St. Cross extension gets green light

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St. Cross College has successfully appealed Oxford City Council’s decision to reject the College’s planning application for a new extension. Work on the West Quad – designed to add 50 new bedrooms, three seminar rooms and a lecture theatre – will begin in the near future. 

Sir Mark Jones, Master of St. Cross, revealed, “I am absolutely delighted to hear we now have planning permission for the West Quad.” He added, “We can look forward to completing our 2015 50th Anniversary Campaign for the West Quad, and starting the build. This is wonderful news for St Cross.”

The planning application had earlier been rejected by Oxford City Council amidst objections from local residents. Concerns were voiced over the possible effects building might have on the surrounding area. 

The Oxford Civic Society has also previously registered its discontent at the proposals. The Society exists to, amongst other things, preserve Oxford’s heritage.

It is also believed that some Oxford academics have made objections to the building proposals in the past.

Wybo Wiersma, a current member of the College, told Cherwell he believed the changes would improve college life, but “when the design was chosen there were 3 short-listed contestants, and any of the other two would have fitted in their surroundings much better”.

He added, “the design as such probably has it’s aesthetic merits, but not here, not in the historic surroundings of central Oxford. They could just as well have built a London sky-scraper inside Magdalen main quad.”

Others contributed in a similar vein. Chairman of Oxford’s Victorian Society Peter Howell stated when the plans were first made public that “We object to the proposal to erect a new building on Pusey Street. St Cross College shares the site with Pusey House, which is a building of the highest architectural merit.”

One student told Cherwell, “I can see people’s concerns, but I suppose you’re not really a real Oxford college until you’ve got an ugly modern part of college that you’re ashamed for everyone else to see.”

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