Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 18:21 UK

Bodleian Library expansion denied

Computer-generated image of the new building
Critics say the building would ruin the view of Oxford

A public inquiry has ruled against Oxford University's plans for its world-famous Bodleian Library.

The university, which hoped to build a 29m depository at Osney Mead to house eight million books, said the ruling was a "great disappointment".

The project was approved by councillors in a narrow vote last year, but it was put on hold when critics said the building would ruin Oxford's skyline.

Councillors shelved the plans in a new vote, sparking the university's appeal.

Our valuable books and archives in the New Bodleian remain at risk
Dr Sarah Thomas

Dr Sarah Thomas, director of Oxford University Libraries Services, said: "This is obviously a great disappointment, but the pragmatic approach is to move on.

"Tough decisions will need to be taken as we absorb the implications of this decision.

"The library has suffered from over-congestion in unsafe conditions for years because of our inadequate storage.

"The uncertainty over the planning situation has led to considerable expense in outsourcing collection storage, and our valuable books and archives in the New Bodleian remain at risk."

The library, which has a copy of almost every book printed, is full and the university has said it needs room to expand.

An extra 5,000 books are added to its catalogue each week.

'Dreaming spires'

The Bodleian is the main research library for the University of Oxford and occupies several sites around the city.

Its treasures include 10,000 medieval manuscripts, the papers of six prime ministers and the manuscripts of literary classics such as The Wind in the Willows.

Critics of the planned building have said the city's famous "dreaming spires" skyline would be ruined.

They also argue its proposed location would harm a "sensitive" flood plain in the green belt area around Oxford.

Councillor Colin Cook, Oxford's executive member for city development, said: "Following the decision by the planning inspectorate, the council will continue to work with the university to meet their aspiration for a much-needed book depository on another, more suitable, site."

Cash opens up literary treasures
07 Mar 08 |  England
Appeal after Bodleian bid fails
28 Dec 07 |  Oxfordshire
New Bodleian Library plan fails
19 Nov 07 |  Oxfordshire
New 29m Bodleian Library halted
02 Oct 07 |  Oxfordshire
Library 'will ruin spires view'
19 Sep 07 |  Oxfordshire

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific