Oxford City Council have resolved to grant planning permission for an important project to replace and expand the graduate housing at Court Place Gardens in Iffley.
The development is being brought forward by Oxford University Development Limited (OUD), a development company set up following the formation of the joint venture between Oxford University and Legal and General.
Redeveloping Court Place Gardens will help deliver the commitment to create 1,000 new units of graduate housing set out in the University’s current Strategic Plan. Now that the project has planning consent, work is expected to start on site in early 2022 and to finish ahead of the 2024-25 academic year.
The whole site will include an integrated sustainable drainage system, incorporating bioswales and rain gardens to slow the runoff of water from the site and reduce flood risk. It will also include landscaped courtyards, play areas and other communal facilities. The site’s existing gardens will be reinvigorated, new wildflower meadows created, bat and bee boxes added to trees and houses, and as many large trees as possible left in place. All planting decisions will be made with wildlife habitat in mind, with the overall goal of increasing the site’s biodiversity by at least 10%. There will be plentiful secure cycle storage and a network of electric vehicle charging points.
Plans for the site have been drawn up in close consultation with heritage and ecological experts to ensure they respect the local built environment and ecosystem. Access to the nearby University-owned woodland for the public will be maintained, and a long-term programme of work designed to open up the woodland’s canopy, create a new path to improve access and provide habitat for a wider range of wild plants and animals has already begun.
The plans incorporate feedback received from local people and stakeholder groups, as well as across the University, following a public consultation carried out in spring 2021. OUD is managing the project and will continue to meet local representatives regularly to address any concerns. Traffic and noise management plans will be put in place before construction starts to help limit any disruption to those living nearby.
As well as replacing and increasing the number of graduate houses on the site, refurbishment of the Mansion House is also planned. Most of this work is covered by separate applications for planning and listed building consent, on which a decision is expected in early 2022.
OUD’s purpose is to design and deliver exemplary, sustainable development that meets the needs of Oxford University while also providing benefits to local communities. Court Place Gardens is one of several projects it is tasked with delivering; the others include the Life and Mind Building, which will provide superb new teaching, learning and research space for the biological and psychological sciences at Oxford, and the creation of new innovation districts at Begbroke and Osney Mead.