August 2023

Planning application submitted for Begbroke Innovation District – a contemporary new village for Oxfordshire

Circa 1,800 homes, around 50% of which will be affordable

Around 50% of the site will be kept as open space

New employment facilities will expand Begbroke Science Park and provide a boost for the local economy

New schools, shops and restaurants will create a sustainable community

Planning application 23/02098/OUT registered by Cherwell District Council

Oxford University Development (OUD), a joint venture between the University of Oxford and Legal & General, has submitted an outline planning application to Cherwell District Council for a contemporary new village that seeks to redefine the model for a 21st century community.

Located around Begbroke Science Park, just a few miles north of Oxford, Begbroke Innovation District will provide circa 1,800 new homes and create a well-connected, cutting-edge development with environmental sustainability at its heart. Up to three new schools will be built and a range of community facilities including new shops, restaurants and other social infrastructure feature in the proposals, for the benefit of residents and workers.

The proposed Innovation District will build on the 25 year legacy of world-class science and innovation from Oxford University at Begbroke Science Park by providing enhanced facilities and room for future expansion. Up to 155,000m2 of flexible employment space will allow commercial research tenants and University spin-outs to scale-up and expand and will provide new facilities for the University’s pioneering academic research – helping to ensure that Oxfordshire continues to attract and retain the world’s brightest and best talent.

The design of the new village will be highly resilient and environmentally positive – achieving net zero carbon emissions once in operation – and support greater biodiversity through the creation of significant open spaces that will offer new habitats to encourage more wildlife into the area. No fossil fuels will be used as power sources and the use of sustainable forms of transport will be encouraged through a network of pedestrian and cycle routes linking the development to surrounding villages and Oxford.

Anna Strongman, Chief Executive of OUD, said: “Our plans for Begbroke Innovation District have taken an important step forward with the submission of our outline planning application. I’m proud of the proposal we have created, and firmly believe it is driven by science, is embedded in nature and, importantly, has the local community at its core.

“Through our extensive consultation, we have listened to local residents, and their community representatives, and have taken the time to understand the challenges they face and their aspirations for how they want to see their local area develop. Their feedback has played an important role in shaping the proposals we have submitted to Cherwell District Council.

“Our approach includes around half of all homes planned being earmarked for affordable housing tenures, making sure that all of the infrastructure required for a sustainable development of this scale is included within our plans, protecting and enhancing the environment that will form the basis of the new community, and ensuring that we promote a fossil fuel-free energy strategy fit for the future.”

Dr David Prout, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources) at the University of Oxford, added: “Begbroke is the only science park in Oxfordshire wholly owned by Oxford University, and I believe that its place at the heart of this new community creates a unique proposition. It will foster an ecosystem of curiosity, energy and collaborative spirt and connect local people with some of the world’s brightest minds.

“The University’s aim – working with our partners, Legal and General – is for the development to be the best that it can be in terms of creating an attractive, sustainable and welcoming environment for the benefit of existing residents in the area and the new community.”

Mike Coplowe, Head of Development Partnerships at LGIM, said: “Given the incredible research and innovations that have come out of Begbroke Science Park, it’s hugely important that we attract and retain the brightest minds from across the UK and around the world.

“OUD’s proposals for the Begbroke Innovation District will help us attract even more people from across the UK and beyond to live and work in Oxfordshire, benefitting the local, regional and national economies.”

The outline planning application for the site, which has been allocated for development in Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan, seeks to establish a flexible framework to guide how the new village will be delivered.
It includes a series of documents that set out which areas of the site will see development and which will remain as open space. These documents also define the type of development (such as residential or commercial) to be pursued at different parts of the site, along with design principles (such as around height and scale) to guide future, more detailed (reserved matters) planning applications.
The application does not, at this stage, include detailed plans for the Innovation District (such as layouts and final housing numbers), as those typically form part of further planning applications once outline consent has been granted.

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