Oxford

Oxford University academics reject Castle Mill changes

Castle Mill Image copyright Steve Daniels
Image caption The university postgraduate accommodation overlooks a Site of Special Scientific Interest

Plans to remove the top floor of student flats near a beauty spot have been rejected by senior academics.

The £21.5m Castle Mill student accommodation, at Port Meadow, was granted planning permission in 2011 by Oxford City Council.

Campaigners say the buildings, which house more than 300 postgraduate students, are "a mistake" and have ruined the magic of Oxford's skyline.

The university's "congregation" rejected a motion lower the buildings.

The five-storey buildings overlook the meadow, which is a Scheduled Monument and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Nicky Moeran, of the Save Port Meadow Campaign, said the development had damaged Oxford's protected heritage.

She said: "Oxford's spell has been broken by these buildings and the cavalier process that led to them being built."

The flats are described as "a grotesque mistake" on the campaign's website.

Image copyright dave price
Image caption The flats (highlighted above) cost £21.5m to build

An independent report into the impact of the building, suggested three options for rectifying the effect on the view.

These included changing the cladding and colour and planting trees, lowering the roofs and removing the top floor.

The congregation, which acts as the university's parliament and is made up of 4,500 members, voted on changing the colour of the building and removing the top floor.

The university is bound by any decision the congregation makes.

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