Sir – I agree wholeheartedly with Bruce Ross-Smith’s plea for peace between Oxford University and Headington residents over the development of the Old Road Campus.

However, this will not happen if the University continues as they have done with their latest developments. Residents attended the University’s presentation of their plans last January. Many went to considerable trouble to suggest ways the plans could be altered to reduce the negative aspects of the development, eg the siting of the buildings in an overbearing position on Old Road. Apart from moving the NDM building back by 200 centimetres, virtually nothing else was changed. Many others also expressed their concern in the council’s web-based consultation, so the University was well aware of the effect of its building plans. Support for the residents’ point of view came from people not directly affected, including two councillors, so we do have independent evidence that our arguments were not without merit. When the plans were presented for approval by the councillors, Professor James eloquently described the value of the research that will be done. On this point we all agree. But why can the University not present plans which are just that bit more acceptable to the local community? As one of the councillors pointed out, Brookes University reduced the height of its library building for precisely this reason. Oxford University should follow Brookes’s example of good neighbourliness with all the consequent positive results. We know that Oxford University either has just acquired, or is about to acquire, the Park Hospital site adjoining the Old Road Campus and will no doubt be bringing forward development plans for it. Here is a golden opportunity to get the consultation process right. This should include consulting residents sufficiently early in the process for positive suggestions to be incorporated into the plans.

Nicholas Rollin, Headington