Jericho to be a conservation area

Cranham street, showing the distinctive Gothic windows.
Cranham street, showing the distinctive Gothic windows.

Posted - January 23, 2013

Paul Hornby reports on moves to protect a unique district

It comes as a surprise to visitors that Jericho is not a conservation area. It has a distinct character worthy of protection and is surrounded on three sides by existing conservation areas. The Jericho Community Association and the Jericho Living Heritage Trust, with the support of the Civic Society and the Oxford Preservation Trust, and many notable individuals, have campaigned over the years for Jericho to be designated as a conservation area.

On 20 May the City Executive Board discussed a recommendation from the Planning Manager that a Jericho conservation area be implemented ‘when resources permit’. This amounted to a rather meaningless and indefinite commitment. In the event, the Board came to a more positive conclusion – agreeing to commence work this year, if resources allow, and make a bid for funding for next year in the Council’s budget.

The Planning Manager estimates the cost at £40,000. This is considered excessive, and many people are convinced that the cost could be substantially lower.
The objective is to protect the character and environment of Jericho and ‘heighten the bar’ for developers, ensuring a better quality of design and development.

Contrary to some beliefs, it is not proposed to request an ‘Article 4 Direction’ which would remove the permitted development rights of householders. Individuals would still be allowed to improve their properties with such works as rear extensions.

In the circumstances, the decision of the Executive Board was as good as can be expected, but the community must continue to exert pressure on councillors to ensure the bid for funding is made as forcibly as possible when the City Council’s budget is drafted later this year.

Author: Paul Hornby, Walton Cresent

Did you know?

Where the name Jericho comes from?

The name Jericho is probably taken from the parable of the Good Samaritan. Traditionally the name was given to places where travellers who arrived after the town gates had closed at sunset could find lodgings overnight.

Who owns the houses?

In Jericho in 2011, only 21% of households were owner occupiers. Instead, many more people rented their homes: 58% from private landlords and 20% from ‘social’ landlords, mostly the City Council.