PLANS to demolish an industrial estate in west Oxford and replace it with a new ‘innovation quarter’ are moving forward.

The Osney Mead Industrial Estate has been marked for demolition since 2016, when it was revealed that Oxford University had begun to buy up the land and wanted to replace it with student accommodation and offices for tech and science-related businesses.

At Oxford City Council’s meeting on Monday, councillors were told that about £6.1million of government funding had been signed off for infrastructure at Osney Mead.

And on Wednesday an architect was announced as a partner in an Oxford University scheme to transform the estate.

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Despite the steps being taken to get the project of the ground, Oxford University said there was no update on the plans for Osney Mead.

University spokesman Laurence Garfield said: "The university doesn’t have an update to provide on the project currently but we remain fully committed to, and keen to progress with, the development of an innovation quarter at Osney Mead as set out in our Strategic Plan."

A report to the council's meeting on Monday said the funding would enable 'new development at Osney Mead Innovation Quarter'.

The report to Oxford City Council noted that a senior council officer had signed a contract with Highways England for the £6.088m.

This was done as urgent decision taken without approval from councillors on October 31.

Oxford architects practice Gray Baynes + Shew announced on Wednesday it had been chosen to take part in a university-wide scheme to build more student flats, as well as research and teaching buildings.

Among the five ‘key zones’ which Gray Baynes + Shew will work on is Osney Mead.

The others include Begbroke Science Park, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Keble Triangle and Science Area, and the Headington Cluster.

Oxford Mail:

A design drawing of a riverside promenade at the Osney Mead Innovation Park. Picture: Shepheard Epstein Hunter

When the plans to transform the industrial estate were revealed in 2016, they were given a £600m price tag.

At the time, the Oxford Mail reported that work on the 20-year project could have begun as early as 2019, but no planning applications have yet been submitted.

Design drawings from the time showed tree-lined avenues, a pathway along the River Thames and a plaza on the current site of Osney Yard Depot.

The university wanted the site to include laboratories for scientists alongside small and big businesses.

More than 600 homes for graduates and staff were also planned to provide affordable housing for top talent.

Early work at the site would focus on graduate housing but by the end of the project some 4,000 people could be working there.

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The park would be split into housing and engineering facilities to the east, laboratories and start-up company offices to the south, larger companies and university buildings to the east and a main square at the north, where the Kings Centre and Environment Agency depot currently stand.

Existing buildings such as the university library services building, Alden Press, the Ruskin School of Art’s ‘Green Shed’, FishMarket, Borders, Oxford Calor Centre and Newsquest Oxfordshire – the parent company of the Oxford Mail – would eventually be bulldozed to make way for the new development.

The university is in discussion with landowners about buying up the remaining land at Osney Mead which it does not own.