Oxpens planning applications submitted for new homes, jobs, hotel & public space


Oxpens planning applications submitted for new homes, jobs, hotel and riverside public space
Oxpens planning applications submitted for new homes, jobs, a hotel and riverside public space

OXWED LLP, the joint venture between Nuffield College and Oxford City Council, has submitted planning applications for the regeneration of the Oxpens site.

In line with the recently adopted Supplementary Planning Document for Oxford’s West End, the proposals by OXWED will transform a neglected part of the city into a vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood.

The scheme will turn an under-utilised 15-acre brownfield site into an extension of the city centre – a new residential, commercial and leisure quarter for Oxford.

Oxpens will help Oxford address its challenges on housing by delivering much-needed new housing (50 per cent of which will be affordable) and student accommodation and create opportunities to grow the economy with high-quality office and laboratory space and a new hotel.

The development will be stitched into Oxford with new and improved walking and cycling routes.

Fundamental to the design is a new and accessible high-quality public realm for all to enjoy, with the proposals expanding the existing Oxpens Meadow, ‘opening up the riverside’ and adding a new public amphitheatre for use as an event space.

The submission of the planning applications follows several stages of consultation with the public and key local stakeholders that have helped to inform the final proposals.

Most recently, the masterplan was updated to increase the number of homes and incorporate the revised position of the planned Oxpens River Bridge. The development is planned to be largely car free, instead offering extensive public transport and active travel links.

OXWED wants to thank everyone who has contributed to the consultation. All the feedback received on the plans was taken into consideration to produce this final regeneration proposal, estimated to contribute up to £270 million annually to Oxford’s economy, with a £24 million yearly boost in spending to local businesses.  

The full response to the consultation feedback can be found in the Statement of Community Engagement submitted along with the planning application.

The plans, which have been carefully developed by an expert professional team and subject to significant public consultation, are consistent with the West End and Osney Mead Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which sets out Oxford City Council’s vision for the West End, as well as the Council’s Economic and City Centre strategies.

Kevin Minns, Managing Director at OXWED, said: “This is an incredible milestone both for the scheme and for the future of Oxford’s West End. This area of Oxford, with its rich social history of industry and community, has been overlooked and under-appreciated for too long but now has the capacity to really deliver for the people of Oxford. 

“New homes, jobs, commercial space, a public square with shops and community amenities, an amphitheatre and new green spaces all just moments from the train station in Oxfordshire’s most sustainable location. We look forward to bringing our vision and ambition for this regeneration to life.”

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery, said: “The Oxpens site has long been identified as a huge opportunity to create a city centre quarter that’s inclusive, vibrant, sustainable and accessible for all. 

“This masterplan provides a route for making that vision a reality. I want to thank everyone who has played a part in developing and giving feedback on the proposals, helping to hone and improve the plans.”

The planning submissions include an outline planning application with an illustrative masterplan, parameter plans and supporting design code, together with a detailed planning application for enabling works to prepare the site for development.

Subject to planning permissions, OXWED will then look to join forces with a development partner to bring the ambitious proposals to life, commencing later in 2023.

Now that the applications have been submitted and validated, Oxford City Council, as Local Planning Authority, has opened its own consultation on the proposals before reaching a decision. This consultation runs until 15 February.

The applications can be viewed and commented on at the Oxford City Council planning portal with reference number: 22/02954/OUT (for the outline application) and 22/02955/FUL (for the detailed enabling works application).

More from The Oxford Magazine