WEST AREA PLANNING COMMITTEE

 

 

Application number:

20/00167/LBC

 

 

Decision due by

6th May 2020

 

 

Extension of time

31st August 2020

 

 

Proposal

Demolition of Lodge buildings, garden works buildings, existing hard landscaping on Ramparts and internal elements. Refurbishment, alteration and extension of existing building, including external glazing over internal courtyards, insertion of en suite bathrooms and lifts, and extension to existing basement to provide residential, teaching and office accommodation with associated structural works. Erection of replacement Lodges and single storey garden room. Creation of underground accommodation and sunken courtyard within the grounds (east) to provide additional residential en suite bedrooms. Erection of a single storey glazed pavilion building (with new basement) within the grounds (west) to provide additional teaching and office accommodation. Erection of new gardeners outbuildings. New landscaping of garden and Ramparts; removal and re-instatement of boundary walls; removal and reinstatement of front ramps; and provision of cycle parking. (Amended description) (Additional and amended plans and supporting information).

 

 

Site address

Rhodes House, South Parks Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire – see Appendix 1 for site plan

 

 

Ward

Holywell Ward

 

 

Case officer

Amy Ridding

 

Agent:

Mr Rob Linnell

Applicant:

Rhodes Trust

 

Reason at Committee

Major development

 

 

1.    RECOMMENDATION

1.1.  West Area Planning Committee is recommended to:

1.1.1.   approve the application for the reasons given in the report and subject to the required conditions set out in section 12 of this report and grant listed building consent.

1.1.2.   agree to delegate authority to the Head of Planning Services to:

·         finalise the recommended conditions as set out in this report including such refinements, amendments, additions and/or deletions as the Head of Planning Services considers reasonably necessary

 

2.    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

2.1. This report considers an application to refurbish and remodel the interior of Rhodes House, a Grade II* listed building, including the conversion of the basement into a convening space for 300 people, and to create new additional accommodation within the grounds above and below ground to provide a total of 40 en suite bedrooms, improved office accommodation, and small & medium sized meeting spaces.  Rhodes House dominates the plot and a well preserved section of the Civil War rampart runs along the eastern boundary. The rest of the site is characterised by landscaped gardens, mature trees, stone boundary walls, and lies within the Central (City & University) Conservation Area.

2.2.  There are a number of proposed alterations affecting the interior to the listed building. The most significant alterations are the creation of a new convening centre at basement level; the insertion of a spiral staircase into the Rotunda; the covering over and incorporation of the internal lightwells into the basement floorspace for the convening centre; the provision of residential accommodation with en suite bathrooms in the East Wing and the installation of three lifts within the building.  

2.3. Within the grounds a glazed pavilion and basement extension are proposed in the western garden, and a garden room and sunken courtyard housing residential accommodation are proposed in the eastern garden. The southern courtyard would be raised in height, re-landscaped and a new lightwell with stair access to the basement would be constructed to the south.     

2.4. The alterations and additions are assessed as causing varying levels of less than substantial harm, from low to high, to the heritage significance of the different parts of the building in question. Overall, the cumulative impact of the proposed works is assessed as causing medium level of less than substantial harm to the historic and architectural special interest of the grade II* listed building and its setting.

2.5. Great weight and importance has been given to the desirability of preserving this grade II* listed building as a designated heritage asset. Clear and convincing justification of the need for the proposed works has been demonstrated and the proposed scheme is considered the least harmful way of ensuring the building remains in its optimum viable use securing its future conservation. The less than substantial harm that would be caused to the heritage significance of the listed building is considered sufficiently mitigated by high quality architectural design, and outweighed by the resulting public benefits of improving accessibility throughout the building; enhancements to the building and the site’s architectural and historic significance; increasing public access, understanding and appreciation of the site’s rich and complex heritage; and the provision of a publically accessible arts programme. These public benefits would outweigh the less than substantial harm caused and subject to conditions, the scheme would comply with section 16(2) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, paragraphs 193, 194 and 196 of the NPPF and policies DH1 and DH3 of the Oxford Local Plan 2036.

3.    LEGAL AGREEMENT

3.1. This application is not subject to a legal agreement.

4.    COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY (CIL)

4.1. The proposal is not liable for CIL.

5.    SITE AND SURROUNDINGS

5.1. Rhodes House site is located on the corner of Parks Road and South Parks Road and consists of a single large u-shaped building with associated smaller extensions and outbuildings set within a mature garden. The site is located within the designated Central (City & University) Conservation Area (CCA) and Rhodes House is Grade II* listed. To the north is the Radcliffe Science Library and bordering the site to the south is Wadham College. To the west are University of Oxford Nos. 9-10 Parks Road and the Garden of St John’s College.  The site is bounded by Love Lane to the east and on the other side of the lane are the buildings of Nos.1 & 1a South Parks Road and the Rothermere American Institute. The Radcliffe Science Library, No.1 South Parks Road and Nos.9-10 Parks Road are also Grade II listed. Both gardens in St John’s College and Wadham College are registered parks and gardens. 

5.2. Rhodes House was built in 1929 and designed by Herbert Baker and built on land formerly owned by Merton College in the medieval period and later by Wadham College (1835 - 1925), during which it formed part of the Warden’s Garden and later the Fellows’ Private Garden. The Rhodes Trust acquired the land in 1925. The site contains features that pre-date the construction of Rhodes House including the old stone boundary wall to Parks Road and South Parks Road (grade II listed) a number of mature trees, and a section of the Royalist Civil War ramparts along the eastern boundary.  The rampart continues south through Wadham College before turning east between Mansfield College and New College.  This is a highly significant archaeological feature and considered to be of national importance.

5.3. The building’s plan form comprises a central range (entrance and dining hall (Milner Hall)) sited between two wings (library and former residential accommodation), and adopts a domestic Cotswold country house aesthetic with its south, east and west elevations having a relationship to the garden setting. This is combined with a classical form of architecture exhibited in the rotunda to the north elevation, the use of symmetry and the defining axes in the organisation of the plan form. It also has a large redundant basement, built in the 1950’s, that up until recently housed books and material for the Bodleian Library. Outside the garden comprises areas of lawn, shrub borders, and area known as the Giant’s Graveyard that sits above the basement between the two wings.

5.4. Rhodes House was originally listed as grade II on 12th January 1954. In 1997 the listing was revised and the building designated as grade II*. The official listing description is largely confined to the external and internal architectural details of the building.  The listing notes that the building “is a memorial to Cecil Rhodes and home of the Rhodes Trustees in Oxford. It was established in the will of Cecil Rhodes as a centre for scholars from the U.S.A., the British Empire and Germany”.

5.5. The Rhodes Trust is an educational charity that administers scholarships to support students, mainly postgraduates, study at the University of Oxford through academic support, interaction with their peers and convenings at Rhodes House.  Rhodes Scholars do not reside at Rhodes House, instead they reside within their individual College or the University.  Rhodes House is therefore different in nature from the Colleges and collegiate experience and instead is a central ‘hub’ or base to which Scholars may go to for support, to study, meetings, convening events associated with the Rhodes Trust Scholars.  The building is also used as a venue for external events such as weddings and seasonal venue hire.  There are 9 residential bedrooms for visitors.  There are 50 staff based at Rhodes House but usually 30-40 staff on site at any one time due to flexible working and typically there are 15-20 scholars on site.

5.6. See block plan below:

© Crown Copyright and database right 2019.

Ordnance Survey 100019348

 

6.    PROPOSAL

6.1. The application proposes to rationalise and remodel the interior of Rhodes House and create new additional accommodation above and below ground both within the existing building and within the grounds, to provide a total of 40 en suite bedrooms, improved office accommodation, small and medium sized meeting spaces and conversion of the basement into a convening centre for 300 people.

6.2. Within Rhodes House the following works are proposed:

·         Refurbishment and remodelling of the existing basement spaces to provide a large convening space with associated facilities. This includes raising the existing basement roof which is sited within the southern courtyard (known as the Giants Graveyard) and the creation of a new hard and soft landscaped area above, within the courtyard;

·         Creation of a new southern lightwell with stair access to the large convening facility within the basement;

·         Insertion of a new spiral stair into the rotunda to connect the remodelled basement spaces with the ground floor;

·         Glazing-over and remodelling the existing lightwells to form part of the foyer space within the basement;

·         Internal alterations to improve access and circulation in the building, including the insertion of three lifts;

·         Refurbishment and remodelling of the East Wing to create 24 en suite bedrooms;

·         Refurbishment of existing principal rooms and spaces throughout the building;

·         Replacement of building services (e.g. electrics) and improvements to the environmental performance of the existing building;

·         Demolition of the existing east and west lodge buildings, garages and ancillary stores, and replacement with lodge buildings of a smaller size, and associated works to the boundary walls;

6.3. Within the garden grounds it is proposed to erect new buildings and create additional below ground accommodation including:

·              Erection of a new single storey building in the east garden behind and adjoining the stone boundary wall on South Parks Road, comprising a communal space primarily for informal dining space for staff.  It includes an enclosed bin storage area and venting for the proposed plant that is situation in a basement below it. The basement contains plant, storage and lift;

·              Creation of 16 residential en suite bedrooms below ground around a central open courtyard area, connecting into the basement and lift of the single-storey building above and laying parallel and adjacent to the Civil War Rampart; 

·              Erection of a single-storey glass pavilion building in the west garden, with green roof providing oratory and meeting space for 20-40 people, sited above a basement extension that would connect into the existing basement and provide additional office accommodation for up to 70 staff, lit via rooflights and an open sunken courtyard lightwell within the north west garden area;

·              Erection of two single-storey garden buildings in the west garden to provide replacement potting shed / storage and greenhouse facilities, and the refurbishment of the existing cycle shed along the existing southern garden wall.

7.    RELEVANT PLANNING HISTORY

7.1. The table below sets out the relevant planning history for the application site:

 

54/03615/A_H - Alteration to wardens lodgings. PER 11th May 1954.

 

63/13373/A_H - Extension to caretakers quarters. PER 23rd April 1963.

 

64/15039/A_H - Alteration to lavatory. PDV 9th June 1964.

 

66/17244/A_H - Alteration to existing garage, covered car port and garden store. PER 22nd February 1966.

 

66/17817/A_H - Garage for a van. PER 26th July 1966.

 

74/01122/L_H - Strip existing defective Cotswold slates and re-slate all roofs in Westmoorland Brushton Moor slates.. PER 28th February 1975.

 

95/00817/L - Listed Building consent for (i) Demolition of garage block on east side (except staircase link) and demolition of porter's lodge. PER 31st January 1996.

 

95/00818/NFH - New E & W 3 storey blocks for 9 flats, 9 bedsits, porter's flat & 6 garages & access to South Parks Rd. Alterations to main block including 1 porch with steps/ramp on S & ramps to front entrance, part infilling 2 courtyards. (Amended plans). PER 31st January 1996.

 

00/01081/L - Listed Building consent to dismantle main entrance portico, reconstruct basement sub-structure, and rebuild portico to match existing.. PER 6th November 2000.

 

00/01082/NFH - Rebuild portico to match existing following dismantling.. PER 6th November 2000.

 

01/00918/L - Listed building consent for internal alterations to create a readers room, with relocation of cloaks, storage and W.C's in basement.. WDN 22nd June 2001.

 

01/01406/L - Listed Building consent for works in basement to provide IT and Reading Room with upgraded WC, storage, cloakroom and ancillary facilities.. PER 22nd February 2002.

 

12/00338/LBC - Internal alterations to refurbish pantry, office and utility accommodation and provide accessible W.C., involving removal of partitions, blocking windows and door, and new finishes and fittings. ( Amended Plans) ( Additional Information). PER 13th April 2012.

 

12/01854/LBC - Alterations to insert a book lift in existing void, including the replacement of grille with cellar doors. PER 3rd September 2012.

 

13/03485/LBC - Internal alterations to install a new sound system in the Milner Hall, the Jameson Room and the Beit Room. PER 12th February 2014.

 

14/03012/LBC - Installation of replacement lighting in the library. PER 23rd December 2014.

 

15/02117/LBC - Conversion of second floor office to bathroom and addition of internal partition and doorway. PER 18th September 2015.

 

16/01279/FUL - Formation of 2no. front access ramps. Formation of 3no. rear access ramps. Alterations to dormer on front north roof slope.(amended description)(amended plans). PER 19th July 2016.

 

16/01280/LBC - Formation of 2no. front access ramps. Formation of 3no. rear access ramps. Alterations to dormer on front north roof slope. Alterations to existing lift shaft and installation of accessible lift to all four floors. Installation of power assisted operators to main entrance doors. (Amended description) (Amended plans). PER 15th July 2016.

 

17/00077/FUL - Provision of additional paving for improved accessibility. (Amended plan). PER 31st March 2017.

 

17/00078/LBC - Provision of additional paving for improved accessibility. (Amended plan). PER 31st March 2017.

 

20/00166/FUL - Demolition of Lodge buildings, garden works buildings, existing hard landscaping on Ramparts and internal elements. Refurbishment, alteration and extension of existing building, including external glazing over internal courtyards, insertion of ensuite bathrooms and lifts, and extension to existing basement to provide residential, teaching and office accommodation with associated structural works. Erection of replacement Lodges and single storey garden room. Creation of underground accommodation and sunken courtyard within the grounds (east) to provide additional residential ensuite bedrooms. Erection of a single storey glazed pavilion building (with new basement) within the grounds (west) to provide additional teaching and office accommodation. Erection of new gardeners outbuildings. New landscaping of garden and Ramparts; removal and re-instatement of boundary walls; removal and reinstatement of front ramps; and provision of cycle parking. (Amended description) (Additional and amended plans and supporting information). PCO.

 

 

 

8.    RELEVANT PLANNING POLICY

8.1. The following policies are relevant to the application:

Topic

National Planning Policy Framework

Local Plan

Other planning documents

Design

124, 127, 130-131

DH1

High quality design & placemaking

 

 

 

Conservation/ Heritage

184-202

DH3

Designated heritage assets

 

 

9.    CONSULTATION RESPONSES

9.1. Site notices were displayed around the application site on 12th February 2020 and 4th June 2020 and advertisements were published in The Oxford Times newspaper on 13th February 2020 and 4th June 2020.

Statutory and non-statutory consultees

Historic England

9.2. Historic England’s initial response of no objection to the application, dated 18th March 2020, is detailed in full below. They were consulted further on 4th June 2020 following the submission of additional and amended information and had no further comments to offer but wish to have opportunity to comment on any future amendments.  

Summary

9.3. ‘These proposals involve major intervention to a fine grade II* listed building. Historic England are content that the designs submitted would entail a low level of harm providing that the design of the balustrade to the proposed stair in the rotunda can be resolved and represent the least harmful way of incorporating the facilities that the Rhodes Trust require into the building. We are therefore content that the requirement of paragraph 194 of the NPPF to justify any harm to the significance of a listed building has been met and do not object to the applications. It is for the Council to weigh the harm against the public benefits associated with the scheme in line with paragraph 196 of the Framework.

The Significance of Rhodes House

9.4. The proposals for Rhodes House have been formulated following extensive pre-application consultation with Historic England. Rhodes House was opened in 1929 and was designed by Herbert Baker (who worked for Rhodes in South Africa in the early years of the 20th century and then established himself as a leading British architect of the interwar years) to act as a home for the Rhodes Trustees in Oxford a meeting place for Rhodes Scholars.

9.5. Rhodes House is of significance in its own right as a very high quality piece of architecture. It demonstrates Baker’s great ability as a designer, is one of the best examples of the Cotswold Vernacular style that was dominant in Oxford in the interwar years and illustrates the fact that there was a lot more to architecture in this period than international modernism very well. The building is also of significance due to its connection with Rhodes’ legacy. It demonstrates just how complex the past is, particularly the history of empires. Cecil Rhodes’ reputation has sunk as the nation’s collective understanding of the British Empire changes. This building has strong associations with a man who was responsible for events and policies now judged reprehensible but who also set up a Scholarships intended to promote learning and international understanding and a Trust that has been able develop and move beyond the worldview of its founder. Rhodes House is in many ways is an architectural embodiment of the British Imperial worldview in the early 20th century and illustrates well how complex historic association can be.

9.6. A section of the defensive rampart thrown up to protect Oxford during the English Civil War stands in the garden to the west of the house. This is not designated but is arguably of national importance as it is one of the best surviving sections of for the 17th century defences.

The proposals and their impact on this significance

9.7. The east wing: the alterations to the east wing are relatively light touch and would have a limited impact on the significance of the building. I am content to defer to the City Council’s conservation team for advice on this aspect of the proposals.

9.8. The west garden pavilion: a handsome contemporary building is proposed which I think is far enough away from the main house - and small enough - to read as a garden pavilion. This would involve the removal of the current west wing, which is a later addition added to Baker’s designs in 1931 on a site which had, since the inception of the scheme, been earmarked for a potential later extension. This extension is a well detailed and of the same high quality materials as the main building but is a very simple, functional service wing that does not display the outstanding architectural qualities of the main building. We therefore consider that the harm to the significance of Rhodes house entailed by its removal would be very low. The proposed new building would add interest to, rather than detract from, views of Rhodes House from Parks Road and we are therefore content with this aspect of the proposals. We note that a large basement is proposed under this pavilion. A preliminary structural engineers report suggests that existing load bearing walls in this area would need underpinning carried out in a ‘hit and miss’ fashion. We suggest that any consent granted is conditional on further details of the proposed engineering work being supplied and approved.

9.9. The residential courtyard: this is an innovative approach to creating more bedroom space while respecting the setting of both the house and the Civil War defences. Again we are supportive of this aspect of the scheme, the proviso again being that suitable conditions are applied to ensure that the below ground works do not adversely impact on the structural stability of the listed building.

9.10.     The stair in the rotunda: this would involve the most dramatic and contentious intervention into the historic fabric of the building. This would certainly change the character and appearance of the rotunda, which remains largely as built, as the stair would become the focal point of the space. I think a well-designed stair can be inserted into the space without compromising its architectural qualities and I am of the view that alternative means of providing access to the ground floor, which will need a lift, would be more intrusive than a stair here.

9.11.     Getting the detailing of the stair right will be vital. It think it important that any balustrade does not feel too solid, as this would dominate the space, and that it should harmonize with the existing architecture and not appear as an alien intrusion. The approach taken, which is presented in sketch form rather than as a fully worked up concept, is for a stone honeycomb design balustrade around the stairwell with a metal handrail and stanchions to the stair itself, which would be a spiral of post-tensioned stone without a central column.

9.12.     In terms of solidity I think this could work well but at present the stone balustrade looks very simple, without the classical mouldings that characterise the rest of the rotunda, and I fear that it would look too stark and an alien intrusion into what is probably the finest internal space in the building. Further design development is needed here. As this is a matter of detail, which we believe could be resolved with sufficient thought, we would be content this matter to be dealt with via a condition attached to any consent granted. The proviso to this is that we had the opportunity to comment on any application for its discharge of conditions and that the conservation team at the Council were content that any application for discharge of conditions would only be determined after appropriate consultation with both themselves and Historic England. It may be necessary to create a mock up in the space to give a clearer idea about how it might look and feel.

9.13.     Glazing the internal courtyards: the proposal to glaze the courtyards involves inserting glass roofs between second and third floor windows. Studies suggest that these would not be visible externally and the line chosen avoids clashing with the courtyard windows. There would be some impact on the character of rooms lit from the courtyard as the quality of light entering would change and light levels in these spaces would be lowered. The appearance and character of the courtyards would also be markedly altered, but as these are minor spaces we consider that the impact of this aspect of the proposals on the significance of the building as a whole to be very limited. The way in which the north walls of the courtyards are built up to take the roof also needs careful thought if it is to look elegant. I am not convinced by the current treatments and further design work is needed here. Again, I am content for this to be resolved by condition if it could be guaranteed that Historic England were consulted on any application for discharge of condition.

9.14.     The reconfiguration of the ‘Giant’s Grave’: The proposals here would involve re-landscaping the Giant’s Grave and adding a balustrade and a large window open. This has the potential to be an elegant intervention provided that the detailing of the balustrade is detailed to match the balustrade around the eaves. Again, we would be content for a condition to be applied requiring further details to be supplied provided that we had the opportunity to comment on any application for the discharge of condition.

Planning policy considerations

9.15.     When taken as a whole the proposals would entail a degree of harm to the significance of this grade II* listed building. The most harmful element would be the alterations to the rotunda. However, providing that a suitable design for the balustrade to the rotunda stair can be agreed upon we assess the level of harm as being low are content that this harm is justified, as is required by paragraph 194 of the NPPF as the design in its current form represents in our view the least harmful way of adapting the building to meet the evolving needs of the Rhodes Trust. It is for the Council to decide whether the public benefits associated with the scheme outweigh the harm, in accordance with paragraph 196 of the NPPF.

Recommendation

9.16.     Historic England has no objection to the applications on heritage grounds. We consider that the applications meet the requirements of the NPPF, in particular paragraph numbers 190 and 194, providing that the issues raised in our advice detail above are addressed.’

The Twentieth Century Society

9.17.     The Twentieth Century Society submitted an objection to the application, dated 11th March 2020, which is detailed in full below. They were consulted further on 4th June 2020 following the submission of additional and amended information, including further information concerning the proposed Rotunda staircase. No further comments were received.

9.18.     ‘Rhodes House is a highly significant piece of interwar architecture, designed by the internationally famous architect Sir Herbert Baker, and listed at Grade II*. As a result any interventions into the fabric, layout or original design legibility of the building should be approach cautiously and with considerable sympathy. In this context, the Society wishes to make the following observations.

9.19.     The Society has no concerns about the change of uses proposed in various areas of Rhodes House, as the intention is to return most areas to the uses originally intended as part of Baker’s overall vision. As such spaces are best used for their original purpose, this aspect is appropriate for the listed building. The additions in this scheme have been carefully conceived to allow expansion of the facilities at Rhodes House in a way that minimises the impact on the majority of highly significant areas in the listed building. The Society therefore has no comments to make on the removal of the later extensions to the pavilions nor on the extension of the basement space.

9.20.     However, the Twentieth Century Society objects to the insertion of the spiral staircase into the Rotunda. This is an area of extremely high significance, identified as such on the applicant’s documents, and any intervention should be resisted. The Rotunda is the defining statement of the building and is fundamental to the finely crafted entrance sequence devised by Baker, as the compression of the entry under the portico is relieved on movement into this lofty memorial space. It has significance not merely for its architectural impact but also for its function as an area of remembrance and record. The insertion of the staircase is profoundly detrimental to this boldly expressive piece of architecture. It will destroy the ‘magic influence’ and ‘high note of impressiveness’ that Baker expressly intended and reduce its function to a circulation space servicing the basement. The Society urges that the relocation of this staircase be required by Oxford City Council.’

Thames Water

9.21.     No objection

Natural England

9.22.     No comments

Public representations

The Victorian Group of the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical                        Society

9.23.     The VGOAHS submitted an objection comment under associated planning application 20/00166/FUL which is detailed in full below.

9.24.     ‘Our principal objection to this application concerns the proposal to put a circular staircase in the centre of the rotunda. This is perhaps the most important interior in the building, and this would seriously impair it. It is essential that an alternative location (as suggested in the application) should be found for the staircase.

9.25.     We are somewhat concerned about the treatment of the ‘pavilions’ which flank the South Parks Road front, and hope that their appearance will remain, from the street, unaltered.

9.26.     The ‘West lawn pavilion’ is an unfortunate intrusion, and sadly out of keeping. The garden is precious and should not be spoilt.’

Oxford Civic Society

9.27.     The Oxford Civic Society submitted a support comment under associated planning application 20/00166/FUL which is detailed in full below.

9.28.     ‘Despite the reservations of at least one past eminent critic, this fine assembly by Herbert Baker has made a comfortable, civilised and original contribution to the architecture of Oxford for almost a century, enjoyed by many and deserving of its Grade II * status.

9.29.     Oxford Civic Society consider that the interventions and additions currently proposed are sympathetic in terms of space planning and the missions of the institution, architecture and urban design and that the garden pavilion proposed, will be a welcome addition as conceived by a distinguished architectural practice.’

10. PLANNING MATERIAL CONSIDERATIONS

10.1.     Officers consider the determining issues to be:

a.    Impact on the special architectural and historic interest and the setting of the grade II* listed building

b.    Impact on protected species

 

a.    Impact on the listed building and its setting

10.2.     In accordance with Section 16(2) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, when considering whether to grant listed building consent, special regard should be given to the desirability of preserving a listed building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses.

10.3.     Local Plan policy DH3 requires development to respect and draw inspiration from Oxford’s unique historic environment (above and below ground), responding positively to the significance, character and distinctiveness of the heritage asset and locality. Both policy DH3 and paragraph 193 of the NPPF require great weight to be given to the asset’s conservation.

10.4.     Local Plan policy DH3 and NPPF paragraph 194 require clear and extensive justification to be demonstrated for any harm caused to heritage assets. Development that would lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset should be weighed against any public benefits the proposed development may offer, including securing its optimum viable use (policy DH3 and paragraph 196).

10.5.     Policy DH1 of the Oxford Local Plan 2036 stipulates that permission will only be granted for development of high quality design that creates or enhances local distinctiveness, where the design rationale has been explained in accordance with key design objectives and principles as set out in the Local Plan.

Heritage significance

10.6.     Rhodes House is of high architectural significance as an important piece of interwar architecture designed by notable architect Herbert Baker. Exhibiting both the domestic and classical architectural styles, the building is unique in its character and appearance. Constructed from Bladon rubble stone, the building was influential in the architectural development of Oxford in the early 20th century. The buildings interiors are of particularly high significance exhibiting very fine craftsmanship and constructed from high quality natural materials, displaying the arts and crafts approach.  Despite the change in the use of the east wing in recent decades from residential to largely office accommodation, the buildings plan form and interiors have survived largely intact and undergone relatively little alteration.

10.7.     The building and its site have historic significance, in its associated value with Cecil Rhodes and the Rhodes Trust. The relative under-use and little alteration that Rhodes House has experienced since its construction makes it a unique record and embodiment of the British Imperial culture at that time in history, whilst also being the home and headquarters of a Scholarship programme and Trust set up from the Rhodes’ legacy that is forward and progressive in its thinking, including challenging the concepts on which the programme was originally founded.

10.8.     Situated along the eastern edge of the site is one of the best surviving sections of the defensive English Civil War rampart, which together with the potential for prehistoric and Roman remains, gives the site significant archaeological interest. Until the early 20th century the site formed part of the Wadham College gardens, which abut the southern boundary of the site and are designated as a grade II registered park and garden. 

10.9.     Sited prominently on the corner of Parks Road and South Parks Road, Rhodes House has a strong presence within the street scene and conservation area, and has significant group value with the other listed buildings along South Parks Road including the grade II listed Radcliffe Science Library, Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, 1 & 2 South Parks Road, 1 & 2 Parks Road, . This part of the conservation area (part of the Colleges Character Zone as shown in the draft Central Conservation Area Appraisal), is characterised by a low density of development comprising 19th century and early 20th century buildings of architectural significance, many of which are listed, and extensive areas of enclosed green space within college and university grounds. Rhodes House and its grounds which feature extensive mature tree cover, landscaped gardens and surrounding stone walls, some of which pre-date Rhodes House, make an important and positive contribution to these characteristics of the conservation area and the buildings setting.  

 Impact on significance

10.10.  The basement, historically a secondary functional service area, is the part of the building which has experienced the largest amount of alteration in the past, including the extension under the southern courtyard in the mid-20th century to form library storage. No longer required for storage purposes, large areas of the basement are currently not in use. The basement is the least significant and therefore, the least sensitive part of the building. The principle of converting the basement into useable spaces or greater importance (a convening centre) to meet the needs of the Trust is considered an appropriate and efficient use of space. The alterations proposed would affect both original and later fabric to create the proposed convening centre and associated facilities. The creation of new openings are proposed to enable adequate circulation within the new foyer area, new connections into the western basement extension and between the ground floor with the new stair and lift installations. The original fabric to be impacted comprises a low degree of significance, and the works would cause a low level of less than substantial harm to the overall significance of the listed building.  

10.11.  The external alterations associated with the proposed basement convening centre, resulting in the raising of the basement roof, new hard and soft landscaping within the southern courtyard and the introduction of a lightwell with two sets of steps necessary for fire escape purposes, are considered to be of a suitable siting, scale, form and design quality that they would sit comfortably within the setting of the listed building and its wider garden, and not detract from the significance of the building.  

10.12.  The Rotunda has a very high level of significance which is comprised of both architectural and historic significance. As a set-piece room, a circular domed ante hall in the classical style, the Rotunda is a visually distinctive and unique addition to the buildings otherwise domestic Cotswold country house aesthetic. The Rotunda also forms part of a carefully planned entrance sequence, a series of designed spaces in which movement through is controlled. Sited on the north to south axial line, the building is entered from South Parks Road through the Portico, into the Rotunda, the Parkin Vestibule, the Gallery (sited on the east to west axis) and into the Milner Hall where the visual connection through the bay window into the garden is experienced. The Rotunda’s historic significance is as a memorial to Cecil Rhodes and his ideals (although historic research shows it was originally intended to be a memorial to Lord Milner), and as a memorial to the War Dead, commemorating the fallen on both sides of the conflict. It is recognised that there is an inherent conflict between the Rotunda’s purpose as a memorial, as a space for contemplation, and its purpose as an ante hall, as part of the planned entrance sequence of the building.    

10.13.  The insertion of a spiral staircase into the Rotunda, which remains largely as built, will cause a significant amount of change to the space and is considered to be the most dramatic intervention proposed as part of this scheme. The works would consist of the insertion of a sculptural spiral staircase in the centre of the Rotunda floor leading into the basement involving the removal of a section of the floor structure and structural columns below; the insertion of a steel ring beam; the loss of the stone flooring but the retention and relocation of the central Matapos stone to the base of the staircase in the centre of the basement floor below; a new perforated stone balustrade surrounding the new opening within the Rotunda and a lightweight metal balustrade around the staircase itself. 

10.14.  The purpose of the staircase is to direct the delegates and people attending the large convening events into the basement Convening Centre at an early stage in their arrival, enabling the Rhodes Scholars and staff to use the same main entrance, moving directly through the Rotunda into the principal spaces of the building.   

10.15.  The level of harm caused by the insertion of a spiral staircase into the Rotunda is assessed as a high level of less than substantial harm to the Rotunda itself. The staircase would fundamentally change the way in which the space is experienced as a memorial, detracting from the relatively austere, contemplative and classical yet simple architectural character that emphasises its purpose as a memorial, harming the historic interest of the Rotunda. It is considered that, in terms of the impact of on the architectural qualities and significance of the Rotunda, the staircase by reason of its sculptural form and high quality design, would maintain the ‘high note of impressiveness’ that Baker expressly intended for the space and would not detract from its spectacular and ‘magic influence’ upon entering.

10.16.  Historic England have raised no objection to the proposed staircase, which they consider would not harm the architectural qualities of the space, and subject to further design development of the balustrades which can be dealt with via condition, consider that it represents the least harmful way of incorporating the facilities required by the Rhodes Trust into the building.

10.17.  In response to the objection received from the Twentieth Century Society who consider the staircase would be ‘profoundly detrimental to this boldy expressive piece of architecture’ and ‘reduce its function to a circulation space servicing the basement’, and due to Officers assessment of the harm, further information was submitted during the application to further demonstrate that all possible alternative options of providing accessibility into the basement have been explored accordingly; namely the provision of a staircase into one of the lightwells. The heritage assessment carried out is concurred with and identifies that the level of harm caused by the Rotunda staircase to the heritage significance of the building would be slightly higher than that caused by the lightwell staircase. However, it is recognised that the Rotunda staircase would bring additional benefits in terms of ensuring the functionality of the building is fit for purpose for the foreseeable future and secure its optimum viable use, as the home and headquarters of the Rhodes Trust. 

10.18.  Officers are satisfied that clear and extensive justification has been provided for the proposed Rotunda staircase and that it would be the least harmful way to meet the evolving needs of the Trust and ensure the optimum viable use of the building, in accordance with the requirements of Local Plan policy DH3 and NPPF paragraphs 194.  

10.19.  The existing lightwells sited in between the Parkin Vestibule and the flanking wings are by their nature little-used utilitarian spaces, which comprise a low degree of significance as spaces in themselves but where the rubble stone external walls with dressed stone window frames and leaded window casements of the principal building ranges surround and are key features of. The proposal to incorporate the lightwells as part of the basement floorspace by installing glazed roof coverings and replacing existing basement windows with larger doorways would cause a medium level of less than substantial harm to the significance of the building. The new glazed roof coverings and associated upstands and ventilation grilles would be highly visible internally from the windows of the surrounding rooms and corridors, and externally, visibility of the new roof coverings would not occur at street level as shown on the sightline drawings, and be limited to high level views from the upper floor windows of the buildings on the opposite side of the street. Amendments to the design and materials of the roof coverings and associated upstands and ventilation grilles were submitted during the application, mitigating the level of harm.   

10.20.  The proposal to install three additional lifts within the building would result in the removal of original fabric and alterations to the original plan form, causing less than substantial harm to the buildings significance. The reason for the lifts, to achieve greater accessibility throughout the building is considered to be sufficient justification that would outweigh the harm (discussed below).

10.21.  The removal of the tiered seating from the Milner Hall gallery would result in less than substantial harm. The difficulties with the functionality of this space as existing due to safety and practical reasons is acknowledged. The proposals to re-use the timber from the seating within the gallery space would mitigate some of the resulting harm, and the need to create a functional space is considered adequate justification.

10.22.  Less than substantial harm would be caused by the proposals to accommodate 24 en suite bedrooms within the East Wing, which would involve alteration to the original floorplan through the removal and reconfiguration of internal walls, the installation of en suite facilities into a number of rooms, and the erosion of the original service function at the north end of the wing. The harm would be mitigated to some extent by the use of ‘light touch’ design and construction techniques and the re-use of displaced fixtures and features. The works would also enable the East Wing to be returned to its original intended residential use, albeit with facilities to meet modern-day standards, removing the harmful office functions, which would be considered a heritage benefit of the scheme (discussed below).

10.23.  Upgrading works relating to the existing mechanical and electric services together with a number of fire resistance safety measures are proposed throughout the building. The upgrading and provision of new services to serve the new east wing en suites would involve the installation of several new service risers. The fire safety works would include the upgrading of the existing doors and partitions using intumescent paint products and seals, and the installation of new secondary glazing to some windows and glazed screens to provide the necessary compartmentalisation around the main stair in the east wing. The works would cause a small amount of less than substantial harm to the original fabric and aesthetics of some of the interior spaces. The impact is considered to be mitigated, however, by the sensitive siting and appropriate design of the works minimising the degree of harm caused. The works would be justified by the improved fire safety and functionality of the building.    

10.24.  The existing east and west lodges and side wings which are the result of various design iterations and have undergone a number of alterations are considered to comprise medium significance, and as such their loss would result in less than substantial harm. It is considered that the proposed smaller replacement lodges would be a better architectural response, reinforcing the symmetry and improving and enhancing the buildings architectural significance, which can be appreciated from the public realm. The harm resulting from the loss of the existing historic fabric can be mitigated by re-using as much of the original significant fabric as possible within the new constructions, which can be secured by condition.

10.25.  The proposed west garden pavilion would be a high quality architectural addition to the site that would cause a low level of less than substantial harm to the character, appearance and setting of the listed building. The pavilion would be sited a sufficient distance away from the principal building and be suitably subservient in scale and size and of a simple yet elegant high quality design, that it would contrast but not unduly compete with the listed building, ensuring the level of harm is kept to a minimum. To ensure the intended high quality design is delivered in practice and light spill is kept to a minimum, it is recommended further design details and specifications are secured by condition.

10.26.  The east garden room would be sited behind and below the front wall. Its low height and simple design would ensure it would not be an imposing addition within the setting of the listed building or the rampart. The proposed sunken courtyard containing residential accommodation would be a significant intervention into the east gardens resulting in the loss of the warden’s garden, causing less than substantial harm to the significance of the gardens and setting of the building. The visual impact has been mitigated by a combination of high quality design integrated with appropriate landscaping, to ensuring it sits comfortably within the gardens, rather than appearing an incongruous and visually distinct feature.   

10.27.  Overall, the degree of harm caused by the proposed alterations to the special architectural and historic interest of the grade II* listed building and its setting is assessed as a medium level of less than substantial harm.

Need for the development

10.28.  The Rhodes Trust exists entirely in support of academic transformation. The number of Rhodes Scholars in Oxford has increased from 215 to 260 in recent years, and the Trust is looking to expand further to allow 325 scholars in residence in Oxford by 2028.  The Trust has also expanded to include partnerships with the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, Atlantic Institute and Schmidt Science Fellowship.   Rhodes House therefore is the main hub for all Rhodes Scholars (including alumni), Atlantic Fellows and Schmidt Science Fellows, its main function being a place to convene, and hold formal and informal meetings.  Rhodes House has an increasing importance as a central hub for exchange of knowledge and ideas, and social interaction, amongst those various cohorts and others in the future.  The expansion of the Trust and increase in partnerships has led to an increased need for additional staffing on site and ability to hold events for as many as possible at certain times during the year.  Further a desire to accommodate more residential accommodation on site to capture the benefit from creating an immersive residential environment, where continued social interaction can carry on after meetings and events without having to disperse to local hotels. 

10.29.  With the expansion of the Trust and its partnerships the building as it currently exists does not meet the needs of the Trust. The office functions have expanded into the original residential east wing, reducing the available on-site residential accommodation to just 9 bedrooms, which lack modern facilities.  For larger gatherings there is the one large meeting space, the Milner Hall which seats up to approximately 200, and some are smaller meeting spaces, including the Rosebury Room and smaller academic rooms within the building. The large 1950’s basement, which provided storage for the Bodleian Library, lies empty and without purpose. Many of the existing principal and other rooms do not contain the modern-day facilities required for the various functions the building is required to accommodate, and there are numerous constraints associated with providing the required facilities in these spaces due to their heritage significance. With the expansion of the Trust and the Atlantic Fellows and Schmidt Science Fellows partnerships, there is a need for an additional 15 staff on site and for the building to accommodate a maximum of 250 scholars, fellows, alumni and visitors at any one time, together with a larger number of smaller meeting rooms for break out groups of up to 20 people. 

10.30.  In summary, the need for the proposed development is considered to be clearly and extensively justified in accordance with Local Plan policy DH3 and NPPF paragraph 194.

Public benefits

10.31.   The heritage benefits associated with the proposed scheme are:

·         The improvements to the setting and appreciation of the rampart from within the site, which would outweigh the harm caused by the proposed sunken courtyard. 

·         The replacement lodges will enhance the architectural character of the building, improve how it is appreciated within the street scene, and improve the views of the west elevation from public vantage points, which would outweigh the harm resulting from the loss of the existing lodges.

·         Re-introducing the residential uses back into the East Wing and removing the unsympathetic office uses would return the principal building to its original intended uses.

·         The removal of existing modern unsympathetic internal alterations from the principal building would comprise a relatively small heritage benefit given the nature of the existing alterations. 

10.32.  The other public benefits associated with the proposed scheme are:

·         Provision of level accesses and increased accessibility within the building, which would outweigh the harm caused by the lifts and associated works.

·         Increased public access into the site and building, raising further public awareness of the buildings architectural and historic significance and its complex heritage. Rhodes House is currently not intentionally open to the public and ad hoc visiting by members of the public has to be arranged by appointment or asking at the porters lodge.  As part of the development the Trust intends to open up its doors to the visitors in a more transparent and frequent basis in accordance with the ‘Rhodes Trust Public Access Statement’. The proposals include:

o   12 open days / organised events per year to occur once a month involving tours including a narrative on the history of the building, its architecture and work of the Trust.

o   Open garden events including guided tours at least once per month from April-August providing information on the landscape architecture, biodiversity and planting scheme.

o   One annual event to celebrate the history of the site in particular the Civil War period. Installation of an information panel visible from the street explaining the significance of the rampart.

o   Public arts programme involving a programme of temporary exhibitions and installations that engage with the public and profile the works of the Rhodes Trust in a positive and accessible way. The art exhibitions and the art owned by the Rhodes Trust will be accessible during open days.

o   Supporting outreach programme of art tours and talks, inviting curators, artists and business leaders to give talks on topics which will be free to attend.

10.33.  As discussed above, overall, a medium level of less than substantial harm would be caused to the heritage significance of the grade II* listed building.  There is considered to be a clear and evident justified need for the works and a number of public benefits that would be commensurate to and outweigh the less the substantial harm that would be caused. On balance, it is considered that the proposed scheme would result in high quality alterations and additions that would ensure the building remains in its optimum viable use and meets the evolving needs of the Rhodes Trust in the least harmful way.

b.    Protected species

10.34.  A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal and Bat Survey Report (September 2018) and Bat Survey Addendum (May 2020) produced by Applied Ecology Ltd have been submitted and Officers are satisfied that the potential presence of protected habitats and species has been given due regard. The surveys undertaken have confirmed the presence of a Common Pipistrelle and Brown Long-eared bat day roosts within the roof and dormers of Rhodes House, but no large or important bat roosts in the building.

10.35.  There is a duty on Local Authorities, in the exercise of any of their functions, to have regard to the requirements of the Habitats Directive, which lists all species of bats as being protected species. As set out in paragraphs 10.95-10.98 (section h. Biodiversity) of the associated planning report for 20/00166/FUL, the development is considered to meet the three tests required by regulation 53 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, subject to the inclusion of a condition that requires obtaining a European Protected Species Mitigation Licence from Natural England to agree the mitigation measures.

11. CONCLUSION

11.1.     Great weight and importance has been given to the desirability of preserving this grade II* listed building as a designated heritage asset. Clear and convincing justification of the need for the proposed works has been demonstrated and the proposed scheme is considered the least harmful way of ensuring the building remains in its optimum viable use securing its future conservation. The less than substantial harm that would be caused to the heritage significance of the listed building is considered sufficiently mitigated by high quality architectural design, and outweighed by the resulting public benefits of improving accessibility throughout the building; enhancements to the building and the site’s architectural and historic significance; increasing public access, understanding and appreciation of the site’s rich and complex heritage; and the provision of a publically accessible arts programme. These public benefits would outweigh the less than substantial harm caused and subject to conditions, the scheme would comply with section 16(2) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, paragraphs 193, 194 and 196 of the NPPF and policies DH1 and DH3 of the Oxford Local Plan 2036.

11.2.     It is recommended that the Committee resolve to grant listed building consent for the development proposed subject to the conditions set out in section 12.

12. CONDITIONS

1          The works permitted shall be begun not later than the expiration of three years from the date of this consent.

           

            Reason: In accordance with Section 18(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 in accordance with policy and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

 2         Unless specifically excluded by subsequent conditions the works permitted shall be carried out strictly in accordance with the terms of, and subject to, the conditions attached to this consent and in compliance with the details specified in the application and the submitted/amended plans listed in this decision notice.

           

            Reason: As Listed Building Consent has been granted only in respect of the application as approved, to ensure that the development takes the form envisaged by the Local Planning Authority when determining the application in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

 3         No development shall take place until the applicant, or their agents or successors in title, has secured the implementation of a programme of historic building recording to Level 4 standard (Historic England, 2016, Understanding Historic Buildings: A Guide to Good Recording Practice) in accordance with a Written Scheme of Investigation which has been submitted by the applicant and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. All works shall be carried out and completed in accordance with the approved written scheme of investigation, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

           

            The programme of historic building recording shall consist of a survey to be undertaken prior to the refurbishment works and an intermittent watching brief carried out during the significant interventions into the building fabric. The recording should be undertaken by a professionally qualified archaeologist working to a brief issued by the Local Planning Authority.

           

            Reason: Because the development may have a damaging effect on the historic environment of the people of Oxford and their visitors, including on the Grade II* Rhodes House in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

 4         The development shall be undertaken in accordance with the recommendations provided within the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal and Bat Survey Report (September 2018) and Bat Survey Addendum (May 2020) produced by Applied Ecology Ltd. No works of site clearance, demolition or construction shall take place until a European Protected Species Mitigation Licence has been granted by Natural England should any works directly or indirectly impacting bat roosts be required. A copy of the licence is to be provided to the Local Planning Authority within 5 working days of approval by Natural England.

           

            Reason: To comply with the requirements of The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and to protect species of conservation concern.

 

 5         Methodologies for the deconstruction and re-use of the external materials of the east and west lodges, and the deconstruction and reconstruction of the fronts sections of boundary wall shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority prior to the commencement of the relevant works and the works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details only.

           

            Reason: To ensure the preservation and protection of original, weathered materials and features of historic interest and their reinstatement as part of this contract, and to preserve the special architectural or historic listed building, in accordance with policies DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

 6         Samples of all exterior materials proposed to be used for the following new works, shall be made available for inspection on site and details shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before the start of the relevant work and only the approved materials shall be used. All existing original materials from the dismantled sections of building shall be re-used in accordance with the requirements of condition 5. The Local Planning Authority shall be notified where the re-use of existing external materials is not possible.

           

            a) Replacement East and West Lodges and bin stores

            b) East Garden Room

            c) Residential Courtyard

            d) Giants Grave and Southern Lightwell

            e) West Garden Pavilion

            f) Office Courtyard

            g) East and West Lightwells

           

            Reason: To enable the Local Planning Authority to give further consideration to the external appearance of the approved works, in the interest of visual amenity and the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policies DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

 7         Sample panels of brickwork and stonework demonstrating the colour, texture, face bond, mortar and pointing for the following elements shall be erected on site and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before relevant parts of the work are commenced.  The approved sample shall be constructed with a lime mortar mix, shall represent the minimum standard and any pointing shall at least match the standard of the sample, to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority. The development shall be completed in accordance with the approved sample panel which shall remain on site for the duration of the development works.

           

            a) Replacement East and West Lodges

            b) East Garden Room

            c) Sunken Residential Courtyard

            d) Giants Grave and Southern Lightwell

            e) Sunken Office Courtyard

            f) East and West Lightwells

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work and in the interest of the special character of the listed building,  in accordance with policies DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

 8         Sample areas of stone cleaning no bigger than 1m² in size shall be made available for inspection on site and details of the proposed cleaning methods shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before the start of the relevant work and only the approved methods shall be used. The development shall be completed in accordance with the approved sample areas which shall remain on site for the duration of the stone cleaning works.

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work and in the interest of the special character of the listed building,  in accordance with policies DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

 9         Details in the form of methodologies, schedules of works, drawings, and structural engineers reports, of the necessary structural works which would involve the removal of or impact to existing historic fabric concerning the following areas of work below, shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before the start of the relevant works. The works shall only be carried out in accordance with the approved details.

           

            a) Rotunda stair opening

            b) New lift within the Parkin Vestibule

            c) New lift within the West Wing 

            d) East and west lightwells

            d) Basement conference centre

            e) Underpinning works to existing foundations and basement walls

           

            Reason: To preserve the significance of the listed building, in accordance with its special architectural and historic interest and with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

10        Notwithstanding the hereby approved drawings, large scale drawn design details of the following areas of work, shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before the relevant parts are installed and the works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details only:

           

a)    West Garden Pavilion, details to include wall and roof junctions, curtain wall system, fenestration, internal finishes, electrical and mechanical building services;

b)    East Garden Room, details to include roof specification, overhanging eaves, soffit and fascia, doors;

c)    Sunken Residential Courtyard, details to include fenestration, wall upstand and railings;

d)    Southern lightwell (Giants Grave), details to include balustrade, steps, railings, fenestration, wall upstands and seating;

e)    Sunken Office Courtyard, details to include fenestration, wall upstand and railings;

f)     East and West Lodges, details to include eaves, fenestration;

g)    Ground-mounted rooflights and ventilation panels;

h)   Gardener’s outbuildings, details to include elevations.    

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work and in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policies DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

11        The reinstatement of the existing stone ramps and steps shall be carried out in accordance with the submitted document 'Method Statement for the deconstruction and reconstruction of existing ramps at Rhodes House' by Beard, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the work and in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policies DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

12        Details of the siting, size, design and finished appearance of the following external fixtures, shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before the relevant parts are installed and the works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details only:

           

            a) New or replacement ventilation grilles and extracts

            b) New or replacement boiler flues and new soil and vent pipes

            c) CCTV cameras

            d) Bird and bat boxes

            e) New signage, including dry falling main

           

            Existing openings shall be re-used where ever possible. All existing redundant non-original external fixtures and associated wiring and ducting shall be removed from the building and the affected areas of fabric made good to match the existing original work in respect of materials used, detailed execution and finished appearance.

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work and in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

13        All existing original rainwater goods shall be retained, repaired and re-used on the building wherever possible. Any required replacement rainwater goods shall match the existing original work in terms of materials, design, detailed execution and finished appearance.

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work and in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

14        Notwithstanding the submitted Lighting Planning Report, an architectural lighting strategy including details of new lighting fixtures on the exterior of the building, luminance levels and colour temperatures, shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before the relevant parts are installed and the works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details only.

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work and in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

15        All existing original internal features, such as plaster work, floorboards, ironwork, fireplaces, doors, windows, staircase balustrading and other woodwork, shall remain undisturbed in their existing position, and shall be fully protected during the course of works on site unless expressly specified to the contrary in the approved drawings. Any as yet unknown features of historic interest discovered during the progress of the works shall be retained in situ and preserved to the satisfaction of the Local Planning Authority. The Local Planning Authority shall be notified in writing of their discovery and details of their preservation shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before any relevant works take place.

           

            Reason: To ensure the preservation of valuable features of historic interest, which might otherwise be lost during the proposed works in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

16        All original architectural features to be displaced as a result of the approved works shall be retained and re-used in other locations within the building as part of the works. Where it is proposed not to re-use displaced features, they shall be stored safely and securely on site. Details of the displaced features and any adaptions necessary for their re-use or new storage location shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before any relevant works take place.

           

            Reason: To ensure the preservation of valuable features of historic interest, which might otherwise be lost during the proposed works in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

17        The hereby approved new partitions shall be of a reversible construction, with minimal fixings into the existing fabric and scribed to fit around the existing original skirtings, cornices and other original features which shall be retained in situ unless expressly specified to the contrary in the approved drawings.

           

            Reason: To protect the special interest of the building in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

18        Notwithstanding the approved drawings, the following details concerning the Rotunda staircase shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before the relevant works commence and the works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details only:

           

            a) Construction method statement, including details of existing floor

            b) Large scale drawn details of the balustrade within the Rotunda

            c) Large scale drawn details of the plinth, staircase and balustrading

            d) Material samples of the floor finish, balustrade, staircase railing 

           

            Reason: To ensure the preservation of valuable features of historic interest, which might otherwise be lost during the proposed works, and to ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work, in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

19        Notwithstanding the approved drawings, the following details concerning the alterations to the Milner Hall Gallery, shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before the relevant works commence and the works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details only:

           

            a) Deconstruction and reconstruction method statement

            b) Large scale drawn details of new seating, floor and wall panelling

            c) Large scale drawn details of new balustrade

           

            Reason: To ensure the preservation of valuable features of historic interest, which might otherwise be lost during the proposed works, and to ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work, in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

20        Notwithstanding the approved drawings, the following details concerning the alterations to the east and west lightwells, shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before the relevant works commence and the works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details only:

           

            a) Large scale drawn details of new high level ventilation louvres

            b) Material samples of the stone, framing and ventilation louvres

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work, in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

21        Notwithstanding the approved drawings, drawn details and/or samples of the new lift doors and surrounds shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before the relevant works commence and the works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details only.

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work, in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

22        Further to the proposals submitted for the East Wing, the following details, shall be submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority before the relevant parts are installed and the works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details only:

           

            a) Plans showing the distribution and locations of new mechanical, electrical and plumbing services;

            b) Method statement and schedule of works for the proposed installation of new mechanical and electrical services; and

            c) Elevations showing the proposed location of any new associated internal fixtures and details of their size, design and finished appearance.

           

            Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work and in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

23      The framing of the hereby approved secondary glazing shall be colour matched to the existing stone mullions and window surrounds, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

 

Reason: To ensure a sympathetic appearance for the new work and in the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

24       All repair works shall be carried out, and any damage caused to the building as a result of the works hereby approved shall be made good, to exactly match the existing original work in respect of materials used, detailed execution and finished appearance.

 

Reason: In the interest of the special character of the listed building, in accordance with policy DH1 and DH3 of the Adopted Oxford Local Plan 2036.

 

INFORMATIVES :-

 

 1         In accordance with guidance set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, the Council tries to work positively and proactively with applicants towards achieving sustainable development that accords with the Development Plan and national planning policy objectives. This includes the offer of pre-application advice and, where reasonable and appropriate, the opportunity to submit amended proposals as well as time for constructive discussions during the course of the determination of an application. However, development that is not sustainable and that fails to accord with the requirements of the Development Plan and/or relevant national policy guidance will normally be refused. The Council expects applicants and their agents to adopt a similarly proactive approach in pursuit of sustainable development.

 

 2         Nesting birds

            All wild birds, nests, eggs and young are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). The grant of planning permission does not override the above Act. All applicants and sub-contractors are reminded that persons undertaking site clearance, hedgerow removal, demolition works etc. between March and August may risk committing an offence under the above Act and may be liable to prosecution if birds are known or suspected to be nesting. The Council will pass complaints received about such work to the appropriate authorities for investigation. The City Council advises that such work should be scheduled for the period 1 September-28 February wherever possible. Otherwise, a qualified ecologist should make a careful check before work begins.

 

13. APPENDICES

·         Appendix 1 – Site location plan

 

14. HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998

14.1.     Officers have considered the implications of the Human Rights Act 1998 in reaching a recommendation to approve this application. They consider that the interference with the human rights of the applicant under Article 8/Article 1 of Protocol 1 is justifiable and proportionate for the protection of the rights and freedom of others or the control of his/her property in this way is in accordance with the general interest.

15. SECTION 17 OF THE CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1998

15.1.     Officers have considered, with due regard, the likely effect of the proposal on the need to reduce crime and disorder as part of the determination of this application, in accordance with section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. In reaching a recommendation to grant listed building consent, officers consider that the proposal will not undermine crime prevention or the promotion of community.