An Assessment of the Oxford View Cones- consultation on the draft document

The ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford are an internationally recognised symbol of the city and its renowned University.  The opportunity to walk into and through Oxford’s countryside setting and look back on the city’s domes, towers and spires from the green valley or hillsides is valued by its residents and visitors as a rich inheritance that should be carefully managed for future generations to enjoy.

In 1962 the City Architect and Planning Officer observed that siting high buildings in Oxford presents particular challenges because of this unique skyline, which can be viewed as a whole from the surrounding hills and valleys (City of Oxford, 1962).  These observations led to the establishment of high buildings and view cone policies, which have served the city for fifty years in successive development plans.  Policies HE9 and HE.10 in the Oxford Local Plan 2001-2016 aim to protect the character of the skyline and manage the characteristics of Oxford’s view cones.  The skyline’s importance is also recognised in other planning policy documents including the adopted Core Strategy Policy CS18, which states that: “Views of the skyline of the historic centre will be protected”.

In light of the continuing challenges of developing within the city the Assessment of the Oxford View Cones has been prepared to provide an evidence base that examines the significance of each of the 10 Oxford View Cones as a part of Oxford’s heritage.  Oxford City Council, Oxford Preservation Trust and English Heritage have worked in collaboration to produce this Assessment.  The aim of the Assessment is to describe and evaluate the heritage significance of the View Cones using a robust methodology in order to better understand how they can be most effectively managed in the future.

The study first establishes a sound assessment methodology.  This is applied to help define the key characteristics and heritage values of the ten example views defined in the Local Plan as the View Cones.  The descriptions of the view cones and summaries of the key characteristics of each view will contribute to the evidence base that will inform future development management policy and decisions.  This Assessment seeks to provide the decision-maker with evidence to inform design development and help assess the potential impact of new development proposals on the view cones. The Views assessment has potentially wider application.  It will help to enhance understanding and enjoyment of the heritage of Oxford.  The defined view cones form a representational sample of views of Oxford in its landscape setting but the study provides a methodology of view assessment that can be applied to other views of the city and indeed in other towns and cities.

This consultation has now closed.


  • Opened
    13 Jun 2014 at 10:00
  • Closed
    25 Jul 2014 at 23:59
  • Response Published
    10 Nov 2014


Area Covered Barton And Sandhills, Blackbird Leys, Carfax, Churchill, Cowley, Cowley Marsh, Headington, Headington Hill And Northway, Hinksey Park, Holywell, Iffley Fields, Jericho And Osney, Littlemore, Lye Valley, Marston, North, Northfield Brook, Quarry And Risinghurst, Rose Hill And Iffley, St Clement's, St Margaret's, St Mary's, Summertown, Wolvercote
Who we are consulting Area Committees/Forums, City Councillors, Community Groups, General Public, Resident Groups
Who we are consulting (others)
Who we are consulting (committees)
Methods Used Online Consultations
Contact Details

Nick Worlledge, Heritage Team Leader / 01865 252147