The West End regeneration incorporates many different development schemes and projects; each project owner, landowner or developer will seek to encourage public feedback via consultation exhibitions, feedback forms and questionnaires, or through participation at workshops and meetings, giving you the opportunity to comment on development and influence decisions. For information about consultations, past and present, please see our Public Consultation Diary below.
Plans for a redeveloped and expanded Westgate Centre were unveiled on 13 June 2013. These plans are part of a wider vision for Oxford's West End that includes the expansion of Oxford Station, the transformation of Frideswide Square and the regeneration of Oxpens.
The outline plans, prepared by the Westgate Alliance (a joint venture between The Crown Estate and Land Securities) in partnership with Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, will see the existing centre significantly extended and refurbished, creating a world-class retail and leisure destination that will provide a major boost to Oxford’s city centre with new shops, cafes, public squares and thousands of new jobs.
The new Westgate will not be an enclosed shopping centre but instead comprise a series of new spaces and streets, some of which will be covered to create a pleasant pedestrian environment. The development proposals include:
- Around 70 new shops including a 10,000 sq m John Lewis department store;
- New leisure uses, cafes and restaurants and potentially a cinema;
- New covered streets and public squares/spaces;
- A new roof top terrace with views over the city;
- New basement car park of up to 1100 spaces;
- New cycle parking;
- At least 27 new homes adjacent to Castle Mill Stream;
- New public conveniences; and
- Retention of the existing public library with a new enhanced entrance on Castle Street.
A series of public consultation exhibition events were launched in June 2013 giving residents the oportunity to view and comment on the plans in person or via the Consultation Website until 30 July 2013. An eight day public consultation exhibition on the outline proposals attracted 1,200 people. Four pop-up events were also held around Oxford to promote the consultation and canvass local opinion on the future development of the site. The consultation engaged attendees on outline proposals for the site and included an illustrative masterplan designed by architects, BDP, on how the development could provide new retail and leisure uses in the heart of Oxford, including a John Lewis department store. Over 228 feedback forms were returned providing views and comments on the initial ideas. The consultation showed that of those who responded 71% thought Oxford City Centre would benefit from the proposed development. A separate consultation was held by Oxfordshire County Council on access and transport around Westgate and the wider city centre. This consultation is now closed but you can view the details at the Transport Strategy Consultation Webpage.
A decision on the outline planning application is expected to be made in early 2014, with construction potentially starting later in the year and a new centre opening in 2017.
For more information about the Westgate Centre, click here.
The Oxpens site represents one of the most significant development opportunities in Oxford city centre and has the potential to make a valuable contribution to the life and economy of the local area and Oxford as a whole. The site, between Oxford Railway Station, the Westgate Centre and the River Thames, provides an opportunity to deliver much-needed housing and local amenities.
Oxford City Council has an adopted Core Strategy and West End Area Action Plan which outline the policies for development on the Oxpens site along with other key West End development sites, such as Oxford Station, Frideswide Square and the Westgate Centre. In 2012 Oxford City Council commissioned a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to determine how these policies can be interpreted and implemented, and to set out th council's aspirations for the Oxpens site, such as the preferred mix of housing, employment uses, open space and community facilities.
Members of the public were invited to comment on the draft SPD for a six-week period, from Monday 17 June until Monday 29 July 2013. A total of 143 responses from organisations and individuals were received including 38 letters/emails and 105 responses to the questionnaire. All responses can be viewed at the Oxpens SPD Consultation website. These responses were processed, analysed and carefully considered, and where appropriate, have informed revisions to the draft SPD. This revised version of the SPD was adopted by Oxford City Council's Executive Board on November 13 2013 and can be viewed, along with other relevant documents, at the Oxford City Council website.
For more information about Oxpens, click here.
Oxford Station is an important gateway to Oxford and the West End, however it is in need of significant upgrading, both in terms of operational performance and passenger provision. Plans to redevelop the station have intensified over the past few years as it has become evident that the station's long-term needs will soon outstrip its capacity.
In 2012 the Government announced its intention to provide further investment in the national rail network, including significant investment at Oxford Station. Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council have since formed a partnership with Network Rail to prepare a masterplan which will outline the long-term vision for the station and surrounds. The masterplan, which will be delivered in spring 2014, sets out the long-term vision for the station taking into account all rail proposals, such as Electrification, the Oxford Corridor Capacity Improvement scheme, the East-West rail link (including Phase 1 - the link from Oxford to London Marylebone via Bicester) and the Oxford Area Signalling Renewal Scheme. It will also consider the role of the station in the wider regeneration of Oxford’s West End, particularly with the regard to the transformation of Frideswide Square, the enhancement of the western approach to the city centre, the redevelopment of the Westgate Centre and the regeneration of Oxpens.
In spring 2013 the design consultancy, Aedas, was appointed to develop a number of options for the proposed redevelopment of Oxford Station. Following significant input from stakeholders Aedas has created a number of proposed options for the station redevelopment which were carefully evaluated by Network Rail, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council throughout autumn 2013. Aedas's final report is currently being finalised and is expected to be delivered in spring 2014.
In addition to stakeholdrr engagament, regular public meetings have been held to give local residents and the wider public an opportunity to get involved in the planning process for the station. In early 2013 Network Rail submitted its plan for Oxfordshire's railways from 2014 - 2019 to the Office of Rail Regulation. In January 2013 a public meeting was held at Oxford Town Hall to discuss the plan which attracted over 100 attendees and sparked lively discussion around passenger provision and the location and design of a proposed redeveloped Oxford Station. Other public meetings, including the the Central, South and West Area Forum, have been held throughout the pre-planning stages of the station project and continue to provide an important forum to discuss issues of local concern around the redevelopment proposals. Details of these meetings and other opportunities to participate locally can be found on our Community Involvement pages.
Network Rail’s earlier plan to create a platform on the Becket Street car park along with the County Council's plan to replace Botley Road Bridge have been considered as part of the background to the masterplanning process. Click here to read a summary of this earlier consultation (held in 2010) or view the exhibition posters.
For more information about Oxford Station, click here.
The transformation of Frideswide Square from a congested junction to a functional and welcoming public space is a key priority for the West End Partnership and Oxfordshire County Council. Frideswide Square is part of a wider vision for the West End that includes the expansion of Oxford Station, the regeneration of Oxpens and the transformation of the Westgate Centre and the western approach to the city centre.
Since the Government's announcement in summer 2012 of major new investment in the national rail network, the City and County Councils have been working with Network Rail to prepare a masterplan on the long-term vision for Oxford Station and the surrounding areas - Frideswide Square in particular.
This follows the development of two preferred design options for Frideswide Square which emerged from extensive stakeholder and public consultation in 2010-11 along with traffic modelling and background and feasibility work. Both options are based on the 'shared space' principle which would see traffic lights replaced with compact roundabouts, reduced road widths and courtesy crossing points. The public consultation included a questionnaire in which residents were asked to share their views on the current state of the square and their priorities for its future. This consultation revealed a high level of dissatisfaction with Frideswide Square in its current state - see the ambitions document for details.
Subsequently, local organisations, stakeholders and the public were invited to give their views on the design and preparatory work via a more detailed questionnaire. For more information on this phase of consultation please read the background documentation.
Further public consultation on Oxford Station and Frideswide Square will follow - please keep an eye on this website for details - but in the meantime if you would like to find out more about the redevelopment or participate in the discussion, public meetings are a great place to do this. Locally, these include the the Central, South and West Area Forum and West Oxford Matters, both of which provide a valuable forum to discuss issues of local concern around the future of Frideswide Square and Oxford Station. Details of these meetings and other opportunities to participate locally can be found on our Community Involvement pages.
Work on Frideswide Square and Oxford Station, along with other major West End projects, such as Oxpens and Westgate, is being managed in an integrated way by the West End team and Key Stakeholders and will be carefully phased to cause minimum disruption as the regeneration progresses.
For more information about Frideswide Square, click here.
The Oxford Wayfinding Project was launched in 2010 to look at ways of updating the city centre's twenty year old wayfinding system. Widespread consultation took place in 2010-11, initially focusing on key stakeholders such as cultural and heritage organisations, local businesses, universities, accessibility groups and senior councillors.
Residents and visitors were then asked to give their views in an Oxford-wide public consultation in Autumn 2011; Two prototype signs were installed in Bonn Square and St Ebbe's Street to enable people to see the proposed designs in situ and provide informed feedback. Over 120 people responded to the questionnaire, with around 50 of these providing detailed comments and suggestions. Several changes were incorporated into the design of the signs as a result of this consultation.
A new wayfinding system has now been installed that enhances the experience of visiting, working or living in Oxford by:
- Providing clear directional and map information to visitors;
- Providing useful information for residents and encourages alternative routes;
- Showcasing a strong design which reflects Oxford’s unique character and history; and
- Minimising street clutter by integrating directional information with maps, resulting in fewer signs.
The sign family includes large and small map monoliths, wall-mounted maps and traditional fingerposts. The finished signs incorporate design features, such as bronze posts, that complement Oxford’s architecture and the materials have been carefully chosen to ensure they will be durable, adaptable and affordable to maintain. The new system is one of the first in the UK to combine wayfinding boards with state-of-the-art technology that allows the user to access information via smart phones.
For more information about the Oxford Wayfinding Project, click here.
Science Oxford has unveiled plans to build a £35m Science Discovery and Innovation Centre, known as the Magnet, that will feature a domed, immersive theatre and a series of galleries that showcase the discoveries that drive Oxford’s economy. The state-of-the-art facility, next to the historic Castle Mound, is expected to become a major tourist attraction, attracting as many as 150,000 visitors a year and generating £128m for the economy over 10 years.
Science Oxford is keen to hear what people think of their plans and to find out what they'd like to see in the new centre. To this end members of the public were invited to contribute their views at three consultation workshops in late 2010.
Following this, the public were again asked to share their views when the designs for the visitor attraction, produced by architects Foster & Partners, were put on display on Wednesday 21 November and Saturday 24 November. A planning application is expected to be submitted by the end of the year with a construction start in early 2015 and opening of the centre in 2016.
For more information about Science Oxford's exciting new home, click here.
OLD FIRE STATION
The 'new' Old Fire Station was reopened on November 4th, 2011, after a large-scale refurbishment. The result is a modern and dynamic centre where performance, education and training combine in an impressive building re-designed by architects Fielden Clegg Bradley. Oxford City Council and Crisis formed an alliance in 2008 to bid for funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to redevelop the 115-year-old building.
The new facility now houses Crisis Skylight Oxford, which provides education, training and employment services for homeless and vulnerably housed people, along with Arts at the Old Fire Station, an independent charity which offers professional development for artists, creative activities for the general public, and a shop selling the work of local artists.
Widespread consultation took place in 2009-10 with key stakeholders, including homelessness organisations, senior councillors, accessibility groups, and arts and cultural organisations. Public consultation events were held in October, 2009, and February, 2010, giving people the opportunity to view and comment on the proposed designs for the building.
Local residents were then invited to a public information session to view the final designs for the building and meet the contractor. Details of these public consultation sessions, including earlier designs, can be found at the Crisis Skylight website, or you can view the exhibition boards here.
For more information about the Old Fire Station redevelopment, click here.
FISHER ROW POCKET PARK
The Fisher Row pocket park improvement scheme was completed in late 2010, opening up the Castle Mill Stream waterside walkway as a convenient, attractive and safe central route between north and south Oxford. The scheme was a key platform of the West End Partnership's programme of improvements to public spaces along the central waterside corridor, which saw significant upgrades to the neighbouring Hythe Bridge Pocket Park and Lower Fisher Row Gardens.
The improvement works included replacing the old footpath surfacing, extending the steps, cleaning the stonework on the bridge, introducing new street furniture, upgrading the street lighting, and carrying out general maintenance such as repairing stonework and re-pointing.
Oxford residents were invited to consult on the improvements to Fisher Row pocket park in February 2010, as part of the West End Community Group meeting. There was broad support for the project and some useful suggestions were incorporated into the work, which was completed in autumn 2010.
For more information about the Fisher Row scheme click here.
ST EBBE'S STREET
The redevelopment of St Ebbe's Street, between Pembroke Street and Bonn Square, is a key aim of the West End regeneration, and preliminary work is in progress to assess the viability of the scheme. As part of this preliminary work, a public consultation was held from May 21st to June 28th, 2010. For details of this consultation, and more information about the proposed improvement scheme, please visit the Ambitions for St Ebbe's Street webpage.
For more information about St Ebbe's Street click here.
Consultation ended March 2009. A phased programme of improvements to Queen Street was delivered on time and to budget in Summer 2009. The work involved:
- Relocating bus stops from Queen Street to nearby streets;
- Reducing the number of buses passing through Queen Street by around one third:
- Creating more space for pedestrians;
- Resurfacing pavements and the road; and
- Replacing street furniture (benches, cycle racks etc)
For more information see the Transform Oxford website.