THE development partner for a £200m scheme to revitalise Oxpens is expected to be announced by the end of January, according to an Oxford college bursar.

The scheme, led by Oxford City Council and Nuffield College, is the next phase of the regeneration of the West End, following the revamp of the neighbouring £440m Westgate Centre.

The Oxpens scheme will feature a mixed housing and commercial quarter, including office space and about 500 homes.

Oxford West End Developments Ltd (OxWED), a joint venture company owned by the council and Nuffield College, appointed consultants Bidwells and JLL to sign up a developer so that building work can start next year or in 2020.

It was hoped the development partner would be announced by September but the expected confirmation will now take place in 2019.

Nuffield College Bursar Gwilym Hughes said: “We have been going through a very clear process and working on this very diligently to bring this forward - an announcement is due in the new year.

"There is a shortlist of three and we are essentially assessing those bids - this is a huge project so we have to get it right.

"I'm hopeful there will be an announcement before the end of January."

Mish Tullar, a spokesman for Oxford City Council, confirmed an announcement was expected in the new year and said there was nothing further to add.

Ian Green, chairman of Oxford Civic Society, said earlier it was vital that an efficient and effective transport plan was in place for the West End, taking into account Oxpens, Frideswide Square, the railway centre and the Westgate Centre.

He added: “I understand that the council and Nuffield College are in the process of recruiting the development company and they are down to a shortlist of three.

“Once a revised masterplan for Oxpens is drawn up the revisions will need to be linked to a transport strategy for Oxpens and the surrounding area.

“This is moving forward a little more slowly than first anticipated but that’s okay as long as they get it right - the transport strategy is a key element.”

The transport network for Oxpens was a 'key feature' and would be considered 'very carefully', said Mr Hughes.

Work has started on a separate scheme to build more than 500 student rooms on the former temporary car park in Osney Lane, close to the railway station.

The plans are being taken forward by student accommodation firm Student Castle.

Winvic Construction staff are now working on the 515-bedroom development.

The accommodation, close to the railway station, will feature student flats - one bed and two-bedroom studios - and will be completed by the summer of 2020.

Buildings in the three main blocks will range from five to six storeys and will also house a gym, games area, lounge, private meeting rooms, roof terraces and a store for 290 bikes.

As the plans for Oxpens move forward, changes will take place along Oxpens Road.

The ‘temporary’ decked car park opposite the Westgate Centre is expected to be relocated to Redbridge park-and-ride.

The car park was built to replace the old Westgate car park, which was demolished on the other side of Oxpens Road to make way for the new shopping centre.

The 420-space decked car park at Oxpens is due to close the end of June, removing over half of the spaces.

Land made available by the closure will then become part of the Oxpens development.