Green light for medical facility

Local News

Plans for a major University medical research facility in East Oxford have been given the go-ahead.

The development, earmarked for the Old Road campus in Headington, will enable “world-leading” research to take place in the fields of medicine and science.

Oxford City councillors approved the University’s proposals, which include the creation of 48,000sqm of research space and the demolition of several buildings belonging to the Park Hospital, which was bought from the NHS in August last year.

An Oxford University spokesman commented on the council’s decision, saying: “The University is delighted that the committee and local groups recognised the significance of the development of the site for medical research linking university research and clinical activity.”

Spanning five building plots, this is one of the largest developments the University has planned in recent years.

The spokesman continued: “The application is for outline planning permission, and we envisage the development of the masterplan over a 20 to 25 year period.

“We do not yet have funding secured or agreed for any of the buildings on the site, although we are always actively engaged in seeking funds to develop our world-leading research.”

Despite the University having been praised for its consultation with the local community, concerns have been raised surrounding the inevitable increase in road traffic once construction is complete.

According to the proposals, 952 extra staff members will be working at the site.

Labour councillor Dee Sinclair  (pictured) questioned the logistics of the operation, saying: “I have worked on this site before and I have to say that at peak times it is absolute chaos.”

Lib Dem Carfax Ward councillor Tony Brett was more optimistic, however: “I would be hopeful that many people would be cycling, walking or using public transport, and that people tend to keep less regular hours in research environments. I’d hope that would spread traffic out, reducing congestion pinch-points.”

James McKean, a second year historian at Lincoln, was enthusiastic about the development, commenting that “if I keep up my drinking, then I’ll be sure to benefit from the facility.”


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