The updated proposals for an improved scheme for more homes, jobs, riverside public space and hotel for Oxpens will go on show to the public as it takes the next step towards submission of a planning application.
The opportunity to transform a neglected part of Oxford into an exciting mixed-use riverside neighbourhood designed around new public spaces is taking another significant step forward.
With a planning application for the Oxpens area due for submission later in the autumn, the updated proposals for Oxpens will go on show to the public at Oxford Town Hall on Thursday, 22 September.
The proposed Oxpens scheme is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city, transforming this under-used brownfield site and expanding the city centre.
It will deliver much-needed new homes (50% of which will be affordable), jobs, student accommodation, a hotel, and a major new public realm, alongside new and improved walking and cycling routes.
Following earlier consultation, the updated masterplan has increased the number of homes and reduced the size of the hotel. It also now incorporates the proposed position of the Oxpens River Bridge.
It is estimated that the scheme will contribute up to £280 million annually to Oxford’s economy, spending up to £24 million a year with local businesses. With extensive public transport, cycle and pedestrian links close by, the largely car-free Oxpens development aspires to become the most sustainable residential and employment location in Oxfordshire.
The updated plans will be on display in the Town Hall and on the project website so that people can see how the scheme has evolved in line with the continued discussions with the local planning authority and through feedback from the two public consultations held in 2021.
OXWED, the development team behind the proposals, will then submit a planning application to Oxford City Council.
The wider Oxpens site is the largest housing allocation in the Oxford Local Plan. Alongside other allocated sites in the local plan and those of Oxford’s neighbouring districts, it is a critical component in addressing the city’s need for more housing.
The scheme also delivers a significant amount of commercial space, addressing the shortage of high-quality offices and labs in the city centre, thereby meeting another key policy requirement for the site.
The current proposals represent only the first phase of delivery at Oxpens and focus on land in OXWED’s ownership. It is expected that the remainder of the allocated site will come forward in future years.
The proposals also complement the emerging 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.
The Oxpens planning application is for a masterplan application and will be submitted later this autumn. Subject to planning permission, OXWED will bring on a development partner to take the scheme forward to detailed design and construction.
OXWED LLP (‘OXWED’) is a joint venture between Oxford City Council and Nuffield College and owns the majority of the land allocated for redevelopment under the Oxford Local Plan on the west side of Oxpens Road.
Anyone wanting to see the plans can attend in person at the Assembly Room, Oxford Town Hall, St Aldates, OX1 1BX on Thursday, 22 September, from 3.00pm to 8.00pm.
Members of the OXWED team will be hosting the exhibition and can provide further details on how the scheme has evolved and what will happen next.
The exhibition panels displayed in the Town Hall will be added to the Oxpens website on 22 September, so anyone unable to attend in person or who would prefer to do so can view the information online.
“Oxpens is central to the vision for the West End and the city as a whole as we look to the future and work hard to make Oxford a fair, inclusive, successful and sustainable place for all.
“The proposals have benefitted from some really good engagement and, as they move now towards a formal application, this is an important opportunity for people to see how the scheme has evolved.”
—Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery at Oxford City Council
“This is a really exciting time for everyone involved with the project, and we’re delighted to be presenting this updated scheme that will transform this under-used and, in some ways, overlooked site into a genuine asset for the people of Oxford.
“We’re on the cusp of being able to create a vibrant new part of the city, minutes from the railway station, with new homes, workspaces and a hotel. We’re particularly proud of the new public square, amphitheatre and new green spaces that anyone will be able to use and the way they connect with the much-loved Oxpens Meadow.
“The feedback we had from last year’s consultations has been tremendously helpful and fed into a refined set of proposals that are new and better. So before we submit the Oxpens planning application, we’re putting the plans on show and letting everyone know about what’s changed and what happens next.”
—Kevin Minns, Managing Director at OXWED
“I am delighted that after many months of very hard work on the part of OXWED’s professional team, we are now approaching the point of submitting a planning application for the Oxpens site.
“The joint venture’s ambition has been to produce a scheme of outstanding quality which will bring social and economic benefits to the city while also being commercially deliverable, and the work of the LLP in this respect has been driven by the long-term interests which the two partners have in supporting the enduring success of Oxford in general and the West End of the city in particular.”
—Sir Andrew Dilnot, Warden of Nuffield College