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.
“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.”
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.