Oxford City Council and Jesus College work together to ensure £36m Northgate House redevelopment has minimal impact on traders

Published: Friday, 1st March 2019

Oxford City Council and Jesus College have been working together to ensure the college's £36m redevelopment of Northgate House has the minimum impact on Covered Market and Market Street traders.

The development, on the corner of Cornmarket Street and Market Street, will be the largest physical transformation that the College has undergone since the 17th Century. The new Northgate House will open in 2021 – to coincide with the 450th anniversary of Jesus College.

Work will start on Sunday (3/3), with hoarding going up around a small section of perimeter wall to enable its demolition, and temporary fencing being installed along Market Street. The fencing, which will run from Cornmarket Street to Jesus College’s chapel, will be installed temporarily to enable the construction of more permanent hoarding in a contained and safe environment.

Oxford City Council has been working closely with Jesus College on the footprint of the hoardings, ensuring that they take up the minimal amount of space so that people can still access the Covered Market and Market Street traders.

To achieve this, the majority of the large vehicles involved in the demolition and construction work will be kept away from Market Street; instead, Cornmarket Street will be used. The hours of these vehicle movements will also be restricted to avoid rush hour traffic.

During the redevelopment, access and delivery arrangements for the Covered Market will remain unchanged, and there will be no change to the existing loading and parking provision outside the market.

Jesus College’s contractor will also provide a traffic marshal to monitor and manage traffic movements into the construction site during the work to keep the impact on traders to a minimum. There will also be on-going and regular meetings with stakeholder as the development progresses to minimise any impacts that may occur.

The City Council and Jesus College are also working together on the design for the hoardings, which, alongside promoting the project and the College’s history, will promote the Covered Market and other Market Street traders.

The new three-storey Northgate House, which will include a new gatehouse into the College facing onto Market Street and a new quad, will combine academic research and teaching facilities, student accommodation and new retail units. The old Northgate House, which was built in 1963, only contains retail premises.

The City Council has been working closely with Jesus College throughout the development of the project and, during the design stage, recommended smaller retail units on the ground floor of Cornmarket Street and Market Street to better complement the independent retail quarter around Oxford Covered Market.

As part of the project, Jesus College will improve the public realm in Market Street between Cornmarket Street and the Covered Market service yard. The College will also provide the City Council with developer contributions to continue this work further along Market Street.

The City Council has also secured £200,000 from the Government to install electric vehicle charging points for Covered Market traders along Market Street.                                       

This work, alongside the new shops and the lowering of the walls along Market Street to better show off Jesus College, will open up and significantly improve the public realm in Market Street.

The City Council is drawing up plans for how best to use the developer and Government funding to improve Market Street, and create a more welcoming entrance to Oxford Covered Market.

The new Northgate House will provide new rooms for 68 students to help the University of Oxford achieve its goal of growing postgraduate student numbers.

One of the hopes with the redevelopment is that, by enabling more undergraduates and postgraduates to live in Cornmarket Street, it will provide a more vibrant community in the city centre – and more shoppers for places like the Covered Market. The City Council’s emerging Local Plan aims to enable more housing to be built in the city centre between now and 2036.

The new building will also serve as an open and collaborative space, helping Jesus College to develop its outreach and access programmes and open up the College to the wider community. It will also feature a Digital Hub that will introduce cutting-edge technique to help academics and researchers exchange information and knowledge.

The Northgate House redevelopment plans were developed by MICA Architects in close collaboration with Jesus College. They were approved last summer by Oxford City Council.

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Board Member for Culture and the City Centre, said: “Jesus College’s redevelopment of Northgate House is more than once in a generation – it is once in a century.

“The project will expand the independent retail quarter around the Covered Market, will bring a modern and iconic new building to the heart of the city, will create a new city centre community, and will help secure the future of an Oxford institution.

“We are delighted to have been able to work so closely with Jesus College on the redevelopment plans to minimise any impact on Covered Market and Market Street traders, and, in the longer term, create new community space in and a striking new entrance to Market Street.”

Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College, said: “The new development is an exciting milestone in the history of the College, and will ensure that we remain at the forefront of academic excellence while making the College more open and integrated.

“New retail spaces on the ground floor will help regenerate the city centre, and access via Market Street will help bring the College closer to the local community. We see this as an opportunity not just to embrace the future of learning at Jesus College, but to help improve and enhance the Cornmarket area of Oxford.”