the city, this article makes it pretty clear. What would be interesting to know, though, is how much time, money and people with clipboards did it take to start this project before realising there may be a problem? I'm sure that the planning part of this project cost more than the £12k but comes out of the running costs of a council. Luckily we don't rely on the council to arrange a p***-up in a brewery[/p][/quote]When you enlist people from the bottom of the dream pool what else can you expect? All government departments, be they local or central, employ people of the lowest caliber and the least common sense. Odd isn't it that these same people are afforded the best job protection and security of stable retirement benefits of any in our society. brucklay227
  • Score: -2

3:41pm Sun 24 Aug 14

King Joke says...

brucklay227 wrote:
LetsBeRational wrote:
Just in case you didn't know who was running the city, this article makes it pretty clear.

What would be interesting to know, though, is how much time, money and people with clipboards did it take to start this project before realising there may be a problem? I'm sure that the planning part of this project cost more than the £12k but comes out of the running costs of a council.

Luckily we don't rely on the council to arrange a p***-up in a brewery
When you enlist people from the bottom of the dream pool what else can you expect?
All government departments, be they local or central, employ people of the lowest caliber and the least common sense. Odd isn't it that these same people are afforded the best job protection and security of stable retirement benefits of any in our society.
Maybe, but I'm guessing most of them can spell 'calibre' and are able to differentiate 'gene' and 'dream'.
[quote][p][bold]brucklay227[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LetsBeRational[/bold] wrote: Just in case you didn't know who was running the city, this article makes it pretty clear. What would be interesting to know, though, is how much time, money and people with clipboards did it take to start this project before realising there may be a problem? I'm sure that the planning part of this project cost more than the £12k but comes out of the running costs of a council. Luckily we don't rely on the council to arrange a p***-up in a brewery[/p][/quote]When you enlist people from the bottom of the dream pool what else can you expect? All government departments, be they local or central, employ people of the lowest caliber and the least common sense. Odd isn't it that these same people are afforded the best job protection and security of stable retirement benefits of any in our society.[/p][/quote]Maybe, but I'm guessing most of them can spell 'calibre' and are able to differentiate 'gene' and 'dream'. King Joke
  • Score: 15

12:31pm Mon 25 Aug 14

King Joke says...

A word about conservation: it's perfectly possible to fit modern uPVC sashes that are indistinguishable from wooden ones, fit all conservation criteria, and are perfectly secure. They cost a bit more than the f'ck ugly thick-posted basic uPVC ones but St John's aren't short of a bob or two eh?

As regards the granite slabs, I'm sure six months' worth of patina will ensure they are indistinguishable from any other type of slab and the Bursar will look very silly.
A word about conservation: it's perfectly possible to fit modern uPVC sashes that are indistinguishable from wooden ones, fit all conservation criteria, and are perfectly secure. They cost a bit more than the f'ck ugly thick-posted basic uPVC ones but St John's aren't short of a bob or two eh? As regards the granite slabs, I'm sure six months' worth of patina will ensure they are indistinguishable from any other type of slab and the Bursar will look very silly. King Joke
  • Score: -4

2:57pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Arnold.Brewer says...

So why no consultation in the first place? and IF NOT CONSIDERED NECESSARY, why IS IT NECESSARY NOW AFTER OUR MONEY HAS BEEN WASTED.
So why no consultation in the first place? and IF NOT CONSIDERED NECESSARY, why IS IT NECESSARY NOW AFTER OUR MONEY HAS BEEN WASTED. Arnold.Brewer
  • Score: -4

3:06pm Mon 25 Aug 14

mytaxes says...

King Joke wrote:
A word about conservation: it's perfectly possible to fit modern uPVC sashes that are indistinguishable from wooden ones, fit all conservation criteria, and are perfectly secure. They cost a bit more than the f'ck ugly thick-posted basic uPVC ones but St John's aren't short of a bob or two eh?

As regards the granite slabs, I'm sure six months' worth of patina will ensure they are indistinguishable from any other type of slab and the Bursar will look very silly.
It may be ok in a conservation area, however, not in an article 4 conservation area. Householders do not pay for planning applications as unlike most people they have no permitted rights. Colours of windows, doors and houses plus size and type of moulding of the glazing bars must all be approved before work is carried out. Only wood is permissible for doors and windows.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: A word about conservation: it's perfectly possible to fit modern uPVC sashes that are indistinguishable from wooden ones, fit all conservation criteria, and are perfectly secure. They cost a bit more than the f'ck ugly thick-posted basic uPVC ones but St John's aren't short of a bob or two eh? As regards the granite slabs, I'm sure six months' worth of patina will ensure they are indistinguishable from any other type of slab and the Bursar will look very silly.[/p][/quote]It may be ok in a conservation area, however, not in an article 4 conservation area. Householders do not pay for planning applications as unlike most people they have no permitted rights. Colours of windows, doors and houses plus size and type of moulding of the glazing bars must all be approved before work is carried out. Only wood is permissible for doors and windows. mytaxes
  • Score: -3

4:27pm Mon 25 Aug 14

King Joke says...

Not so Mytaxes. We had some uPVC sashes put in by Bygones of Reading - now since taken over by a company whose name escapes me. I'd challenge any inspector to notice the difference between the posh ones we had put in the front, and the real wooden article. The uPVC has wood grain effect moulded in, along with a trace of pigment in the blend to mimic white-painted wood. Needless to say we had bog-standard basic white ones put in the back!
Not so Mytaxes. We had some uPVC sashes put in by Bygones of Reading - now since taken over by a company whose name escapes me. I'd challenge any inspector to notice the difference between the posh ones we had put in the front, and the real wooden article. The uPVC has wood grain effect moulded in, along with a trace of pigment in the blend to mimic white-painted wood. Needless to say we had bog-standard basic white ones put in the back! King Joke
  • Score: 0

4:43pm Mon 25 Aug 14

DrBeau says...

The Home Bursar certainly feels very silly: he being me. Actually, although the college wasn't especially enamoured with the choice of paving, we weren't actually the ones who intervened to halt the works (that would be the Councillor, I believe). The street is in a conservation area, and there was an unfortunate disconnect between the highways team (to whom we are profoundly grateful for rectifying a particularly uneven pavement surface) and the conservation team (who have since offered their professional guidance on an appropriate alternative). We've had a series of positive discussions so far, and are working towards a satisfactory resolution for all parties. The college will continue to work with both council offices to ensure that works are appropriate, and will of course support the council financially as necessary.

Oh, and as my wife, in-laws, and extended family are all from Aberdeen (a thoroughly beautiful city, where a speckled, granite-like paving would be absolutely in keeping with its similarly, granitey surroundings), trust me, I'm getting it in the neck over this apparent quote (it's actually a composite of two separate quotes which together make me sound like a bit of a NIMBYist, but hey ho).
The Home Bursar certainly feels very silly: he being me. Actually, although the college wasn't especially enamoured with the choice of paving, we weren't actually the ones who intervened to halt the works (that would be the Councillor, I believe). The street is in a conservation area, and there was an unfortunate disconnect between the highways team (to whom we are profoundly grateful for rectifying a particularly uneven pavement surface) and the conservation team (who have since offered their professional guidance on an appropriate alternative). We've had a series of positive discussions so far, and are working towards a satisfactory resolution for all parties. The college will continue to work with both council offices to ensure that works are appropriate, and will of course support the council financially as necessary. Oh, and as my wife, in-laws, and extended family are all from Aberdeen (a thoroughly beautiful city, where a speckled, granite-like paving would be absolutely in keeping with its similarly, granitey surroundings), trust me, I'm getting it in the neck over this apparent quote (it's actually a composite of two separate quotes which together make me sound like a bit of a NIMBYist, but hey ho). DrBeau
  • Score: 10

7:47pm Mon 25 Aug 14

DrBeau says...

Apologies for the excessive use of the word 'actually' in the comments above. Oh, and I'm fairly sure 'granitey' isn't a word.
Apologies for the excessive use of the word 'actually' in the comments above. Oh, and I'm fairly sure 'granitey' isn't a word. DrBeau
  • Score: 1

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