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Niall McLaughlin gets go-ahead for Oxford college

Niall McLaughlin Architects has won an appeal against Oxford City Council’s unexpected decision to reject its St Cross College scheme back in October 2013

The 2013 Stirling Prize-shortlisted practice has now been given the green light for its scheme for the college which includes 53 new student rooms, a lecture theatre, library and seminar rooms (see inspector’s report attached).

Last October, Oxford’s planning committee went against its own officers recommendations and rejected plans for the development which sits next to the Grade II-listed Pusey House citing its potential harm to the historic surroundings and the ‘unjustifiable’ demolition of a boundary wall, although local reports suggested the plans were too tall.

Niall McLaughlin commented: ‘We are delighted with the decision of the appeal inspector. The proposal was put forward with support from English Heritage, the South East Regional Review Panel and local planning and conservation officers. It is good to see that their original judgement has been endorsed.’

McLaughlin’s practice fought off competition from Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects, Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Walters & Cohen Architects to win the invited contest, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants in November 2012.

Construction is expected to start early next year with the project due to complete in Spring 2016.

Previous story (AJ 17.12.13)

Niall McLaughlin appeals against Oxford college refusal

St Cross College has lodged an appeal to overturn Oxford City Council’s unexpected rejection of Niall McLaughlin Architects’ competition-winning West Quadrangle scheme

Mark Jones, master of the Oxford college and former director of the V&A, confirmed it was appealing against the decision to reject the plans for 53 new student rooms, a lecture theatre, library and seminar rooms at the college in St Giles, next to the Grade II-listed Pusey House.

The authority’s planning committee threw out the submission by the 2013 Stirling Prize-shortlisted practice in October (see AJ 28.10.13).

Official reasons given for the refusal of the application for listed building consent included potential harm to the historic surroundings and the ‘unjustifiable’ demolition of a boundary wall, although local reports suggested the plans were too tall.

Speaking about the appeal, McLaughlin said: ‘The application was recommended for approval by the council’s own officers in their report to committee and it received clear support from English heritage and the South East Regional Review Panel.

‘In this light, it seems a good candidate for review by the secretary of state’s inspector. We hope that this process leads to an outcome that allows the College to continue with their much needed development of the site.’

Niall McLaughlin Architects fought off competition from Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects, Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Walters & Cohen Architects to win the invited contest, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants in November 2012.

REJECTED:Niall McLaughlin Architects' scheme for the West Quadrangle of St Cross College at the University of Oxford

Niall McLaughlin Architects’ competition-winning scheme for the West Quadrangle of St Cross College at the University of Oxford

Previous story (28.10.13)

Niall McLaughlin’s Oxford college plans rejected

Oxford City Council has unexpectedly thrown out Niall McLaughlin Architects’ competition-winning scheme to complete the West Quadrangle of St Cross College in Oxford

The authority’s planning committee went against its own officers recommendations and rejected plans by the 2013 Stirling Prize-shortlisted practice for 53 new student rooms, a lecture theatre, library and seminar rooms at the college in St Giles, next to the Grade II-listed Pusey House.

According to local reports the proposal, which had been designed as a ‘natural companion’ to the existing buildings, ‘was too tall’.

However the official reasons given by the council for the refusal of the application for listed building consent blamed the potential harm to the historic surroundings and the ‘unjustifiable’ demolition of a boundary wall.

A spokesman said: ‘The works for the demolition and rebuilding of the boundary walls are associated with the proposals for the development of student accommodation on the site subject to a planning application. This planning application has been refused and in the absence of an acceptable scheme for the development of the site, the works proposed in this application, involving the demolition of the walls, would cause harm to the heritage significance of the structures that is not justified by any public benefits deriving from the works.

He added: ‘The works therefore do not accord with policies and advice in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).’

Niall McLaughlin beat Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects, Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Walters & Cohen Architects to win the invited contest, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, back in November 2012.

Contest judge, former director of the V&A, and master of St Cross College, Mark Jones said no decision had been made on whether the college would appeal.

Reacting the council’s refusal, Jones told the AJ: ‘It is a pity. And such a good design too.’

Niall McLaughlin added: ‘Designs for the new St Cross College buildings were put forward to the planning committee with a recommendation for approval from planning officers and conservation officers. This was supported by praise for the designs from English Heritage and the South East Regional Design Panel.

‘We are disappointed that the planning committee did not follow the recommendations of its officers and advisors. My client will review the decision and decide how to progress with the proposal.’

REJECTED: Niall McLaughlin Architects' scheme for the West Quadrangle of St Cross College at the University of Oxford

REJECTED: Niall McLaughlin Architects’ scheme for the West Quadrangle of St Cross College at the University of Oxford - model

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