Developer unveils new plans for student housing in St Clement's

Oxford Mail: An artist's impression of the plans An artist's impression of the plans

THIS is the new scheme developers have drawn up to build student accommodation on Oxford’s St Clement’s car park.

An earlier proposal for the site sparked months of protests from residents, traders and Oxford University – with objections about the loss of car parking and the impact on a conservation area near Magdalen Bridge – before it was rejected by councillors.

But the developer Watkin Jones has returned with this proposal for two four-storey blocks linked by a glass-sided bridge. A new pedestrian street would run through the middle of the development, linking St Clement’s Street to Angel and Greyhound Meadow.

As well as reducing the height of buildings, the developers say the scheme will provide 80 car parking places, six more than the earlier scheme. The existing city council-owned car park has 120 spaces. As St Clement’s car park would have to close for a year of building work, new plans have been drawn up to provide a temporary car park for 65 vehicles off Marston Road, near the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

The loss of car parking has led to warnings that shops and restaurants would be driven out of business.

Watkin Jones has appointed Manchester firm Hodder and Partners as the new architect, following a design competition.

The designs will be on show tomorrow and on Saturday at the Town Hall. The new scheme aims to reintroduce the former street pattern on the site, once occupied by the historic Pensons Gardens, to enhance views from St Clement’s towards the River Cherwell and the meadows.

Roger Smith, of planning consultants Savills, said: “We acknowledge this is a controversial proposal but the principle of redevelopment has been established in the Local Plan. It will help recreate the old route down to the river.

“We consider that this is a much better proposal, which takes account of the conservation area, the amenity of local residents and provides a greater level of temporary parking during the period of construction.”

He hoped that a planning application could be submitted next month, with students moving in by September 2013. The plans include new public toilets and the river bank area would be landscaped.

St Clement’s trader Alan Grosvenor, pictured right, of A-Spires Audio Visual, said: “It appears the development will have the same number of units. It is difficult to see how they can achieve this while making the buildings smaller and avoid cramming the site.”

The city council, which owns the site, is understood to be in line to benefit to the tune of £5m if the development goes ahead.

Meanwhile, the developers still intend to appeal against the city council’s decision to reject the earlier scheme.

The exhibition in the Town Hall, St Aldate’s, runs tomorrow between 4pm and 8pm and on Saturday from 9.30am to noon.

Comments (6)

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11:39am Thu 10 May 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

The image looks cold and depressing.

If that's the best the artist can do, then reality must be much worse.
The image looks cold and depressing. If that's the best the artist can do, then reality must be much worse. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Thu 10 May 12

Christine Hovis says...

In the longer version of the article in the paper, we are told by the usual suspect that this proposal is "utterly cynical".

That's utterly cynical in that it adds purpose built student accommodation, in accordance with the local plan, retains car parking, and benefits the city with a £5M receipt. That's £5M that can be spent on Oxford.

We should get more of these 'cynical' politicians.
In the longer version of the article in the paper, we are told by the usual suspect that this proposal is "utterly cynical". That's utterly cynical in that it adds purpose built student accommodation, in accordance with the local plan, retains car parking, and benefits the city with a £5M receipt. That's £5M that can be spent on Oxford. We should get more of these 'cynical' politicians. Christine Hovis
  • Score: 0

5:29pm Thu 10 May 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Christine Hovis wrote:
In the longer version of the article in the paper, we are told by the usual suspect that this proposal is "utterly cynical".

That's utterly cynical in that it adds purpose built student accommodation, in accordance with the local plan, retains car parking, and benefits the city with a £5M receipt. That's £5M that can be spent on Oxford.

We should get more of these 'cynical' politicians.
*Reads full story in actual paper.*

Ah yes, you are right Christine. The self-elected "Spokeswoman of East-Oxford" claiming that it is an "utterly cynical" development.

Did you know that in the relevant East Oxford Ward, 97% of the electorate chose not to vote for her in the May 2012 local elections?
[quote][p][bold]Christine Hovis[/bold] wrote: In the longer version of the article in the paper, we are told by the usual suspect that this proposal is "utterly cynical". That's utterly cynical in that it adds purpose built student accommodation, in accordance with the local plan, retains car parking, and benefits the city with a £5M receipt. That's £5M that can be spent on Oxford. We should get more of these 'cynical' politicians.[/p][/quote]*Reads full story in actual paper.* Ah yes, you are right Christine. The self-elected "Spokeswoman of East-Oxford" claiming that it is an "utterly cynical" development. Did you know that in the relevant East Oxford Ward, 97% of the electorate chose not to vote for her in the May 2012 local elections? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

7:57pm Thu 10 May 12

LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
The image looks cold and depressing.

If that's the best the artist can do, then reality must be much worse.
Looks like it would be an ideal "muggers Alley" late at night.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: The image looks cold and depressing. If that's the best the artist can do, then reality must be much worse.[/p][/quote]Looks like it would be an ideal "muggers Alley" late at night. LORD PETER MACVEY 0X2 6EG
  • Score: 0

8:18pm Thu 10 May 12

JanetJ says...

I thought one of the concerns was the poor security in the underground car park - especially when returning late at night after a meal or night out - I am interested as to whether that has been addressed this time. Also temporary parking in Marston Road is pointless - easier to street park off Cowley road
I thought one of the concerns was the poor security in the underground car park - especially when returning late at night after a meal or night out - I am interested as to whether that has been addressed this time. Also temporary parking in Marston Road is pointless - easier to street park off Cowley road JanetJ
  • Score: 0

9:32am Fri 11 May 12

Cathena says...

Parking in Marston Rd is no good to disabled people - far to far. Local trade is going to suffer, we do not need more students in the St, Clements area and what are the council going to spend the £5M on, have been told they had spent it already. New toilets and access to the meadow probably a good idea but leave us what little unbuilt space we have left.
Parking in Marston Rd is no good to disabled people - far to far. Local trade is going to suffer, we do not need more students in the St, Clements area and what are the council going to spend the £5M on, have been told they had spent it already. New toilets and access to the meadow probably a good idea but leave us what little unbuilt space we have left. Cathena
  • Score: 0

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