MULTI-MILLION-POUND proposals for a former outdoor centre could see it transformed into a learning hub and “innovation” space for businesses.
The Oxford Trust said it would host primary schools at the Stansfeld Outdoor Education Centre in Headington, where a café and 100-seat theatre are also planned.
It was revealed on Monday that the trust is set to buy the lease for the site from Birmingham City Council.
The outdoor centre was previously used by schoolchildren from Oxfordshire and Birmingham to learn about the outdoors and forestry but was closed in July.
Now it is hoped that it can become a springboard for new firms, as well as a hub of learning for youngsters run by Science Oxford.
Oxford Trust chief executive Stephen Burgess said more space for smaller firms was needed in the city as the Oxford Centre for Innovation, in New Road, was hugely oversubscribed.
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He said: “We have been searching for land within the ring road for a couple of years now because our existing centre has a long waiting list.
“We also wanted another public-facing educational centre that could cater for schools.
“The idea is that it could provide real community benefits.”
The proposals for the Stansfeld site come after the Oxford Trust scrapped its scheme to build “The Magnet” at its New Road site last year.
The landmark building would have attracted 150,000 visitors a year and also provided space for start-ups.
Mr Burgess said that the new plans in Headington were “totally different”.
He added: “Over the next eight weeks our plans will start to become clearer now that we are beginning discussions with Oxford City Council about what the scale of the new centre can be.
“We are planning a full consultation for local people and are already in touch with the Friends of Stansfeld.
“As far as the trust is concerned, this could secure a stable future for the site and can be a fantastic business incubator and science centre.
“We want to invite primary schools along and help create the next generation of scientists and environmentalists.”
A spokesman for the Friends of Stansfeld group said: “The Friends of Stansfeld Group would like to work with the successful bidder, the Oxford Trust, to achieve the best outcome for this important local quarry site.”