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Consultation on Oxford science park under way
PEOPLE will be able to give their views today and tomorrow about an Oxford University science park in Headington that includes a multi-storey car park.
The scheme will include the £45m Big Data Institute as its flagship building, alongside an Amenities Building, which would be a centre for spin-off science businesses.
The university has also set out plans for a multi-storey car park for 460 vehicles.
And residents have been told it could be made available to the public at weekends, if they like the idea.
Oxford City Council ward councillor for Churchill, Headington, Mark Lygo cautiously welcomed the plans.
He said: “I am glad to see this development come to the area, and more local jobs is fantastic news.
“There are known parking problems around the ward, so this extra car park could be beneficial.
Work on the Big Data Institute, which Prime Minister David Cameron has said will revolutionise healthcare, could start in September, creating about 400 new jobs and the Amenities Building would involve 670 jobs in its first 10 years.
At the institute’s launch last year, following a £20m gift from the Li Ka Shing Foundation, Mr Cameron said: “It will put the UK at the forefront of revolutionising healthcare through big data and better drug discovery.”
Public consultation will be held today from 4pm to 7pm and on Saturday from 10am to 1pm at the Old Road Campus Research Building, off Roosevelt Drive.
The university secured outline planning permission in July for the campus and expects that thousands of people could eventually work on the site, next to the Churchill Hospital.
A detailed planning application should follow next month.
Patrick Coulter, chairman of the Headington Action Group and a committee member of the Highfield Residents’ Association, said there was concern about the scale of the buildings.
But, he added, residents were keen on the idea of the community sharing parking facilities.
Mr Coulter added he feared opening the car park at weekends could attract more traffic, bringing in shoppers from outside the area.
The university is now considering the first phase of development. Its outline planning permission includes the right to demolish existing buildings on the site.
Its consultation is the first to take place under a new system recommended in an independent review in the wake of the Castle Mill student flats controversy.
A spokesman for the university said it would be the first of three consultations, with the next two coming in May and June.
The spokesman said: “At this preliminary stage we want to hear from local residents how they think the building could be useful to them.
“We are happy to discuss ideas such as using parking spaces over the weekend, hiring meeting rooms, or using the cafeteria.”
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