Published: Thursday, 17 November 2022

Updated planning advice and guidance for the redevelopment of the West End and Osney Mead area of the city has been adopted by the Council’s cabinet at a meeting on Wednesday 16 November 2022.

The West End and Osney Mead Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is a planning policy document that aims to bring together overarching design principles for the large number of developments – each with different landowners – that are happening in the West End of Oxford. The aim is to coordinate public realm improvements, infrastructure, transport and movement and design across the area.

The West End and Osney Mead area of Oxford city centre lies between Osney Mead to the west and Oxford Train Station to the north, Oxford Ice Rink to the south, and St. Aldates to the east.

The area is set to undergo a once-in-a-generation transformation over the coming years, providing a balanced mix of uses including new homes and a range of spaces for new and expanding innovative businesses, to support higher quality, better-paid jobs.

The SPD places emphasis on enabling Oxford to achieve its global potential for enterprise, and supporting an inclusive and creative economy by providing spaces for access to jobs and training and facilities to complement existing city centre uses. It recognises the area’s distinctive characters and supports vibrant communities.

It aims to deliver a zero carbon Oxford and recognises the climate emergency, including raising energy efficiency of new buildings; cutting transport emissions; boosting renewable energy installation and nurturing the area’s ecological value with its proximity to the Green Belt and the River Thames.

Major projects include:

  • Network Rail’s redevelopment of Oxford Train Station to create new entrances, tracks and connectivity, as a fitting gateway to the city
  • Oxford West End Development’s redevelopment of Oxpens, in land between the train station and ice rink, to create new homes, a critical mass of employment space, and major public realm improvements
  • Refurbishment and redevelopment of sites surrounding Park End Street, Hythe Bridge Street, Worcester Street and Frideswide Square
  • Supporting the modernising and intensifying of Osney Mead industrial estate, introducing new homes, focal spaces and connectivity, including creating a new foot and cycle bridge between Oxpens and Grandpont

The West End and Osney Mead SPD was prepared following:

  • initial consultation with local people in March and April 2021, which helped to inform the vision for the area
  • ‘visioning workshop’ hosted by urban design consultants Levitt Bernstein in the summer of 2021, which included key stakeholders, amenity groups and landowners to help develop the vision for the West End
  • public consultation on the draft document from Wednesday 29 June 2022 until Wednesday 10 August 2022

The comments received during the public consultation, together with the proposed changes to the document and supporting evidence, were discussed at the meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 16 November.

Cabinet decided to adopt the SPD, together with the Spatial Framework and Design Guide, subject to the changes proposed, which will now be used as a ‘material consideration’, alongside adopted Local Plan policies, in determining future planning applications within the West End area.

The SPD provides advice and guidance on how to implement existing Local Plan 2036 policies that will help to shape the future regeneration of the West End area.

It sets out the key design principles from the Spatial Framework and Design Guide, which will inform and guide the future development proposals emerging on key sites in the West End and additional sites that come forward.

Cabinet also agreed to revoke the Oxpens SPD (2013) and Station SPD (2017), which are now superseded by the adoption of the West End and Osney Mead SPD (2022).    

“The City Council set out the main planning policies for this area in the Oxford Local Plan 2036; the new SPD fills in the detail of those policies and shows the huge potential that exists for these important city centre sites.”

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery

“The West End is rare in having institutional land owners aligned and coordinated, with the long-term stewardship of the sites and the city in mind. To fulfil its exceptional promise and take Oxford’s success to the next level, we will now work with central Government partners to accelerate infrastructure delivery and the opportunity to grow tax revenues.

“The SPD supports landowners to work together across sites, and to lever in private investment to help finance and deliver a dynamic place and imaginative mix of spaces, in this sustainable location.”

Jeremy Long, Chair of the West End Strategic Board

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