A SERIES of tree-lined streets will replace a building site at the heart of Oxford University's sciences area.

The university was given unanimous approval by the Oxford City Council's West Area Planning Committee this week for a series of public realm works to streets running through the designated sciences area, off South Parks Road.

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The works will see the streets running throughout the area spruced up with trees, paving, grassy areas, trees and parking space for more than a thousand bicycles.

Though the plan was passed unanimously, one councillor on the committee was disappointed at the loss of large trees on the network of small streets, describing the replacements in the scheme as 'toy town' trees.

Under the plans, Oxford University will be allowed to make changes to Sherrington Road, Dorothy Hodgkin Road and several other streets which run in an area behind the Natural History Museum.

Design drawings of the plan show clean, white paving lining the area, giving it a pedestrianised feel.

Cars will however still be allowed to drive through the streets, which sit behind gates at two entrances from South Parks Road and Parks Road.

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There will also be room to park up to 45 cars on the site, a net loss of one parking space from how the land is currently used.

Alongside car parking, there will be room to securely park up to 1,057 bikes through the streets.

Out of these spaces, 411 will be covered parking in wood-panelled cycle stories, and the remaining 646 will be outdoor bike racks.

Oxford Mail:

The current entrance to the science area from South Parks Road. Picture: Oxford City Council

The plans also show a variety of new green areas, replacing some concrete sections and lawns currently in place at the site, with design drawings featuring trees and wild flowers.

At the committee meeting, Lib Dem councillor Liz Wade asked whether the scheme would have an impact on a traffic-busting plan called Connecting Oxford.

This, she said, was because a bus gate as part of that scheme is likely to be placed near to South Parks Road, and might affect cars leaving the science area by that entrance.

Ms Wade was told by a council officer that no concerns had been raised by the county about it.

Committee chair Colin Cook proposed that the plans for the science area should be approved.

Oxford Mail:

The West Area Planning Committee.

But he added he was worried about the quality of the development, in particular the trees on the site.

Mr Cook said: "We are presented with something very rudimentary and I would describe it as having 'toy town' trees as replacement for some of the massive trees.

"Certainly the massive copper beech tree that stood outside the physiology department.

He added: "I am very disappointed with the quality of the landscaping here, I hope in actuality it will prove better than what the mark up and pictures show."