Oxpens planning applications to be decided at Planning Committee

OXWED LLP, the joint venture between Nuffield College and Oxford City Council, has submitted planning applications for the regeneration of the Oxpens site.

It was opened for public consultation by the council and will be decided upon at planning committee, anticipated in early 2024. The scheme will turn an under-utilised, 15-acre, brownfield site into an extension of the city centre – a new residential, commercial and leisure quarter for Oxford. The proposed transformation would bring new homes, jobs, extensive riverside public space and hotel.

Oxpens will help Oxford to address its challenges on housing by delivering much needed new housing (50 per cent of which will be affordable) and student accommodation, and create opportunities to grow the economy with high quality office and laboratory space and a new hotel.

The development will be stitched into Oxford with new and improved walking and cycling routes. Fundamental to the design is new and accessible high quality public realm for all to enjoy with the proposals expanding the existing Oxpens Meadow, ‘opening up the riverside’ and adding a new public amphitheatre for use as an event space.

The submission of the planning applications follows several stages of consultation with the public and with key local stakeholders that has helped to inform the final proposals. Most recently, the masterplan was updated to increase the number of homes and incorporate the revised position of the planned Oxpens River Bridge. The development is planned to be largely car free, instead offering extensive public transport and active travel links.

All the feedback received on the plans was taken into consideration to produce this final regeneration proposal, estimated to contribute up to £270m annually to Oxford’s economy, with a £24m yearly boost in spending to local businesses.

The full response to the consultation feedback can be found in the Statement of Community Engagement submitted along with the planning application.

Kevin Minns, Managing Director at OXWED, said: “This is an incredible milestone both for the scheme and for the future of Oxford’s West End. This area of Oxford, with its rich social history of industry and community, has been overlooked and under-appreciated for too long but now has the capacity to really deliver for the people of Oxford. New homes, jobs, commercial space, a public square with shops and community amenities, amphitheatre and new green spaces all just moments from the train station in Oxfordshire’s most sustainable location. We look forward to bringing our vision and ambition for this regeneration to life.”

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery, said: “The Oxpens site has long been identified as a huge opportunity to create a city centre quarter that’s inclusive, vibrant, sustainable and accessible for all. This masterplan provides a route for making that vision a reality. I want to thank everyone who has played a part in developing and giving feedback on the proposals, helping to hone and improve the plans.”

The planning submissions include an outline planning application with an illustrative masterplan, parameter plans and supporting design code, together with a detailed planning application for enabling works to prepare the site for development. Subject to planning permissions, OXWED will then look to join forces with a development partner to bring the ambitious proposals to life.

A summary of the planning application can be found at the Oxpens website.

The applications can be viewed and commented on at the link below with reference number: 22/02954/OUT (for the outline application), and 22/02955/FUL (for the detailed enabling works application).

Link to planning portal: Simple Search (oxford.gov.uk)