Consultation starts on Tuesday (July 13) over plans for 650,000 sq ft of workspace, new hotels, around 300 homes and new public areas, including an amphitheatre, in central Oxford.
OxWED, the joint venture between Oxford City Council and Nuffield College which is driving the 15-acre Oxpens scheme, will unveil its initial proposals with exhibitions, site tours and community events.
The site sits between Oxpens Road and the River Thames and OxWED wants to open the riverside to help create what it calls ‘a striking new quarter’ of the city.
Up to 3,000 new jobs could be created in the development, part of the ambitions for wider-scale regeneration of the West End of the city.
Kevin Minns, managing director of OxWED, said: “We want Oxpens to be a vibrant and exciting new quarter for Oxford, which contributes in many different ways to the city and the people who live and work here.
“It’s hidden away at the moment and does little to benefit the community. So it’s time to open up the conversation so that, in turn, we can open up the site in the best possible way.
“We’re sharing our emerging ideas and what we’re asking for is feedback on our indicative proposals and views from the community to help us shape the scheme as we take it forward.”
OxWED is working with masterplan architect Hawkins Brown, landscape architect, Gillespies, and a team of urban design specialists to prepare an indicative masterplan.
Making the Oxpens Meadows more accessible and attractive is a core principle. Improved walking and cycling links, aided by the new Osney Bridge which is scheduled to connect Oxpens to Osney Mead, will help integrate the new quarter.
The proposals are based on designing for sustainability with a strong focus on energy and resource efficiency.
Attention is being paid to water management and how to integrate the proposed development into the riverside and meadows.
The scheme is likely to include around 350 hotel rooms in either one or two hotels.
The team hopes to submit an outline planning application for the Oxpens scheme in 2022.
Cllr Alex Hollingsworth, Oxford City Council’s cabinet member for planning and housing delivery, said: “Oxpens is a key regeneration site which sits at the heart of our wider ambition to develop a world class space for research, development and innovation – one that will create sustainable jobs for the future of our city.
“This means it’s important everyone can understand the emerging thinking and participate in the design process. From office space and new homes to better public space, from the highest standards of sustainability to enhanced connections across the city, it’s vital that we get these aspects of Oxpens right. Hearing from the community will help with that process.”
Sir Andrew Dilnot, warden of Nuffield College, said: “Oxpens has the potential to support Oxford’s long-term economic growth and to provide new housing and public spaces for the city.
“It is exciting to have reached this stage of the design process for the site and now to be in a position to invite views from the people who live and work and spend time in the city so that we can understand what people most want to see achieved on the site.
“We hope in turn that these conversations and this consultation will help to make the proposals even better.”
Members of the public are encouraged to take part by:
- Attending the drop-in public exhibitions taking place in the Westgate Centre (Leiden Square by John Lewis) on Tuesday, July 13, Wednesday, July 14 and Thursday, July 15 – all between 10am and 3pm
- Signing up for tours of the Oxpens site which take place on Tuesday, July 13, Wednesday, July 14 and Thursday, July 15.
- Visiting the consultation website at www.oxpensoxford.uk and completing the feedback form
- Joining community events at West Oxford Community Centre, Botley Road on Tuesday, July 13 (4.30pm-6.30pm) or St Ebbes CoE Primary School, Whitehouse Road on Wednesday, July 14 (6.30pm-8.30pm).
Pre-booking, via the website, is required for events/tours. Responses can also be made via the website (deadline, July 31).
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