Councillors have approved a development brief which will guide the future redevelopment of Botley Road Retail Park in Oxford.

The 9.8-hectare park, built in the 1980s and 1990s around a mile from the city centre, is under fragmented ownership and planning permission has already been approved to redevelop two of the units for R&D use.

Now the development brief has been produced to guide further applications which the council says are likely, due to the reduced demand for retail and the increased demand for R&D.

Covid and the Government’s use class changes which, through Class E, allow retail buildings to be converted to offices without planning permission, had increased the likelihood of more employment use at the park. Several of the units are currently empty.

Cllr Susan Brown, leader of the council, told the October 19 meeting of Oxford City Council’s cabinet: “I would like to welcome this document. It’s helpful, at a time when there’s clearly a real change in the way that this area is being used, to set out the policies that do apply and the aspirations for that area, which, I hope, will include a reduction in car parking and therefore car traffic – and an increase in cycle parking.

“Both of those things are in existing planning policies and I think they will have a positive impact on the Botley Road area.”

Councillors were told the development brief is a technical advice document and did not change policy. Policy, councillors heard, can be changed at the forthcoming Local Plan consultation.

They were also informed by officers that residential was not possible on the site because of flooding.

The development brief can be seen here.

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