“It’s time to open up Oxpens”: OxWED invites ideas and feedback from the community on its emerging proposals – public consultation taking place this month

Published: Wednesday, 7th July 2021

Press release on behalf of OxWED

The opportunity for Oxpens to be a ‘new quarter’ for Oxford and emerging ideas for how that could happen will be put on show at consultation events this July.

OxWED, the joint venture between Oxford City Council and Nuffield College, will be sharing its emerging thinking and proposals through a combination of public exhibitions, site tours, a dedicated consultation website, and community briefings.

The 15-acre site nestled between Oxpens Road and the river has the potential to deliver both homes and new employment/business space for the city, opening up the riverside and creating improved public space and a stunning new amphitheatre – the ‘Oxpens Amphitheatre’.

The ambition for Oxpens is to create an exciting mixed-use neighbourhood for the city in a highly sustainable location with a range of commercial and residential buildings that are connected by high quality public space and which make the most of the site’s relationship with the river.

It includes the potential for: up to 3,000 jobs, new public space, approximately 300 new residential dwellings, 650,000 sq ft of offices and labs, and a new hotel or pair of hotels with approximately 350 bedrooms.

It is also part of the ambitions for wider-scale regeneration, investment and improvement of the West End of the city.

“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.”

Kevin Minns, Managing Director at OxWED

The community and stakeholders can get involved by:

  • Attending the ‘drop in’ public exhibitions taking place in the Westgate Centre (Leiden Square by John Lewis) on Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 July all between 10.00am and 3.00pm
  • Signing up for escorted tours of the Oxpens site taking place on Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 July
  • 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 13 July (4.30-6.30pm) or St Ebbes CoE Primary School, Whitehouse Road on Wednesday 14 July (6.30-8.30pm)

Please see the full schedule for events with times on the accompanying consultation leaflet – and note that pre-booking is required for specific events/tours on account of Covid and capacity limits.

Booking is via eventbrite – details and links at www.oxpensoxford.uk

OxWED is working with masterplan architects Hawkins Brown, landscape architects Gillespies and a team of urban design specialists to prepare an indicative masterplan for the Oxpens site.

Making the Oxpens Meadows a more accessible and attractive space is a core principle within the emerging masterplan. Much-improved walking and cycling links, helped by the new ‘Osney Bridge’ which is scheduled to connect through Oxpens to Osney Mead, will make this new quarter easy to get to and better connected.

The emerging ideas are also based on designing for sustainability, with a strong focus on energy and resource efficiency to help address climate change. Careful attention is being paid to water management and how to integrate the proposed development into the riverside and meadows, recognising the role the meadows play within the flood plain.

The ambition is to submit an outline planning application in 2022.

“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.”

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery

“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.”

Sir Andrew Dilnot, warden of Nuffield College

The closing date for submitting responses to this consultation is 31 July 2021.

Feedback from the consultation will be used to shape the emerging masterplan designs. Additional consultation will then follow so that the community and stakeholders can comment on and input to more detailed proposals before the planning application is prepared and submitted next year.