University College’s proposal to build 150 student rooms in Banbury Road has been granted planning permission by Oxford City Council, the college has confirmed.

The development, named Univ North, has been proposed as the largest expansion of University College in three centuries. Univ North will embrace newly bought structures alongside accommodation already owned by the college on Staverton Road. The College has bought two acres of land in North Oxford to allow the project to go ahead.

The new site plans to expand the College’s student accommodation, providing approximately 150 new rooms and flats for undergraduates, postgraduates, and Fellows. Plans for the development also include a nursery for college staff use, a student cafe, a gym, study rooms, and a common space for College events.

Sir Ivor Crewe, Master of University College, commented on the City Council resolution: “We are delighted that the City Council has resolved to grant planning permission for Univ North.

“This represents a momentous opportunity for the College to accommodate and support future generations of students and academics. There is much to do and we look forward to constructive engagement with the local residents, during the build and in operation, in the spirit of good neighbourliness.”

Designed by architect Níall McLaughlin and landscape architect Kim Wilkie, the Univ North project plans to include ecology and conservation into its development. A proposed habitat management policy aims to help the site contribute a 10 per cent increase in net biodiversity.

Lead architect, McLaughlin, described the plans for the project, saying “The proposals will create a new Univ community that complements its High Street site, within a rich variety of shared landscapes.

“The designs respect and enhance the character of the Conservation Area, and sustainability has been a consideration throughout. We are delighted to be working with the College and the team, and look forward to guiding the project to fruition.”

Informal consultations with residents of the North Oxford area were held last year. The planning application was met with concern about impact on the local area.

Image Credit to Bill Boaden. License: CC BY-SA 2.0

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