Both town and gown blight Oxford

OPINION You might think that Oxford deserves to be a UNESCO world heritage site/city.

Geoffrey ChaucerBut Oxford isn’t and there are very many good reasons why it isn’t. In recent years the city council has approved the construction of ghastly buildings from both developers and colleges.

They are disgraceful examples of buildings for a wannabe UNESCO city and illustrate that the letters A, R and T (art) are missing from the word “architecture”. Architects? Farchitects, perhaps?

Gown has to apply like town for new developments and some of these, completed, are truly ghastly. Tourists, as they arrive at Oxford train station, look at the Saïd Business Centre and must wonder if this is the best the University of Oxford has to offer.

The Oxford Inquirer is based in Old Osney, east of the Thames, and there are several examples of how Oxford planners place developers over people.

The most egregious example here is Gibbs Crescent – formerly council properties but adopted by “charity” A2Dominion and at the end of Mill Street.  A2D is in the process of building new properties on the site, some of which will be “social housing”.

Pictured here is Geoffrey Chaucer. In his Canterbury Tales, he wrote the Miller’s Tale, and mentions old Osney in his work.

Two weeks ago, the bailiffs expelled the last tenant from Gibbs Crescent, but not before chopping down a heap of trees in the centre of the crescent before he was evicted.

The application to rebuild evoked a blizzard of complaints from local residents but the councillors approved the application, despite indisputable facts they decided to ignore.

The most compelling complaint relates to the width of the narrow road leading down to Gibbs Crescent. Here, there is room for only one vehicle at a time – and if there are pedestrians, then may they be damned!

A2D will be car free, you may be happy to hear. But, of course, ambulances and the fire brigade may have to visit Gibbs Crescent in the future. Let’s hope their passage isn’t blocked by taxis, supermarket deliveries and Deliveroo drivers coming the other way,

The emergency services have visited Gibbs Crescent in the past – you can see what happened after an explosion on St Valentine’s Day in 2017, here.

Currently, Henry the builder,  employed by A2D is almost ready to build. There is a teeny weeny problem, however. Next year the Botley Road will be shut for three months and the only access for pedestrians to central Oxford will be over a dodgy bridge on Osney Lane or through Gibbs Crescent.

Mill Street is a cul-de-sac. ψ