Oxford University plans to acquire the Headington Park Hospital site from the Oxford Health NHS Trust and turn it into a medical science centre. To supplement the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospital biomedical research facilities, four new labs will be created on the site in Headington which adjoins the Old Road campus.
The development of the hospital complex is expected to take up to 30 years to complete. The main hospital will initially continue to be used by the NHS on a 20 year lease, but will eventually be knocked down.
The site, to include a multi-storey car park, restaurant, shop and gym, is expected to employ 3,000 people.
Professor Rodney Phillips, of the Nuffield Department of Medicine, said “For many years, biomedical research in Oxford has taken place on the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospital sites, which we have developed. Currently building is taking place for the Kennedy Institute. We have developed our research so that, on some scales, we are the best.”
“This larger and better facility will lead to new ways of treating disease. Spin-off companies are often local, leading to many jobs being created. For the city and the county, the fact that the university is very strong in this area provides jobs and wealth creation.”
He also responded to critics, claiming that “We have put an enormous effort into consultation with residents, the council and the county council and I feel that we have addressed most of their concerns.”
“There is a very regulated environment. We have a travel regulatory plan, which means that Oxford will restrict access to the site, improve public transport, and encourage public transport for its staff, partly by making a contribution to the council.”
Local residents have expressed some concerns regarding proposals contrary to council policy, including building heights, increased parking, and how well the new buildings will blend with their environment.
Harry Edwards, Planning Secretary of the Highfield Residents Association (HRA), said ‘We hope that the Park Development Proposals will be more specific on how it intends to support the local community as its impact increases.”
The University have submitted the planning application to the Oxford City Council. Headington Action and HRA expect the City Council to review the proposal to assess the full impact on traffic, travel plans and gauge the efficiency of the use of the development sites surrounding Headington.