The stand out projects and stand out people behind Oxfordshire’s property success will be recognised in the county’s third annual industry awards programme.

The Oxfordshire Property Awards will be the finale to a day of walks, talks, awards and music (OxPropFest) to be held at Keble College on April 2. Almost 100 industry professionals attended last week’s launch at the striking new Oxford Works area at Oxford Business Park.

One of the team of judges, Hannah Smart, director of Edge Urban Design, urged delegates to consider entering. She told the meeting: “We are looking for diversity. We are always supporting females in the construction industry, we are looking for something different, we are looking for people who stand out and projects that stand out – to celebrate the best of Oxfordshire.

“We talked before about how Oxfordshire is all about the balance between innovation and conservation and that’s really important as we move forward.”

Matthew Battle, managing director of UK Property Forums, explained that the awards programme has been updated but kept to a maximum of nine categories:

* Award for Best Property Agent/Advisor
* Award for Best Law Firm
* Award for Best Planning Consultancy – NEW in 2020
* Award for Best Residential Development
* Award for Best Commercial Development – NEW in 2020
* Award for Best Interior (Cool & Funky) Space
* Award for Project of the Year
* Award for Young Property Person of the Year
* Award for Property Leader of the Year

BBC arts editor Will Gompertz will host the evening.

Mr Battle said there will be an end-of-day celebration in the College Bar,  following a well-supported after-party session at the 2019 event.

He described the choice of two walks which kick off the day of events. One explores the Keble Quarter with Bidwells while the other involves a coach trip to The Street at Graven Hill which has been featured on the Channel 4 Grand Designs programme. That tour will be led by Adrian James Architects.

UK Property Forums consultant Hugh Blaza explained the talks section of OxPropFest which start with The Power of Partnership, the most important being the Oxford University and Legal & General tie up to fund staff and student accommodation along with new commercial space.

The second period focuses on regeneration, largely the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, looking specifically at what is happening to bring it to fruition.

The third session will look at transport and the pioneering developments in Oxfordshire from autonomous vehicles to zero carbon houses.

The final session will look at the city as a tourist destination with Hayley Beer-Gamage, chief executive of Experience Oxfordshire, as speaker.

The launch event, held last Thursday, also heard from Richard Byard, director of business development for OxLEP, who described how OxPropFest helped the county to shout about its success. 

“We have been guilty of hiding our success, hiding our light under a bushel and we’ve not championed and vocalised it as much as we should,” he said.

Richard Venables, director at VSL and Partners, introduced the event’s chosen charity, Access Sport.

Earlier, Dan Williams, development director for Oxford Business Park landlord Arlington, pointed to the success it has become. The park, on the doorstep of the city centre, has long soaked up demand from there but major investment had come in 2017 when Arlington was acquired by TPG.

Oxford Works, offering co-working and meeting/function space and Oxford Factory cafe next door, now provides an amenity offer and helped attract tenants.

Last year take up on the park totalled 169,000 sq ft and Mr Williams revealed a further 12,000 sq ft is currently under offer. A Park Life app enables occupiers’ staff to access amenities and services.  

Such is the success of the park, the first speculative buildings since 2006 are in the pipeline – a total of 90,000 sq ft.

The prize draw was won by John Morrison, partner for real estate and litigation at Penningtons Manches Cooper.

The deadline for entries for the awards is 6pm on Friday, February 21.

Visit: or download the entry pack at

* Image:
Top (l-r): Richard Venables, Hannah Smart, Richard Byard, Dan Williams, Matthew Battle, John Morrison, Hugh Blaza. 
Below: A general view of the event.

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