ABOUT JERICHO - CONSERVATION

Jericho to be a conservation area

Cranham street, showing the distinctive Gothic windows.
Cranham street, showing the distinctive Gothic windows.
Image:Peter Stalker

Posted - June 03, 2009

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 Crescent

Did you know?

About the church bells?

Originally the Church only had the single ‘Barney’s Bell’. In 1890, when the clock was installed, it was decided to add a set of tubular bells to ring the chimes and the hour strike, as well as a tune or ‘carillon’. The are driven by an elaborate mechanical contraption.

The history of the Phoenix?

There has been a cinema here since 1913. Orginally it the ‘North Oxford Kinema’, since when it has passed through many hands and names, including the Scala, the New Scala, the Studios 1 and 2, Studio X (a club showing soft porn) and finally in 1977 the Phoenix.