Planning and Development

Estates Services staff play a vital role in planning the future development of the University estate, working with key University committees and external stakeholders to ensure this meets the University’s long-term needs.

Town planning

To ensure all major developments run smoothly, Estates Services has robust planning procedures in place. These include providing guidance to colleagues within Estates Services on who is responsible for different aspects of particular projects, information about likely timescales including public consultation, and advice on how to comply with Local Authority procedures.

The Director of Asset & Space Management is directly responsible for all aspects of town planning, but in practice much of the role is delegated to the Asset & Space Management Town Planner. On a day-to-day basis, the Town Planner deals with any issues surrounding planning permission for the development of land, including changes of use for buildings, planning permission for new developments, and Listed Building Consent to carry out works in and around Oxford’s many historic landmarks. The Town Planner also writes reports for University committees and sub-committees, and ensures that planning-related projects follow the correct path through the University’s governance structure.

The Town Planner works closely with other Estates Services teams, including Capital Projects and Conservation & Buildings, to provide seamless delivery of projects. Representatives from each team meet regularly with Oxford City Council officers to discuss upcoming proposals and the best way to move them forward, and facilitate the smooth progress of projects through the planning process.

The Town Planner co-ordinates the University’s input into policy planning documents at local, regional, and national levels in Local Authority areas where the University has an interest. Recent examples of this work include managing the University’s representations in response to the Cherwell Local Plan Part 1 Review and Oxford City Council’s Local Plan, the second of which aims to structure the City’s development over the coming decades. The Town Planner’s involvement helps ensure the University’s long-term goals are considered in the development of planning policies.

The Town Planner also works closely with colleges, the City Council, and other local stakeholders on initiatives including the masterplanning of large University sites and the Development Framework Plan (DFP), a document that will provide strategic direction for future development, and for planning and management of property assets over the next ten years.

The DFP focuses on key development clusters where the University has land interests around Oxford and where working with other parties is more conducive to collective success than proceeding alone. Projects that form part of the DFP include those within the City, such as the re-development of Osney Mead, as well as others that are further afield, such as the development of hospital sites in Headington and the Begbroke Science Park.

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Capital planning

The University’s programme of capital projects is shaped by the Capital Masterplan, which establishes the facilities needed to meet academic requirements and identifies priorities to enable efficient resource allocation. 

Estates Services contributes to the Capital Masterplan, working closely with academic divisions and PRAS. To find out more please visit Capital Projects masterplans.

Strategic Partnerships

As a significant part of the fabric of the city of Oxford, the University works closely with key stakeholders to support policy development at all levels to ensure that the regulatory environment supports the teaching and research that deliver so much value to the city and beyond. These stakeholders range from colleges, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme, the West End Steering Group, the Environment Agency and central government.