Exams and Music Fac could move, says Uni

Local News News University News

By Matt Stokes

The Development Plan Document (DPD) also reveals that the Music Faculty on St. Aldate’s is “due to be relocated to the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ)” to the north of the city centre.

The plans could see up to around 8,000 homes built on 93 earmarked sites to help alleviate housing shortages in the city.

The DPD has designated sites which it believes are “suitable for particular uses with an emphasis on new housing sites”, and it will be taken to a public inquiry later this year.

The inquiry will be led by Inspector Shelagh Bussey, a government-appointed planning inspector.

Applications for planning permission at the sites have not yet been made, but following the DPD they will be the council’s first choices for new developments.

A spokesperson for the University said that the document did not reflect any immediate development plans.

The spokesperson said: “The Music Faculty would like to relocate to a new building on the ROQ site in future, although at present no site has been allocated by the University. The University would similarly like to bring examination facilities closer to the city centre but no site has been allocated by the University.”

Kate Mathieson, a fourth year French student at Exeter, who is sitting all her exams at Ewert, said: “The only bad thing about it is that it is in Summertown, and my cycling concentration isn’t great before and after an exam. So being able to walk to an exam in less than half an hour would be good.

“Also, considering it’s been built for the purpose of exams, it’s stuffy and noisy, and we are constantly told that we’re disturbing the people who are working in the offices there, which is a bit much considering none of us exactly want to be there!”

The ROQ is one of the largest developments every undertaken by the University, and will see many faculties and departments relocate to a new 10-acre site off Woodstock Road.

However, the ROQ website makes no mention of the Music Faculty moving from its present home in St. Aldate’s.

A fundraising concert in 2011 for the Faculty mentioned a future “move to purpose-built premises on the University’s Radcliffe Observatory Quarter” as one project donations would be used for.

But there has been little talk of the move since then and students were mostly unaware of the potential relocation.

Music finalist Joshua Hales said: “This is the first I’ve heard of the music faculty going there.”

George de Voil, a first year music student at Exeter, said: “I’ve heard about this, but I think it’s a long-term proposal that may not (and probably won’t) happen due to money and delays. I’ve only heard gossip though.

“I quite like the faculty where it is, to be honest, it’s quite accessible and has most of the facilities you could wish for, the building’s not too antiquated but not ugly modern either.”

The DPD also marks Jesus College Sports Ground, on Herbert Close in East Oxford, as a potential site for redevelopment.

However, David Barron, Estates Bursar at Jesus, said: “The College has no plans to develop its sports ground. The Council document refers to sites where they would in principle allow development, but the College does not intend to make any changes to its sports ground and adjacent land.”

photo/Sarah Charlesworth