Housebuilder Crest Nicholson has acquired Oxford Brookes University’s Wheatley Campus for a scheme of 500 homes.

The 53-acre site has outline consent for a mix of two, three, four and five bedroom houses, along with some apartments. There are also community facilities planned, such as public open space, a sports pavilion, bowling green and a cricket pitch.

Wheatley, a few miles from Oxford city centre, is known for its independent shops, pubs and restaurants and connects to London via the M40.

Nicholas Daruwalla, land director at Crest Nicholson South, said: “This is a key purchase for Crest Nicholson, given the site’s prime location and scale.

“It is in close proximity to major employment, retail, leisure, and education hubs, making it a highly desirable location. These characteristics, coupled with the area comprising high levels of housing demand and low levels of supply, make this deal an important purchase for the business.

“We are pleased to be working with Oxford Brookes University to bring this development to fruition and, with this deal, we will provide a number of much needed homes, including affordable housing, to help meet local demand.

“At Crest Nicholson, we invest in placemaking, aiming to deliver attractive homes, amenities and open green space to improve the quality of life for residents, helping to build future proof communities to be proud of.”

Jerry Woods, director of estates & campus services at Oxford Brookes University, said: “We’re pleased to have worked with Crest Nicholson and our real estate advisers CBRE on this sale which will facilitate the move of our remaining activity from the Wheatley Campus to new, state-of-the-art facilities at our Headington campus.

“The Wheatley site will provide a high-quality residential environment, offering an assortment of housing types to meet local needs. Oxford Brookes has been proud to call the Wheatley Campus home for close to fifty years and the University will continue to engage with local groups and individuals while we remain on the site over the next 18 months.”

CBRE advised the university on the transaction. Executive director Jasper Masters said: “The Wheatley sale represents the largest single family housing site to have exchanged in the UK since last September’s mini-Budget.

“A sale of this nature will provide the development land market with a strong sense of optimism. As an Oxford Brookes alumnus, I’m really proud to have played a part in the Campus’ next chapter and look forward to seeing Crest Nicholson’s vision for the site being realised.”

Crest Nicholson hope to begin works at the end of 2024 with the first completions expected in Autumn 2025.

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