Presentation from Oxford University
- Meeting of Oxfordshire Growth Board, Monday 11 June 2018 2.00 pm (Item 96.)
- View the background to item 96.
Dr David Prout, Pro-VC (Planning & Resources) has asked to brief the meeting on the current state of Oxford University plans regarding:
· The provision of additional graduate housing;
· The provision of subsidized accommodation for University staff;
· Proposals for substantial investment in academic facilities; and
· Emerging thinking on the research/translation/commercial interface
This will be a 10-15 minute verbal presentation followed by questions from the Board and discussion.
At the invitation of the Growth Board, Dr David Prout, University of Oxford Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources), spoke to the Board about the University’s plans for expansion and provision of housing for students and staff.
In his presentation and in answer to questions from the Board he said in summary:
1. The University was preparing a plan and priorities for new development to 2023 to ensure it remained a world-leading institution both for teaching and research, could cope with the consequences of success, and ensure its future success both as a top university and a contributor to wider economic growth in the county.
2. 40% of its estate had been built since 2000 and numbers of graduates had doubled since 2008. The majority of accommodation was provided by colleges which had their own plans for expansion.
3. The University planned to construct 1000 graduate student units and 1000 units of subsidised housing for junior staff. They were working with SODC and Cherwell District Councils to find a location and were seeking development partners to build the graduate student units and a new community for staff.
4. A total investment of £1.5bn over 10 years would improve facilities across the University and colleges, including expanded facilities across the county: science parks at Begbrooke and Osney Mead; commercial and start-up operations; staff and student accommodation.
5. There were challenges: finding suitable sites; economic uncertainty; capacity to undertake an ambitious growth programme.
6. He asked the Board to work with the University to deliver the University’s vision and to develop shared strategic objectives to provide the right level of accommodation and facilities and spin-off for the wider economy – and a coherent transport strategy to link the county – in order to provide sustainable expansion.
Board Members made comments, summarised as:
1. There was a substantive link between the work of the Growth Board and Oxford University’s plans, as the University’s growth and the county’s success were inter-related. The Board has a remit to ensure all economic activities remained balanced and the county remained a good place to live and work.
2. Building dedicated accommodation for their staff and graduates may be the best way forward: the Board noted Cambridge’s success in this and that discussions had taken place between the universities.
3. The Board were sympathetic to the University’s plans while being mindful of the need to balance the effects and consequences of all the varied activities across the county.
4. Further discussions would be helpful: the University should consider with the Growth Board how to dovetail its expansion plans into the overall plans for the county, and make a strong coherent case to government for the economic and research benefits of the University’s plans in the context of the overall Growth Deal
5. The agreed Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy has mapped out key infrastructure requirements and priorities.
6. Growth also required other essential infrastructure such as communications and IT, and further discussion between the University and Growth Board to define requirements would be helpful.
The Environment Agency representative reminded the University to discuss their plans with the agency at an early stage and not just approach them as a statutory consultee.