Central Conservation Area Appraisal adopted

Published: Friday, 17th November 2023

Oxford City Council’s cabinet has agreed the adoption of the Central (City and University) Conservation Area Appraisal (CCAA).

The CCAA was prepared in line with the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and guidance from Historic England. It encompasses a detailed examination of Oxford's historic centre, designated as a conservation area in 1971. The appraisal highlights the area's extraordinary architectural and historical significance.  

The primary goal of the appraisal is to manage change positively, ensuring that the character and integrity of this heritage-rich area are maintained. 

Adopting the CCAA enables the council to guide future developments within the conservation area thoughtfully and sensitively. The appraisal outlines specific guidance and design advice to ensure new buildings and alterations respect and enhance the area's character. 

The CCAA now forms part of the evidence base for planning policies and will be a material consideration in deciding planning applications. 

The appraisal's development included extensive consultation with residents, local institutions like the University of Oxford, ward councillors and other key stakeholders. 


“Oxford's city centre is the most densely packed with historic buildings of all our 18 conservation areas. There are so many layers of history here and it has multiple different character zones ranging from the university science area to the medieval Oxford Castle. It contains some of Europe’s finest buildings and its blend of history, architecture, and landscape forms a unique tapestry. 

“The CCAA is a guide for future development in the city centre. It will be used by the council to assess planning applications and it underscores our commitment to the protection of the unique historical and architectural identity of Oxford's heart.”

Councillor Louise Upton, cabinet member for planning and healthier communities