OxWED managing director Kevin Minns has written an open letter to those who contributed to the public consultation on the Oxpens development in July.

The plans, revealed last month, show 650,000 sq ft of workspace, new hotels, around 300 homes and new public areas, including an amphitheatre at the 15-acre central Oxford site.

OxWED, which is a joint venture between Oxford City Council and Nuffield College held exhibitions, site tours and community events to publicise its plans for a new quarter of the city which could provide 3,000 new jobs.

Mr Minns’ letter states:

Dear All

Thank you for sharing your views on Oxpens – now it’s time to focus.

Regenerating Oxpens is a major opportunity for Oxford.  It really is one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on in more than 30 years in the industry. 

So I’m writing to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed their time, views and ideas to our public consultation during July.   

The ambition people have for this area is plain to see.  It’s coming over loud and clear that Oxpens really needs to contribute something distinctive and sustainable that supports the city, providing somewhere accessible and inclusive, for all ages.

We’ve learned a lot from listening to everyone’s ideas and suggestions.  This open and public conversation has highlighted many important themes that we can now take forward into the design process alongside our technical knowledge and understanding of the site.

There is much for us to consider, from addressing flood management to enhancing biodiversity; from ensuring easy access to and across the site, to creating the most attractive new public space we can; from realising a new and thriving mixed-use quarter for Oxford to achieving the right blend of homes; and from managing a car-free environment to curating exciting and memorable events in the proposed amphitheatre that everyone can enjoy.

What happens next?

Our first task is to review and analyse the hundreds of diverse comments we’ve received.  We’ll report the findings of the consultation on the website later in August.

Secondly, we’ll look to use and incorporate those suggestions that can realistically inform the next stage of design development and contribute to a more specific set of proposals.  We hope that many of them will. 

And for those ideas that can’t, or are outside OxWED’s control or remit, we’ll pass what people have said to other agencies or organisations, such as the city or county council.

Once we’ve done that, we’ll be back.  We’ll return in the Autumn with a next phase of consultation and to share our more advanced designs, inviting further feedback and explaining what’s changed and why.

We’ll be very keen to know if people think we’re heading in the right direction and successfully picking up on the ideas and issues they’ve raised during our July consultation.  So it’s about focusing in and getting the details right.

After that, our target is to submit a planning application early next year, informed by our further consultation and shaped by even more design refinement.

Where’s this all this taking us? 

For the OxWED partners and our design team, this is all about grasping the huge untapped potential of the Oxpens land and transforming it into a new quarter for Oxford.  Something that demonstrably improves the city by helping Oxford to address its challenges and to create a special new place.

We’re grateful to everyone for their contributions so far.  If you haven’t yet got involved, do please take the opportunity.  Visit our website to stay in touch with what happens next, see a short film we’ve made about Oxpens and our July consultation, and play a part in our Autumn consultation if you can.

Our conviction to make Oxpens a great place remains rock solid.  We’re determined to get this right for the city, for the future users and visitors of all ages, for our residents and neighbours, and above all, so we can be proud of creating a great new place with and for the community.

Yours faithfully

Kevin Minns, managing director, OxWED

 OxWED has also produced a video from the consultation events.

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1O1-OFdoFc

Thames Tap will stay on top of developments as they unfold on the Oxpens scheme. Look out for further updates on this hugely significant project.

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