PREPARATIONS for Oxford University to transform an industrial park into a new science quarter continue, with a bid to improve a cycling track.

A planning application by the university would see a short, 100m section of path laid along the Thames towpath as it enters Osney Mead Industrial Estate.

The application is linked to a larger scheme of improving cycle and pedestrian paths in the western parts of Oxford, and as Osney Mead is owned by the university, also links with its ambitions to redevelop the estate into a mixture of flats and office space for tech and science businesses.

Also read: Pictures from Tuesday's Black Lives Matter protest in Oxford

The short stretch of new path would allow bikes to take a gradual turn onto the industrial estate, instead of travelling through a narrow, gated exit which is currently available.

The path will be funded by the university because it is passes through land it owns, but other sections will be paid for from the public purse.

It will connect onto the towpath as it meets the wooden footbridge over the Bulstake Stream, but a new bridge over the stream could be built in future as part of the large cycle network.

Oxford Mail:

A design drawing of the new cycle path. Picture: via Oxford City Council

A report to council planners promoting the new stretch of path said: “The development will improve pedestrian and cycle connectivity in the area, is designed to an appropriate standard, will not have an unacceptable impact on highway safety, will provide safe and dry access to Osney Mead and will not increase flood risk. The public footpath will remain in situ and will not be affected.”

The path will also connect with other sections of a much larger network and is marked as ‘section 7’ within this scheme.

Also read: Safety fears as zebra crossing covered at shopping park

A map giving an idea of the other sections of the cycle network also includes a planned new bridge over the Thames at Oxpens.

A feasibility study for this new cycle and pedestrian bridge was signed off by Oxford City Council at a meeting last month.

In the council’s new Local Plan, the industrial estate is set aside for mixed use development, including flats, student accommodation and office space.

In 2016, the university previewed its masterplan for the site, which included design drawings of how it could look when redeveloped.

At the time, the university had hoped work on the project could have started by 2019.

Member of public can see the application at using reference: 20/01162/FUL