Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Animal activists target Mace over Oxford job

NEWS - Fanatics focus on Oxford University contractor even though it says it pulled out of lab in 2004

CONSTRUCTION manager Mace is the latest firm to be targeted by animal rights activists in their campaign to uncover contractors working on Oxford University's controversial animal research centre.

The Speak lobbying group, which is spearheading the campaign against the new £18 million centre, has been passed two letters detailing Mace's involvement in the project.

The letters, seen by Construction News, date from March 2004 and outline Mace's estimates of waste provision for the South Parks Road scheme.

The second letter says: 'The building is of a very sensitive use and the client is very concerned about too many people being aware of the use and details of the building.' Speak campaign spokesman Robert Cogswell said: 'We are looking very carefully at Mace's involvement in this project as the company has a track record of working with Oxford University.

'If we establish their continued involvement in the project we will act within the law to persuade them to withdraw.' Mace is one of several firms, along with Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing O'Rourke, benefiting from the university's estimated £100 million annual capital spend.

It is project managing the £40 million redevelopment of the university's Ashmolean Museum. Its contracting arm, Mace Plus, is working on a new £5 million Classical & Byzantine Studies Centre and a £35 million cancer research base.

The company also project managed the university's social sciences centre, designed by Foster & Partners.

Mace chief executive Stephen Pycroft denied any involvement in the scheme since Montpellier subsidiary Walter Lilley abandoned it nearly two years ago due to threats to its shareholders.

Mr Pycroft said: 'Oxford University is an important client to us and we were involved in this scheme, but we pulled out of it when Montpellier left the project back in 2004 because we decided it wasn't worth the hassle.' Activists have also tracked down the accommodation of 40 staff working on the scheme to the Fire Services College in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire.

Following two protests last week, Oxford University's lawyers have made an application to extend the injunction to cover the college. It will be heard in the High Court tomorrow (Friday).