General Resolution - report of the Working Party on University Sites - (1) to No 4471



<br /> Oxford University Gazette: General Resolution: Report of the<br /> Working Party on University Sites (supplement)

Oxford University Gazette

General Resolution: report of the Working Party on University
Sites

Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4471

Wednesday, 29 April 1998

To Gazette
No. 4472 (30 April 1998)

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Gazette Home Page


University Agenda

CONGREGATION 19 May 2 p.m.

Voting on General Resolution concerning the Report of the
Working Party on University Sites

Explanatory note

In 1995 Council established a working party, under the
chairmanship of the Master of Balliol, `to review the
requirements for, and the availability of, sites for development
by the University, and to propose ... an outline development plan
for the next twenty years ...' The report of the working party
was published at the beginning of Michaelmas Term 1997
(Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4448, 8 October 1997, p. 77) and
was sent for comment to colleges, faculty boards, and other
university bodies, comments also being invited from individual
members of Congregation.

All the comments received have been considered by the Buildings
Committee, and that committee has in turn reported to the
Resources Committee, which has noted that the general response
has been to welcome the report and the broad strategy recommended
in it, although there are certain points where respondents have
questioned particular recommendations.

The Resources Committee has recommended, and Council and the
General Board have agreed, that the report should be seen as
providing a framework for strategic planning with detailed
decisions on the future locations of departments and faculties
being reviewed on a rolling basis as circumstances change, and
accordingly:

(i) that the Report of the Working Party on University Sites be
submitted to Congregation for approval without amendment but with
the Building Committee's comments on points of detail, as
appended at I below;

(ii) that the Report of the Working Party on University Sites
be
not taken as prescriptive, but be regarded as a general framework
within which to consider individual moves of university
departments and faculties when decisions need to be taken on such
moves;

(iii) that the Buildings Committee be invited to review and
update the working party's report every three years or whenever
there is a significant change in the availability of sites or in
the University's requirements for space.

Council therefore submits to Congregation the following general
resolution, which endorses the working party's conclusions on the
basis that these should not be taken as being prescriptive but
should serve as a general framework for the future development
of
the University's estate, subject to regular review.

Text of General Resolution

That this House endorse the Report of the Working Party on
University Sites (Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4448, 8 October
1997, p. 77) as a general framework within which to consider
individual moves of university departments and faculties when
decisions need to be taken on such moves, on the understanding
that the Buildings Committee will be invited to review and update
the working party's report every three years or whenever there
is
a significant change in the availability of sites or in the
University's requirements for space.

APPENDIX I

Report of the Working Party on University Sites: comments of
the Buildings Committee

The Buildings Committee was requested by Council to circulate the
Report of the Working Party on University Sites to all major
interested parties with a specific invitation to comment. The
report was sent to all colleges, faculty boards, and
inter-faculty committees. Departments were invited to comment
through the appropriate board or committee but could if they
wished submit comments directly. Twenty submissions were received
from faculties, faculty boards, and committees, six from
departments, and three from colleges.

The committee has reviewed all the comments received and
considers that there is broad support for the strategy
recommended in the report. The committee adds its support, but
wishes to emphasise that it considers that the report should be
seen as a framework for strategic planning with the decisions on
the future locations of departments and faculties being reviewed
as circumstances change.

Comments relating to the recommendations of the Working Party's
Report are summarised in the table at Appendix II below. The
committee considers that the submissions are in general
supportive of the report though in some cases there is disquiet
as to whether some of the buildings suggested as future
accommodation are large enough for the department or faculty
concerned.

The Buildings Committee draws attention to the following comments
as conflicting with the recommendations of the report (details
of
the recommendations themselves are given in Appendix II).

Recommendations Seven and Twenty-two

Having seen the proposed site in West Oxford, the Department for
Continuing Education and Kellogg College consider it unsuitable
and ask that the option of the listed buildings on the Radcliffe
Infirmary site be kept open, if necessary challenging the
department to find money for refurbishment. The committee accepts
that these buildings are more attractive to potential donors than
a site in West Oxford, and that Continuing Education has close
links with other academic departments for which a central site
would be an advantage. However, the committee recognises that the
needs of English and History are such that these two faculties
should have first call on the Radcliffe Infirmary site. While
this decision should be kept under review in the light of changes
in the availability of sites, the committee considers that it
would be inappropriate for Continuing Education to approach
potential donors for funding for the Radcliffe Infirmary site.
The committee recommends that further discussions be held with
the department to explore other options for its future
accommodation.

Recommendation Eight

The Libraries Committee would wish to use space freed in the New
Bodleian building to improve reader facilities rather than to
provide space for developments in the humanities, and suggests
that the office areas of the old Indian Institute building be
used for the latter purpose. Literae Humaniores initially wished
to see the institute used for a Philosophy Faculty Centre and
Library but now believes the institute not to be suitable.
Oriental Studies considers that the building should be used for
its original purpose as an Institute and Library for South Asian
Studies, though the Director of Library Services advises that it
could not house the current stock of South Asian books. The
Buildings Committee understands from the Libraries Committee that
the Faculties of Modern History and English would put a higher
priority on improving and increasing reader facilities around the
New Bodleian bookstack than on office space for new developments.
It also noted the Surveyor's concern that use of office space out
of hours could increase the risk of fire in the building and it
therefore supports the Libraries Committee's proposal for the New
Bodleian building. The committee recommends that, as the claims
from Philosophy and Oriental Studies are based on factors
relating to library use, further discussions be held with the
Libraries Committee nearer to the time when the old Indian
Institute building is likely to be available for reallocation.
The committee also understands that Hertford College believes it
has a long-standing claim on this building, but that
investigation of the correspondence in the University Archives
has not supported the college's case.

Recommendation Nineteen

The Theology Faculty considers that the library space in 10
Merton Street is insufficient and would wish to move to the
Mathematical Institute when this is vacated. The committee notes
that the institute would be available for reallocation if
Mathematics is concentrated on a new site (Recommendation
Twenty-eight), but is not persuaded that Theology could justify
such a large increase of space. This recommendation should be
reviewed when the Mathematical Institute building becomes
available, but for the present the committee would recommend the
alternative option of moving out the Theology Library, either to
join with the History and English Libraries or into space vacated
in the Radcliffe Camera.

Recommendation Twenty-nine

The committee considers it unlikely that English will have
vacated its space on the St Cross site in time for the
International Development Centre to move from Queen Elizabeth
House if, as expected, the lease can not be extended beyond 2005.
The centre's concern as to whether the space can be adapted to
its needs will be addressed during discussions to be held with
English Heritage over the proposed conversion of Economics and
Statistics space for English and Law. The request from Law for
more space, and hence for the centre not to come to the St Cross
site, is to be considered by the committee at a later stage, but
the committee does not recommend that the housing of the Oxford
Institute of Legal Practice in the St Cross Building be given a
high priority. The committee considers that attention should
also be drawn to the comments below which do not relate directly
to the recommendations of the report.

(1) The general comment from the sciences on the need for a
social centre for postdoctoral researchers and the requirements
for a site for this close to the Science Area. The committee
endorses this requirement and recommends that a site for such a
centre be identified. [Note. Council and the General Board have
endorsed the Resources Committee's view that this proposal must
be considered in conjunction with plans to redevelop the
University Club, and that the aim must be to create a single
social centre to meet the needs of non-academic staff.]

(2) The comment from the Libraries Committee that the remainder
of the Natural History Museum forecourt should be reserved for
a
possible expansion below it of the Radcliffe Science Library. The
committee recommends that this be agreed.

(3) The need of the Environmental Change Unit for about 750m2
of
floor space. The committee recommends that this requirement be
accepted and notes that is compatible with paragraph 12 (ii) of
the report. [Note. Council and the General Board have agreed that
they cannot at the present stage enter into any commitment to
provide the additional space requested by the unit. The General
Board will return to this request when it has considered the
long-term plans of Geography.]

(4) The request from the Committee for the Museums and
Scientific Collections that the proposal in the report to
establish a central storage and conservation facility at Osney
Mead should become a recommendation, which the Buildings
Committee supports in principle. However, the committee feels
unable to recommend a change to the recommendations in the report
and suggests that it should instead make clear its endorsement
of
the proposal and include it in its planning.

(5) The Buildings Committee notes that the proposal for a
central teaching facility is strongly supported by Chemistry,
Biochemistry, and the Physiological Sciences. Discussions are
ongoing between Chemistry and the other departments as to whether
the proposed Chemistry Teaching Centre could be expanded to
provide such a facility. The committee will be asked to consider
this proposal when the consultants examining the review of
Chemistry present their conclusions. The committee also notes the
requirement for a Pre-clinical Teaching Centre, if the number of
students rises to 150. Further discussion is required to
determine whether this centre should be combined with clinical
teaching in Headington or with the proposed Chemistry/Bioscience
Centre, or be a stand-alone facility. The committee feels unable
at this stage to recommend a possible site for this facility.
[Note. Council and the General Board have noted that, since the
Buildings Committee considered this matter, it has been agreed
that it would be desirable for there to be a Pre-clinical
Teaching Facility in South Parks Road in association with
Chemistry and Biochemistry. The Resources Committee will give
consideration to possible funding strategies for a development
of
this size.]