Following formal agreement from Oxford City Council, a major development to deliver nearly 3,000 new homes is set to move forward.
The development of the site, sitting on an area of land in the south of Oxford, has long been an ambition of the council, which it is hoped will help alleviate some of the need for housing in the city.
The housing site falls largely within South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) boundaries and had been incorporated within the SODC Local Plan 2011-2035 adopted in December 2020. Nearly 3,000 new homes are to be delivered, with 2,480 of these expected during the period of this local plan.
Under that plan, half of the homes are required to be affordable, with 35% of these at social rent, 40% affordable rent and 25% low cost home ownership (for example, shared ownership).
The proposed development – known as South Oxfordshire Science Village (SOSV) – will also feature an extension to the Oxford Science Park, new schools, open spaces, community facilities and shops, as well as improvements to sustainable travel. These could include a new Park and Ride and the reopening of the Cowley branch line at the science park.
SODC released the SOSV site from the Green Belt during the adoption of its Local Plan for “exceptional reasons” which include providing for Oxford’s unmet housing need – in particular the need for affordable housing – close to where that need arises. While Oxford’s own Local Plan supports the delivery of nearly 11,000 new homes by 2036, this will involve building up to the city’s boundaries and will still not be enough to meet Oxford’s housing needs.
SOSV will also contribute to the regeneration of Blackbird Leys as well as providing better sustainable travel and an extension to the science park.
Speaking ahead of the cabinet meeting to decide on the project, Cllr Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery at Oxford City Council, said: “It’s been a longstanding ambition of the city council to develop our land at Grenoble Road, to provide some of the homes needed to meet demand for affordable housing in Oxford.
“The allocation of the land in the South Oxfordshire Local Plan and the council’s partnership with Magdalen College and Thames Water – the other landowners in the area – allows that ambition to be realised.
“The allocation of this site for just under 3,000 homes includes a requirement that half will be affordable tenures – including council homes, sub-market affordable rent and shared ownership homes.
“There’s a lot to do before a planning application is submitted, and we’ll be working hard with Thames Water and Magdalen College to put a development agreement in place and bring in a partner to help share the risks of the scheme and get the building of these new homes under way.”
“We’re already working closely with our friends at South Oxfordshire District Council, who are the planning authority, and look forward to realising a shared vision with them for this important new development on the edge of Oxford.”