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Concerns raised over plans for 26m-high building in Jericho
CONCERNS have been raised about what could become one of the tallest buildings in Jericho.
Oxford University is currently consulting on plans for the next building in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter scheme.
An application for the Blavatnik School of Government is expected to be submitted before the end of the year.
This week the university is holding a final public consultation into its plans for the Walton Street building which will sit next to Freud’s bar.
David Oakey, the university’s project manager for the school, said: “There have been a few queries about the height which is an issue we are aware of. The lowering of the building is something we considered but there are a lot of views that this building cannot be seen from.
“We are progressing with detailed conversations with English Heritage and Oxford City Council.”
Once completed the school will be 26m tall – 3m taller than Carfax Tower. The building was designed after studying views along Walton Street, from the top of Carfax Tower itself, and Raleigh Park in North Hinksey.
Mr Oakey said: “Making it more open is a big theme of this building so we are knocking down the wall and creating an open space outside it.
“The designers took their inspiration from the Radcliffe Camera and its shape is similar to the Sheldonian Theatre. It takes reference from the historic Oxford setting.”
Mr Oakey said construction of the building would begin in June or July next year if planning permission is granted. Completion of the building is expected in April 2015. The construction time of nearly two years is down to the building’s complicated concrete frame.
Peter Thompson, chairman of the Oxford Civic Society, said: “It is obviously a pretty substantial building.
“It has been suggested by some that actually it looks quite old fashioned in terms of having so much glass because contemporary architecture seems to have moved on from that.”
West Oxford resident Thees Spreckelsen, who went to the consultation, said: “I find the idea of the quarter quite interesting because the university will be getting a new centre.
“It’s good that they went for an interesting piece of architecture. It adds to the city even though it is being built for the university.”
In September the school, which is currently based in Merton Street, welcomed its first students. It has been funded to the tune of £75m by Russian billionaire Leonard Blavatnik.
Last month the former Radcliffe Infirmary building was officially reopened after being restored and turned into the Humanities divisional office.
The Mathematical Institute Building is currently being constructed and is set to be opened in September 2013.