LISTEN: A £200m regeneration scheme is set to rejuvenate Oxford city centre after a joint venture between Nuffield College and Oxford City Council bought land in the Oxpens area.
The partnership acquired land from London and Continental Railways for the scheme, which will sprinkle “magic dust” on Oxford’s economy, according to Patrick McMahon, senior partner at Bidwells, which advised Nuffield College.
The Oxpens site is one of the largest development areas in Oxford’s West End and has potential for a new neighbourhood with homes, offices and a hotel as well as opening up the area to tech innovators, said McMahon.
It lies opposite the new John Lewis store and near the Westgate Shopping Centre.
The council has identified the Oxpens development as a strategic priority in the Oxford City Deal and the Oxfordshire Strategic Economic Plan, which will unlock private sector investment and jobs.
A development partner is now being sought to start on the project next year, coinciding with the opening of the new Westgate in autumn 2017.
Nuffield College bursar Gwilym Hughes said: “We see this site as playing a pivotal key role in addressing the lack of affordable housing for a wide range of people in Oxford.
“The regeneration of the West End will be of huge benefit to everyone and I cannot think of a ground-breaking approach like this that has been taken in Oxford before.”
Hughes said it was hoped academic buildings for the college and Oxford University in the West End could be combined with new homes, commercial and leisure buildings, in a bid to create a “cluster” for the social sciences and vibrant public spaces.
Minns Estates and Bidwells are advising Nuffield College; JLL is acting for Oxford City Council.