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COMMENT: Cute move by council will not be a quick fix
9:00am Saturday 9th February 2013 in News
OXFORD city councillors have played a very cute political move with their decision to ask the University of Oxford to lop a couple of storeys off its Roger Dudman Way buildings.
In one fell swoop they have sought to distance themselves from the growing anger over the impact on the skyline from Port Meadow and turn the university into the pantomime villain. The councillors are tuning into the uproar over the issue, evident on the letters pages of this and our sister newspaper, The Oxford Times.
But it would be naive to think the university will now simply agree to shave off the offending storeys.
The university has planning permission and the economics of changing mid-build will not be insignificant. And that’s before you factor in that these buildings have been structurally designed to that height. It’s not Lego – you can’t just chop off the final two storeys and stick the roof back on.
The city council is there to reflect and represent public opinion. It’s just a pity we are this far down the road and we hope – indeed insist – the taxpayer does not end up footing a seven-figure bill.