Congregation Meeting, 10 February 2015

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The postal ballot of Congregation has rejected the motion, with 1698 votes against and 460 votes in favour. This endorses the decision of the Congregation meeting of February 10, which rejected the motion by 536 to 210 votes.

The University has had a positive and constructive debate on the future of Castle Mill, with a clear outcome. The University remains committed to mitigating the visual impact of the buildings in a way which does not disrupt student accommodation and keeps within the £6 million cost estimated for this purpose. Many creative ideas were put forward at the Congregation debate on how best to achieve this. We hope to explore these ideas further, along with other suggestions that University members and local residents may have. The University’s Council will consider the next steps on Castle Mill at its meeting on March 16.  We will share further information with the wider Oxford community after the Council meeting.

A debate on a resolution took place at the Congregation meeting on Tuesday 10 February. The result of the vote taken was in favour 210 votes, against 536 votes.

A requisition for a postal vote was received from 57 members of Congregation. A full list of signatories is available in the Gazette of 19 February 2015.

The postal vote rejected the resolution, with 1698 votes against and 460 votes in favour. This endorses the decision of the Congregation meeting of 10 February 2015.

“Congregation welcomes the conclusions of the EIA, resolves that of the three options that it offers for mitigation of the environmental damage caused by the Castle Mill Development, Option 3 is the only one that offers substantial mitigation, and therefore instructs Council to proceed with mitigation work according to the recommendations of Option 3.”

A full list of the proposers of the resolution is available in the Gazette of 15 January 2015.

Council considers the resolution unacceptable to it.  

At its meeting on 19 January, Council gave careful consideration to the resolution first published on 15 January. Council welcomes the conclusions of the Environmental Statement on the Castle Mill development that: ‘with the improvements proposed in the Design Mitigation Strategy (Option 1), the advantages of the development would outweigh any residual harm’; and that: ‘…for economic and social reasons anything more than the minimum required to achieve a measure of environmental improvements would have a disproportionate effect and should not be pursued on these grounds’. Council proposes, subject to local authority planning processes, to proceed with mitigation work consistent with Option 1 and deems unacceptable the demand for the implementation of Option 3, which the Environmental Statement independently costs at £30 million, five times the estimate for Option 1.

  • The Revd Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, St Cross College (Proposer)
  • Professor Jane Caplan, St Antony's College (Seconder)
  • Professor Sally Mapstone, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), St Hilda’s College
  • Professor Ewan McKendrick, Registrar, Lady Margaret Hall
  • Professor Avner Offer, All Souls College
  • Louis Trup, OUSU President
  • Jamieson Hunter, Department of Physics
  • Professor William James, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources), Brasenose College
  • Dr Daniel Isaacson, Wolfson College
  • Professor Alex Halliday, Head of the MPLS Division
  • Professor Steve Roberts, St Edmund Hall
  • Dr Seamus Perry, Balliol College
  • Dr Peter Collins, St Edmund Hall
  • Professor Malcolm Airs, Kellogg College
  • Professor Jan Schnupp, St Peter’s College
  • Dr Jan-Georg Deutsch, St Cross College
  • Professor Susan Cooper, St Catherine’s College
  • Dr Nick D Brown, Principal of Linacre College
  • Professor Kalypso Nicolaïdis, St Antony’s College
  • Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), St Hugh’s College
  • Professor Sir Drummond Bone, Master of Balliol College
  • Liesl Elder, Director of Development
  • Professor Paul L Davies, Harris Manchester College
  • James Blythe, OUSU Vice-President for Access and Academic Affairs
  • Sir Jonathan Phillips, Warden of Keble, Chair of Conference of Colleges
  • The Revd Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, St Cross College (closing remarks)

The above transcript was published as a supplement to the Gazette of 19 February.

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