- Arts & Literature
- Science & Technology
By Alice Lighton
Lincoln College have submitted a planning application to the city council for the potential conversion of the Turl Tavern on High Street into college facilities.
The Turl will be the fifth Oxford pub to close in three years.
The Turl’s lease expired in 2005 and will not be renewed by the lease-holders, Whitbread, who run the pub under the Beefeater brand. Although managed by the same tenant, the redevelopment does not affect nearby pub The Mitre, which will remain as a public bar.
Lincoln has owned both sites since 1467, and since the 1960s Lincoln students have lived in accommodation on floors above both pubs.
In a statement released by the College, Bursar Tim Knowles said the building conversion would allow Lincoln superior facilities.
“The area currently occupied by the Turl Tavern will provide teaching and social spaces for the college, and also allow the construction of much-needed disabled access and a new fire escape to the College’s student rooms above,” he said.
College officials are keen to stress that the Turl site will not be given a modern makeover. Instead, it is hoped that the site can “return to its original historic configuration”.
Knowles said the refurbishment will “allow the historic features of the Turl’s twentieth century Arts and Crafts style features to be sensitively restored.” The large service area in front of the Turl’s entrance is hoped to be converted into a new courtyard.
Knowles added that the conversion will ensure the “historic character of the Turl Tavern will be respected and celebrated”.
An anonymous comment submitted to the Oxford Mail expressed anger that Lincoln did not consult public opinion before starting to work with their architects: “This shows a total lack of respect for the regulars and tourists who love the place. I, like many other ‘genuine Oxfordians’, are sick to the teeth of the power the university and its college have in OUR city. Why don’t local people ever get a say in the decisions made by this outdated and ruthless establishment?”
But Lincoln students living above the Turl, in the corridor known among students as “Death Row”, are pleased that the College’s construction plans will improve life on the notorious staircase.
Second-year, Mark Brakel, said that it would be a much quieter environment once the pub has been converted.
“Getting a room above the Turl Bar with a glass bottle bin emptied at 11pm, midnight and 6am daily is sub-optimal,” he said. “It is the Lady Gaga-based clean-up at 100 decibels that is a bit of a pain.”
Staff at the Turl declined to comment.