£14m expansion plan for the JR approved

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The City Council has approved £14m plans by Oxford University to redevelop a Radcliffe Infirmary building for use by a medical research centre.

The former Outpatients Building on Woodstock Road has been unoccupied since 2007. The new plan proposes to move the University’s Department of Primary Care Health Sciences into the site by 2015, after building a large glass infill on the north face of the building overlooking an atrium space.

The Department undertakes research on the essential services provided by GP practices. It also teaches part of the undergraduate course in Medicine and arranges vocational placements for medical students.

The Department is currently dispersed across three sites in Oxford. This site currently houses the Humanities Divisional Office, the Mathematical Institute, and accommodation for Somerville students, and has been described by the University as “one of the most significant development projects we have undertaken for more than a century”.

Staff said the redevelopment was a result of the department’s success. Professor Richard Hobbs, Head of Department, said that “success in terms of the ranking of the quality of our research and teaching” has the “inevitable consequence that we need more staff.”

Students expressed positive feelings about the redevelopment. George Gillett, a Medicine student at St Anne’s, said it was “great news”.

“Not only will investments like this maintain Oxford’s position as a world leader in medical research worldwide, but it will ensure an inquisitive and forward-thinking environment for students to learn in.”

“It is vital to see continued investment like this in order to maintain the high level of education that Oxford provides,” he added.

The newly approved plans are the latest in a string of projects undertaken by the university since the Radcliffe Infirmary relocated and vacated its entire 10-acre site in 2007.