Balliol College’s transformation is set to go ahead after plans to build new sports facilities and student accommodation were unanimously approved.
Oxford city council decided to proceed with the plans on April 11, on the grounds that the development on the corner of Jowett Walk and St Cross Road would provide for a need for student accommodation and that its design fits in with the special character and setting of nearby buildings.
The proposal includes demolishing existing accommodation and erecting eight new buildings, including a sports pavilion and a ‘barn-like’ assembly space.
There would be 92 new undergraduate bedrooms, 120 new postgraduate bedrooms, and more accommodation for Fellows.
In the meeting report, representatives from Historic England said: “The new buildings proposed have been very carefully conceived. Officers from the City Council and ourselves were consulted with from an early stage of the project’s development. The result is likely to be both handsome and distinctive.
“The overall design is harmonious yet avoids becoming dull or oppressive.
“In our view the overall design quality is of a very high standard and, if well executed in high quality materials, would contribute to the local character and distinctiveness of the area.”
Oxford City Council officers also dubbed the plans ‘well considered and of high quality’.
Oxfordshire Architectural & Historical Society said they objected to the design for the proposed assembly hall, which affects the settings of the listed St Cross Church and the Law Library.
They said: “The assembly hall is grotesque and totally out of keeping with the site and context of the listed buildings around it.”
The college has pledged to complete the building by January 2020.