THE science campus in Harwell has unveiled ambitious plans to more than triple in size in the next 15 years.

The world-renowned facility wants to develop more than four million square feet of its campus site as offices and laboratories and add 14,000 new jobs to increase the workforce to 20,000.

In a strategy published on Thursday the campus also revealed plans to build 1,000 affordable homes for staff as it attempts to turn the campus in to a ‘small town’ in South Oxfordshire.

The site, which previously housed nuclear reactors, does not plan to encroach into the area of outstanding natural beauty that surrounds it but to regenerate much of the 710 acres it already owns, but does not currently use.

The expansion will ultimately see it use 5.5m square feet of land instead of the 1m square feet currently.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority plans to complete its work by 2025, allowing more land to be developed, and the campus wants the process to be speeded up in order to keep up the momentum for its building work, which has already begun.

The facility, which has been a site for world-leading research for more than 50 years, is expanding to create more opportunities for high-tech manufacturing, space, healthcare and energy businesses.

Angus Horner, partner and director of the Harwell Campus Partnership, said: “The community here over the last three generations have generated a number of world firsts and some of those have impacted on the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

“What is quite different about this phase in the life in Harwell is that historically we have been a centre for research but now we are actually going to be making a load of high-tech stuff.

“Some of the tenants that are moving in are taking intellectual property, creating something and are now making a lot of products on site and earning proper money.

“There is such optimism and drive and energy in regions like this.

“This has got serious weight and scale of activity.”

Mr Horner said that he felt the expansion would have a minimal impact on the area.

The campus will shortly publish plans to build 1,000 homes to soften any impact on the county’s housing crisis and Mr Horner said that the area’s local plan has been designed with the expansion in mind.

The director, who sits on the A34 safety group, said some immediate safety improvements need to be made to the road and that projects such as the Oxford to Cambridge expressway would also help the campus grow.

He added: “We are not growing Harwell for its own sake but for the rest of the UK and the human condition.”