Have your say on the emerging Oxpens masterplan

Published: Thursday, 4th November 2021

OxWED invites views on updated plans to create a new quarter for Oxford – public consultation taking place this month.

Updated plans for a 15-acre ‘new quarter’ for Oxford at Oxpens will be set out in November and the Oxford community is being asked to contribute its views.

This will be the last major opportunity for people to have their say on this important project before the plans are finalised for the planning application submission in early 2022.

Following the earlier consultation on the scheme back in July, OxWED is now sharing more advanced plans which look to address comments from the community and statutory bodies. 

The wider community is being invited to give their further comment on this progress, either by attending public exhibitions happening between 11-13 November, or online at www.oxpensoxford.uk.

The feedback from this November consultation will assist the refinement of the masterplan for Oxpens, ahead of a planning application being made in the new year.

Oxpens will be an exciting and sustainable mixed-use neighbourhood, nestled between Oxpens Road and the river.  It will create distinctive and high-quality new public space within a diverse mix of central urban homes, workspace, hotels and restaurants, shops and cafes.  This will include the potential for c. 186 new apartments (93 affordable and 93 market), c. 230 student rooms, 500,000 sq ft of offices and labs with 3,000 jobs, and c. 370 hotel rooms.  The jobs created will be high quality and sustainable, being ideally placed close to both the train station and the University.

As a pedestrian and cycle-centric scheme, the new Oxpens neighbourhood will be built around the principles of connectivity and make key steps towards a low carbon future.  With the addition of the new ‘Oxpens River Bridge’, it will make the most of the site’s prime river-side position and provide new links to and from the city centre.  It will protect, extend and enhance the existing public space offered by Oxpens Meadows to provide more outdoor gathering space and a stunning new amphitheatre.

The central role of sustainability in the Oxpens development was strongly supported in the first phase of consultation, and the designs have been carefully progressed to promote biodiversity and to manage the Oxpens flood plain intelligently.  The new commercial buildings will be constructed to a ‘BREEAM excellent’ sustainability standard, as well as using heat pump technology, climate-friendly materials, and creating a largely car-free environment to ensure that at every level this new quarter is contributing to a zero carbon future.

“Oxpens will be a thriving new quarter for Oxford, and through the genuine mix of homes, workspace, leisure, and public realm, it will benefit the city and the people who live here in so many different ways.  I want to thank everyone who has already given their time, thoughts and ideas to our Summer consultation, and encourage everyone who can to engage and help us achieve the very best scheme for Oxford.”

Kevin Minns, managing director at OxWED

The Oxpens scheme is being brought forward by OxWED, the joint venture between Oxford City Council and Nuffield College, and the site is a central part of the ambitions for wider-scale regeneration, investment and improvement across the West End of Oxford.  OxWED is working with masterplan architects Hawkins Brown, landscape architects Gillespies and a team of urban design specialists including Gardiner & Theobald, Max Fordham, Prior + Partners, and Kevin Murray Associates.

This stage of consultation runs from 11 November until 30 November, and provides a key opportunity for the community to offer further feedback and ideas, and to influence the final masterplan that will form the basis of the Oxpens planning application in early 2022.

Key to the redevelopment is an appreciation of Oxpens’ past.  For those interested in the history of the site, and the parishes of St Thomas’s and St Ebbe’s, local historian Liz Woolley has compiled a fascinating exhibition on the area’s heritage, sponsored by OxWED.  After a successful run of talks at Oxford Open Doors, the exhibition can now be seen on display at Westgate County Council Library.

“Oxpens is at the heart of Oxford’s wider regeneration, with the potential to deliver a truly sustainable, mixed-use neighbourhood – a space for research and innovation, for affordable city centre homes, for the highest environmental standards and for enhanced connectivity. Getting this right is essential, so please have your say.”

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery

“The redevelopment of Oxpens presents an almost unique opportunity to create a whole new city centre quarter that will enhance Oxford’s public realm and boost economic growth while at the same time providing badly needed new housing and employment opportunities.  It is an exciting moment to be sharing these more detailed plans with the community, and we look forward to their views as the OxWED team moves towards finalising the masterplan.”

Sir Andrew Dilnot, warden of Nuffield College

The closing date for submitting responses to this consultation is 30 November 2021.

Feedback from this consultation will be used to finalise the masterplan design and prepare the planning application to be submitted next year.