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Hodder's contentious Oxford extension receives go-ahead

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A controversial extension to one of Britain's few Grade I-listed post-war buildings has been given the green light at a public inquiry.

Hodder Associates' design for a cluster of buildings for Arne Jacobsen's St Catherine's College, Oxford (pictured), was automatically called in for public inquiry by the DTLR this January, because it stretched 25m onto green-belt land and was against the council's local plan.

However, neither the planning inspectorate nor the secretary of state raised objections, said the firm's director Stephen Hodder. Work on the extension is due to start next spring for completion in autumn 2004.

Hodder's design will cost about £8 million and will have 132 study bedrooms, a 110-seat lecture hall faced with glass, eight seminar rooms and a porter's lodge. Bricks and stainless-steel panels will clad this addition to an earlier scheme by Hodder for 54 bedrooms, completed in 1995.

'This is great news and comes in Jacobsen's centenary year, ' said Hodder. 'Hopefully, we can finish what we started 10 years ago.'

The extension will create a permanent boundary between the green belt and the college, which is 'hugely important', Hodder said. The practice scaled down the design by 11 study bedrooms during the inquiry phase and selected sandcoloured bricks which tied in with the materials used in the original building.

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