OXWED: Updated Oxpens plans go on show

Published: Tuesday, 20th September 2022

IMPROVED SCHEME FOR MORE HOMES, JOBS, RIVERSIDE PUBLIC SPACE AND HOTEL TAKES NEXT STEP TOWARDS SUBMISSION OF A PLANNING APPLICATION

The opportunity to transform a neglected part of Oxford into an exciting mixed-use riverside neighbourhood, designed around outstanding new public spaces, is taking another significant step forward.  With a planning application for the Oxpens area due for submission later in the autumn, the updated proposals go on show to the public at Oxford Town Hall on Thursday 22nd September.

The proposed Oxpens scheme is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city, transforming this under-used brownfield site and expanding the city centre.  It will deliver much needed new homes (50% of which will be affordable), jobs, student accommodation, a hotel, and major new public realm, alongside new and improved walking and cycling routes. 

Following earlier consultation, the updated masterplan has increased the number of homes and reduced the size of the hotel.  It also now incorporates the proposed position of the Oxpens River Bridge.

It is estimated that the scheme will contribute up to £280m annually to Oxford’s economy, spending up to £24m a year with local businesses.  With extensive public transport, cycle and pedestrian links close by, the largely car-free Oxpens development aspires to become the most sustainable residential and employment location in Oxfordshire.

The updated plans will be put on display in the Town Hall and on the project website (www.oxpensoxford.uk) so that people can see how the scheme has evolved in line with the continued discussions with the local planning authority and through feedback from the two public consultations held in 2021.

OXWED, the development team behind the proposals, will then submit a planning application to Oxford City Council.

The wider Oxpens site is the largest housing allocation in the Oxford Local Plan, and alongside other allocated sites in the local plan, and in those of Oxford’s neighbouring districts, is a critical part of addressing the city’s need for more housing.  The scheme also delivers a significant amount of commercial space, addressing the shortage of high-quality offices and labs in the city centre, thereby meeting another key policy requirement for the site. 

The current proposals represent only the first phase of delivery at Oxpens and focus on land in OXWED’s ownership.  It is expected that the remainder of the allocated site will come forward in future years.  The proposals also complement the emerging West End and Osney Mead Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which sets out Oxford City Council’s vision for the West End, as well as the Council’s Economic and City Centre strategies.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery at Oxford City Council, said:

“Oxpens is central to the vision for the West End and the city as a whole as we look to the future and work hard to make Oxford a fair, inclusive, successful and sustainable place for all.  The proposals have benefitted from some really good engagement and, as they move now towards a formal application, this is an important opportunity for people to see how the scheme has evolved.”

Kevin Minns, Managing Director at OXWED, said:

“This is a really exciting time for everyone involved with the project and we’re delighted to be presenting this updated scheme that will transform this under-used and in some ways overlooked site into a genuine asset for the people of Oxford.  We’re on the cusp of being able to create a vibrant new part of the city, minutes from the railway station, with new homes, workspaces and a hotel.  We’re particularly proud of the new public square, amphitheatre and new green spaces that anyone will be able to use and the way they connect with the much-loved Oxpens Meadow.  The feedback we had from last year’s consultations has been tremendously helpful and fed into a refined set of proposals that are new and better.  So before we submit the Oxpens planning application, we’re putting the plans on show and letting everyone know about what’s changed and what happens next.”

The Oxpens planning application is for a masterplan application and will be submitted later this autumn.  Subject to planning permission, OXWED will then bring in a development partner to take the scheme forward to detailed design and construction.

Sir Andrew Dilnot, Warden of Nuffield College, said:

“I am delighted that after many months of very hard work on the part of OXWED's professional team we are now approaching the point of submitting a planning application for the Oxpens site.  The joint venture’s ambition has been to produce a scheme of outstanding quality which will bring social and economic benefits to the city while also being commercially deliverable, and the work of the LLP in this respect has been driven by the long-term interests which the two partners have in supporting the enduring success of Oxford in general and the West End of the city in particular.”  

OXWED LLP (‘OXWED’) is a joint venture between Oxford City Council and Nuffield College and owns the majority of the land allocated for redevelopment under the Oxford Local Plan on the west side of Oxpens Road.

Anyone wanting to see the plans can attend at:

Assembly Room, Oxford Town Hall, St Aldates, OX1 1BX

Thursday 22 September - 3pm to 8pm

Members of the OXWED team will be hosting the exhibition and able to provide further details on how the scheme has evolved and what happens next.

The exhibition panels displayed in the Town Hall will be added to the Oxpens website on 22nd September so that anyone unable to attend in person or who would prefer to do so can view the information online.