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College puts bid to stop plans on hold
A COLLEGE says it will not pursue legal action against a fellow institution after plans for controversial student flats in Jericho were passed.
Worcester College estates bursar Andrew Jardine said it had looked into whether it could take action against neighbouring Exeter College.
But the investigation showed this would not be possible for Exeter’s plans for the former Ruskin College site in Walton Street.
He pledged to work with the college after city councillors approved the redevelopment on Tuesday. This would flatten all but the 1913 facade of the Grade II listed college – which moved last year – for 90 student flats and teaching facilities.
Exeter bursar William Jensen said its Turl Street home accommodated only 147 of its 320 students.
Praising the “exceptional” building, he said: “We consulted early and we consulted often in pursuit of this vision.”
Mr Jardine said: “We wanted to make sure that they had satisfied various things like environmental impact assessments.
“There were extensive discussions and Exeter looked into things. We are satisfied there is nothing further that needs to be done on that front. We expected them to get consent and we want to go forward positively.”
Working with Exeter over issues such as access arrangements for buildings works was key, he said.
Yet he reiterated Worcester’s concerns – voiced by other residents to councillors – about the size of the development.
It will increase the floor area by 39 per cent and the Walton Street frontage from 15.4m to 17.4m.
He said: “We have always been strongly supportive of the principle of Exeter developing the site for student use.
“We feel that the building is a bit too big and the design is incongruous with the setting of Jericho.”
Residents urged the council’s west area planning committee to reject the plan.
South Jericho Residents’ Association’s Chris Johnson told members: “This is not an all or nothing situation; it should be rejected for a modified scheme.”
Charles Banner, barrister for Exeter College, said any legal challenge was “bound to fail”.
The council’s decision has been referred to the Government Office for final approval.
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