Sir – You have published letters suggesting that it is no great loss if Oxford University’s oversized blocks of graduate flats obscure the view from Port Meadow of the tower of St Barnabas Church in Jericho.

But its tower, Italianate in contrast to Gothic, makes a distinctive and historically important contribution to the Oxford skyline.

St Barnabas was designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield and built in 1869-72 at the expense of Thomas Combe, Printer to the University. Sir John Betjeman, in his 1938 book on the city, says that it “stands out as by far the best Victorian church in Oxford”.

When I came back to live in Oxford in 1961, there was still criticism of the impact on the view north from Port Meadow of the huge post-war extension to the Wolvercote paper mill which had been reluctantly permitted because it was said to be essential to keep the mill in business. It is ironical, now that the paper mill has ceased to exist, that the university should do similar violence to the view south from Port Meadow with far less excuse.

The city council has become culpably careless about the protection of such views. The university, like any developer, wants to get as much as it can on a site. The high buildings policy was deliberately framed to allow filigree additions to the skyline like the ziggurat on the Said Business School, but not long unbroken runs of roof.

Mark Barrington-Ward, Oxford