PLANS are being drawn up for a massive new 3,000-home development on the edge of Oxford, after city councillors gave the proposal the thumbs up.

The site, dubbed ‘South Oxfordshire Science Village’, would see new homes, new schools, a new park and ride as well as an extension to Oxford Science Park.

The site is owned by Oxford City Council, Thames Water, and Magdalen College, but is on land under the administration of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC).

READ MORE: Live from the council meeting as it happened 

Cabinet Members of the city council have formally given the green light for officers to start drawing up plans for the site.

The council will now enter into discussions with partners so a master developer can be appointed.

Alex Hollingsworth, the cabinet member for housing and planning delivery, said the ‘aspiration’, if all goes to plan, is to have a planning application submitted in 2023.

Oxford Mail:

The Grenoble Road site was incorporated in SODC's Local Plan 2035 last year due to exceptional circumstances – one stipulation of the deal was that at least half of the new homes need to be of affordable tenure.

Mr Hollingsworth said that while the city council part-owns the site, SODC is the ‘ultimate decision maker’ when it comes to local planning policies.

Jenny Barker, regeneration manager at Oxford City Council, said a ‘fairly ambitious timescale to try to have something by the end of the year’ had been set regarding the agreement with the process to appoint a developer taking ‘roughly’ nine months from there.

Labour’s city council leader, Susan Brown, said that the authority had been wanting to build homes on the site for over a ‘decade’.

The leader welcomed the development plans, claiming additional housing was ‘desperately needed’ in Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

She said: “We have got so many people in housing need in Oxford and Oxfordshire, personally speaking as a local councillor, nearly all of my casework is people who are in desperate housing need."

Other cabinet members at the meeting also fully supported the plans to bring more homes to the city.

Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities, said that the next steps towards this potential development is a 'milestone'.

She added that it is important this proposed development is in Oxford - 'one of the most expensive cities in the country'.

Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for a Safer, Healthier Oxford, also praised the plan to provide more homes in the city – adding that the plans to reopen the Cowley branch rail line and a new park and ride would help improve transport links in the city.

Helen Marshall, director of the Countryside Charity, Oxfordshire, said: “Since the land is to be sacrificed, we must make sure that what is built really does meet local need and is well-designed, high-density housing that is both more affordable and better for the climate.

“There are now 20,000 houses planned in the Green Belt, which will increase the city by a third in a little over 10 years, which is going to put enormous pressure on both the countryside and infrastructure.

“The remaining Green Belt land is now more precious than ever and we need both Government and our local authorities to put proper protections in place for the future.”


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