Phase 1 of the expansion is part of the University’s £4 billion development partnership with Legal & General (L&G) and is being advanced by Oxford University Development Ltd (OUD), a joint venture company set up by the two partners.
Council approved OUD’s Initial Response for Phase 1 of the site’s expansion in March 2021 and the University has now reached formal legal agreement with L&G for the development following Finance Committee approval on 1 July.
The next milestone for the development is finalising the planning consent. The University already has outline planning permission to build on the site so only a ‘reserved matters’ application covering areas not dealt with in the original outline planning permission is needed. OUD intends to submit this application in Q3 2021 and to receive planning consent in early 2022, enabling work to begin on site later that year with completion targeted for early 2024.
Phase 1 involves the construction of two new buildings to provide a total of up to 12,500m2 of high-quality lab and office space. The aim is to build on the site’s long history as a lively innovation ecosystem in which academic researchers work closely with the private sector to address key problems facing society. The Science Park currently hosts some 20 research groups and 30 high-tech science-based businesses and spin-outs.
One of the new buildings will be reserved for University use, while the other will be leased to commercial tenants – the University is already in discussion with several organisations who are potentially interested in renting space on the site.
This is the first stage in the University’s long-term aspiration to develop a new innovation district around Begbroke Science Park, as set out in its Strategic Plan for 2018-23.
The University’s development plans are also moving forward at several other sites around Oxford. Creating new graduate accommodation at Court Place Gardens to replace the existing outdated 1970s housing is likely to be the first place where construction starts, after OUD applied for planning permission in May 2021 following consultations with many key stakeholders.
The aim is to have planning permission later in the year and to be able to start construction in early 2022, so that the first graduate students can take up residence in time for the 2024-25 academic year.