Concerns over Oxford University building development

Thames Water has raised concerns over Oxford University’s development plans. A £45m research building may be held back by fears the Headington sewage network won’t be able to function properly under added pressure.

According to the Oxford Mail, Thames Water has argued that the Big Data Institute may be too much. It has said Oxford must ensure the sewage system can cope with the added impact of the development project prior to any work beginning.

The Mail reported on a letter from Thames Water to Oxford City Council, which said, ““With the information provided Thames Water has been unable to determine the waste water infrastructure needs of this application.”

They specify fears of development leading to “sewage flooding” and subsequently encourage the council to conduct a sewage study before any building work commences. The utility company requested a council imposed “Grampian condition”. This would restrict building work, and potentially halt it completely, until a survey of the system had been carried out.

Quoted in the Oxford Mail, Headington City councillor Ruth Wilkinson said, “I am not surprised people are concerned about it and I have asked the questions and I have been told that there will be a plan in place which will be signed off before building work takes place.”

“So as far as I can see, it should be part of the planning process.”

Speaking to the Mail, an University spokesperson said: “The university continues to work closely with planners on reserved matters relating to the outline planning permission granted for the Big Data Institute and will of course comply with all conditions required of it.”