In a series of emailed questions to Richard Dudding, Director for Environment & Economy at Oxfordshire County Council, I attempted to ascertain whether the fencing was temporary or permanent, and whether, after the redevelopment of the site is complete, the public will have access to the top of the mound. I am yet to receive a reply, so if anyone else wants to try, his contact details are below.
The Oxfordshire County Council website states that, "The whole site and many of the buildings will be open to the public." But does "the whole site" include the mound? I also asked about whether the redevelopment includes provision for better access to what is an important historical and cultural landmark in the heart of Oxford.
The mound was used as a symbolic landmark in two recent local actions – the day of protest against war in Iraq in October 2002 and a similar protest by Oxford school students in March 2003.
Since the fencing was erected, a viewing platform has been installed on the north east side of the mound (access from a gate in New Road) This allows members of the public to see the archaeological dig which is continuing following the discovery of skeletons on the site, although after several viewing visits, I am yet to see much evidence of much happening.
Contact details for Richard Dudding - Director for Environment & Economy
Tel: 01865 815827 Fax: 01865 815085