Arc Universities

Oxford City Council has granted planning permission for Oxford North, to create a new life sciences district for Oxford, to include new laboratories and workspaces for biomedical science, new homes, public parks and neighbourhood shops, to retain and attract global science research talent and help boost the local and national economy.

The planning approval is for an outline consent for the overall 64-acre masterplan to provide 4,500 new jobs across circa 936,500 sq ft (87,000 sq m) of laboratories and offices, 480 new housing for circa 1,500 people, of which a minimum of 35%, the equivalent of 168, will be affordable homes, small shops, bars and restaurants, hotel, circa 23 acres of open spaces including three new parks, and significant investment into the walking, cycling, bus and highway networks.

Oxford North will boost the economy by circa £150 million per year.

A detailed consent has been granted for the first phase of development in the Central area, which will provide 140,000 sq ft (13,006 sq m) of laboratories and office space in three buildings along with the first phase of a new public park:

– The Red Hall will be a dynamic workspace for start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers, attracting spin-outs from Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University, with capacity for around 300 people to work collaboratively

– Two connected laboratory and workspace buildings totalling 55,000 sq ft (5,109 sq m) each over four floors, which will provide for life sciences businesses from SMEs to incubate and grow, up to global organisations looking to thrive within Oxford’s commercial ecosystem to develop ideas, collaborate and innovate.

Professor Andrew Parker, St John’s College said:

“The news today that Oxford North has the green light is the culmination of many years of working collaboratively with Oxford City Council, and Oxfordshire County Council for highways, whose vision has been for the area to become home to a science and technology community, with much-needed new homes and vital infrastructure improvements. The College is heavily committed to creating a place, not just to facilitate life-enhancing science and technology discoveries, but a new district of Oxford where people want to live, visitand learn.

“Oxford North will connect and enhance the local area physically through open spaces, public art and culture, and immersive experiences. It will be a place for tomorrow’s workforce improving people’s lives, air quality and the environment while delivering a significant boost to the economy. We are proud to be investing in such a project for Oxford.”

Charles Rowton-Lee, head of commercial agency, Savills Oxford said:

“With the success of the Oxford University Astra Zeneca vaccine and the soon to be opened Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Harwell, we are seeing strong demand forming for inward investment, into Oxford, from around the world. University ‘spin outs’ account for a lot of this interest and companies wish to be associated with the high level of academia in the region.”

Nigel Tipple, chief executive, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“The green light for such a significant project – that will have a positive impact on Oxfordshire’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic – is excellent news.

“As the local enterprise partnership for Oxfordshire, we want to ensure our county benefits from an infrastructure that is fit-for-purpose, supporting dynamic economic growth. With this in mind, we were delighted to have secured such a major Local Growth Fund allocation for this project and we are sure it can be a real asset for our communities and indeed, the wider ‘UK PLC’.”

Find out more about Oxford North.

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