Officers recommend giving approval to new art school

The Oxford Times: Officers recommend giving approval to new art school Officers recommend giving approval to new art school

PLANS for a new school of art in East Oxford are being backed by city council officers.

Councillors have been urged by planners at the Town Hall to approve plans submitted by Oxford University for a new site for the Ruskin School of Art when they meet tonight.

The west area planning committee is due to meet at 6.30pm to rule on plans for the new building.

The university already uses the site in Bullingdon Road as part of the Ruskin School of Art but says it is no longer fit for purpose.

The school is divided between two sites about a mile apart – a listed building in High Street and the light-industrial building in Bullingdon Road, which houses the workshops and the main sculpture, printmaking and digital multimedia facilities.

In a report to the committee, planning officer Fiona Bartholomew gave the bid her full support.

She said: “The proposals represent a significant upgrading of the site’s educational and associated facilities, the structural quality of the buildings on the site, and the external appearance of the site.

“The architectural response to the characteristics of the site and its surroundings is appropriate and of very high quality.

“The integration of the scheme with the street scene will contribute positively to making this a better, more inclusive place for students and the local community.

“The proposals will not result in unacceptable harm to the amenities of adjacent and nearby residential and commercial properties.

“The loss of the ancillary flat is justified by the benefits to the local community of the consolidation and continued presence of the school at this location and the cultural opportunities it offers to the local community.

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“No objections have been received from statutory consultees or individuals.”

If the project goes ahead, it will almost double the space available on the site, which will be used for workshops, studios, office space and seminar rooms.

Architects Spratley Studios claim the new building will be “best placed to engage in contemporary culture in whatever form”.

The university says parking at the site will be limited to three spaces for members of staff to encourage students to use public transport or cycle.

University spokesman Matt Pickles said: “If approved, the redevelopment would allow the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art to host public exhibitions, events, screenings, performances and artists’ talks, bringing the university closer to the local community.”

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