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first_imgOxford University Press has recently submitted a planning application to carry out an extensive expansion upon its Jericho headquarters, amidst strong objections from residents and architectural groups.The plans involve the demolition of the C wing of the Grade II* listed building, which was erected in 1895. This wing is set to be rebuilt and expanded into a new wing on the east corner of the site, in order to create more space for OUP employees, who currently total more than 1,800.OUP has been keen to stress that these plans are still in their infancy, and that as yet there is no timetable for either the inception or completion of this work. They also emphasised that they were taking the views of residents and other groups into account.Stewart Pegum, Director of Facilities and Estates at OUP, said, “We have been working closely with local residents, the Oxford Preservation Trust, and local councillors to ensure the plans are in keeping with our surroundings, and to minimise any possible impact on residents”.However, despite these overtures, not all are satisfied with the proposed works, and the plans have provoked negative responses from various organisations.The Jericho Community Association (JCA) has voiced its disapproval at the modern design of the intended building, and The Georgian Group has submitted an objection to the Oxford City Council, supported by The Victorian Group of the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society.The objection states that the proposed works “would be damaging to the setting of the historical Oxford University Press building and the character of the Conservation Area”.The Georgian Group has taken particular issue with the proposed large glazed wall, which it deems “would be detrimental to the historically modest and suburban character of this part of Oxford”.Pegum, on the other hand, said that “the scale, height and materials of the extension and new parts of the scheme have been carefully considered to compliment the neighbouring listed buildings and to fit in sympathetically with the character of the conservation era.”However, some Oxford students have dismissed this architectural debate as unimportant, and have stated that OUP’s ability to function as well as possible should override any aesthetic considerations.A student at St Peter’s College observed, “People shouldn’t look upon this as compromising what is already there, but as building upon the pillars on which Oxford stands, the pillars of knowledge and innovation.”last_img read more

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