A PERMANENT memorial to the former Cowley Barracks would be a requirement of any planning permission for a new development on the site, according to city council leader Bob Price.

Two old barrack blocks in James Wolfe Road, off Hollow Way, are being demolished by London-based property company Telereal Trillium.

Terry Roper, chairman of the Oxford branch of the Royal Green Jackets Association, is urging the firm to create a lasting memorial to the barracks – once the base of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

Mr Price said: “There should be a proper memorial – not just a plaque – and there could be a design competition for it.”

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Mr Roper, 67, from Oxford, is calling for the memorial to be built once land is used for a housing development or student flats, and for two roads in the area to reflect the history of the barracks.

He has suggested one should be named after Sir John Moore, a hero in the Battle of Corunna in Spain, and the other after Lord Napier, who commanded the 50th Queen’s Own Regiment of Foot during the Peninsular War.

Mr Roper added: “The city council is backing us. I have received a letter from Mr Price, and the developers in principle would like to do something.

“Demolition work is still going on and they have asked me to get back in touch in the spring.

“What we would like is some sort of stone memorial made from the stone of the accommodation blocks, with a plaque to say it was the regimental barracks for the Ox and Bucks from the late 1800s to the late 1950s when it closed.

“We would also like to get two roads named after Sir John Moore and Lord Napier.

“The barracks was the regimental depot for the First World War, and it’s the centenary of the Battle of the Somme this year so it’s a good time to make plans for a memorial for the barracks.”


Oxford Mail:

Members of the 22nd intake arriving by lorry at Cowley Barracks in1954

Mr Roper’s brother Gordon, from Garsington, chairman of Blackbird Leys parish council, was a Lance Corporal in the Ox and Bucks and was there in 1958 for his National Service.

There were protests when the old barracks keep was knocked down in the 1970s.

The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry became the Royal Green Jackets which then became The Rifles.

Mr Price said the city council was in favour of a memorial.

He added: “We have spoken to our planners and they have taken it on board as something we seek as part of planning permission.

“The memorial would be a requirement of planning permission – we would seek to ensure it.”

He said the council would be in charge of naming the roads.

He added: “We can make our minds up after liaising with the regiment.”

Mr Price thought it unlikely any development would be completed by the end of 2016.

Telereal Trillium spokeswoman Valerie Henry said an application for the demolition of two vacant buildings on the corner of James Wolfe Road and Hollow Way has been submitted by Total Reclaims Demolition Ltd to the city council on behalf of Telereal Trillium, which owns the site.

She added that a review of the site strategy was being carried out but no decision has yet been made.

Ms Henry said: “The Royal Green Jackets Association has been in contact and expressed its interest in discussing possibilities for a memorial on the site.

“We have had suggestions for a stone structure, building names and street names, and we will be looking into the possibility of each of these.

“The regimental history of the site is very interesting and we are supportive of commemorating the site.

“We hope to be able to provide this gesture to the community in recognition of those who served and passed through the gates of the barracks.”

  • What do you think would make a good memorial? Email affrench@nqo.com.