Letter: New trees for old

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Mike Woodin indulges in some flights of fancy with regard to last week's eviction of illegal occupiers of a site by Oxford railway station, recently purchased by the University to build its proposed Said Business School (Podium, 16 September).

It is true that the Under Sheriff and his men were forced to cut down a handful of trees as part of this eviction, but this was entirely because the protesters had secured themselves to the trees, and made it plain they would continue to do so, and to reoccupy the buildings, as long as the trees remained. The University did not want the trees cut down, as in no way did they affect our plans for the new Business School.

If our plans are approved, we will be planting 30 new mature trees at a cost of pounds 1,000 each along the road frontage and on the station forecourt area, and we are confident that this area of Oxford will be much "greener" than it has ever been. This is again made possible through the generosity of Mr Wafic Said.

Far from demolishing the old Victorian London Midland Station, the University has taken enormous pains to secure the future of this listed building, which it was bound to move as a condition of developing the site. It will be dismantled, re-erected and refurbished at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton, with the full approval of English Heritage and the Secretary of State for the Environment.

DAVID R HOLMES

Registrar

University of Oxford

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