Images of a new walking and cycling bridge over the Thames at Oxpens have been revealed as the planning application is submitted.

The Oxpens River Bridge will form an important new connection between the future Osney Mead and Oxpens developments, as well as to the wider walking and cycling networks within the city and beyond.

The city council and Nuffield College plan to redevelop Oxpens while Oxford University plans to regenerate Osney Mead in the coming years.

Oxford Mail: Oxpens Bridge visualisation 

Both projects are set to bring thousands of jobs and new homes to the city.

READ MORE: Former Premier Inn and Ock Mill restaurant bought by school

Oxford City Council ran a consultation last summer over what people want from the new bridge which it said it wanted to build in 2020.

If planning is approved, building could start next year.

The bridge's slender design, led by award-winning bridge designers Knight Architects, aims to preserve and enhance the current views of the river and meadow.

"The inner surfaces of the waves will have a dark grey painted finish to contrast the lighter painted finish of the external surfaces," states a design and access statement.

"This makes clear to onlookers that they are seeing the inside of one wave and the outside of the other."

The bridge will be unlit but there will be a lighting 'transition'.

"For those who are traveling north to south, the transition from lit space to unlit space will be more gradual if it happens before the northern abutment of the bridge, than it would be if it happened at the south abutment, which does not benefit from the spilt light of surrounding streets and buildings," states the application.

Oxford Mail: Oxpens Bridge visualisation

"It is also arguably a safer proposition to allow users to decide if they are comfortable entering an unlit bridge, than forcing them to decide if they are comfortable exiting a lit bridge into an unlit woodland."

The bridge is a requirement of the Oxford Local Plan and is needed to support the proposed redevelopment at Osney Mead.

Funding is from the Oxfordshire Growth Deal, which funds infrastructure to support new housing delivery.

The funding package was set by Oxfordshire County Council.

READ MORE: Man charged in connection with churchyard rape

In March 2020, the city council agreed to take on the role of progressing the bridge through the design, planning and delivery stages on behalf of the county council.

It then became clear that there was a funding gap, but it was agreed with the county council the design would be completed and planning permission secured while work was undertaken to address the funding gap.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery at Oxford City Council, said: “We hope the new bridge will enhance people’s lives as much as it will enhance the unique character of the area.”