A new quarter for Oxford – transforming brownfield for homes, innovation and public spaces
Oxpens is one of the largest interventions to take place in the historic city of Oxford. Located near the expanding main train station, this ambitious development will transform an existing car park and former sidings into a new city quarter, bringing homes, jobs, extensive public realm and increased connectivity to the area.
An opportunity outlined over a decade ago, the site is owned by OXWED, a joint venture between Oxford City Council and Nuffield College. Prior + Partners have supported Hawkins/Brown, playing a central role in our provision of strategic and client planning advisory services. We have helped define and deliver a vision for the innovation quarter and community, planning strategy, and worked closely with stakeholders and local people to deliver on shared and emerging policy objectives.
Our town planning team is helping shape an appropriate permission to stand the test of time for a joint venture that was discerning about its partners on the project. This client group was formed with the ambition to lead an outline planning application for the site, instead of relying on a development partner, an approach that required bringing together a wide range of skills to deliver their ambition. We helped procure and lead consultant teams through the application process taking into account financial and socio-economic outcomes to assure the client of its potential to succeed.
An evolving city
Fronting the River Thames, this under loved piece of potential city adjoins green space that it currently floods. The transformation into a new-build quarter that links existing green and blue infrastructure into Oxford will play a significant role in delivering development that is reflective of the City, catering for new and existing communities as well as world leading business, whilst meeting Oxford University’s need for lab space and student accommodation.
The City of Oxford has one of the largest affordability ratios within the UK. On the site, hundreds of homes will be integrated with circa 90,000 sqm of lab-enabled innovation space in the form of an innovation quarter, a hotel and new public realm. These homes will be part of a low-carbon neighbourhood for residents, visitors and workers. It’s estimated that 6,000 new jobs will be delivered at Oxpens.
Supporting world-class talent
Instead of being a function at the edge of cities, lab spaces for the life-sciences are increasingly seeking integration into city centres as research requires a more balanced offer for the workplace promoting collaboration. In Oxford, this is amplified through the need to attract the best talent competing not just with Cambridge, but the world.
While these spaces in the UK are traditionally held in business parks, the innovation quarter, designed for health and life sciences with offices and labs, will sit adjacent to the dreaming spires and all the offers of the City within walking distance.
The first piece in delivering Oxford's Future West End
Oxpens is being delivered as a largely car-free scheme, based on walking cycling and rail connections – and promotes the humanisation of the neighbouring ring road, Oxpens Road.
With close proximity to public transport, and within a 3 minute walk of a major shopping facility, Oxpens will activate publicly owned land and deliver the first piece at the core of the ambition for the future of Oxford’s West End – an ambition that elevates accessibility and connectivity, creativity, vibrancy and enterprise.
Next Horsham, UK
Taking a longer-term view to shape places with legacy