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Grand designs for £45m science park
RESIDENTS have had their say on plans to build an Oxford University science park in Headington.
The scheme includes the £45m Big Data Institute as its flagship building, alongside an Amenities Building and a 460-vehicle multi-storey car park.
During the first of what the university promises will be three consultations, people on Friday and Saturday inspected the designs and spoke to the team behind them.
Sue Greenwood, of Old Road, Headington, said she was very impressed with what she saw and with proposals to make the park open to the wider community.
She said: “I think it is absolutely brilliant. I like the architectural designs and I think it’s looking great.
“I especially like the way they are thinking about how they can open it up to the community.
“It’s similar to what they’ve done with the Oxford Brookes site, with trees and boulevards so it doesn’t feel too closed in.
“And I think it will be great to bring it up here to Headington and collaborate with the NHS – it is good for Headington and Oxford.”
Highfield Residents’ Association member Patrick Coulter also attended the consultations.
He said: “The offer of amenities is something we welcome, but the problem is that we still don’t really see eye to eye with the university on a lot of things.
“We would like a more rational approach to how many car park spaces are required.
“This is clearly going to be a global development, but we want some more money spent on local amenities and for commitments to be made before, not after, the development is built.”
Work on the Big Data Institute, which Prime Minister David Cameron has said will revolutionise healthcare, could start in September, creating about 400 new jobs, and the Amenities Building would involve 670 jobs in its first 10 years.
The university secured outline planning permission in July and expects that thousands of people could eventually work on the site, next to the Churchill Hospital.
The consultation took place at the Old Road Campus Research Building, off Roosevelt Drive.
A spokesman for the university said it would be the first of three consultations, with the next two coming in May and June.
Oxford University asset manager Carolyn Puddicombe said about 120 members of university staff and 80 members of the public came to the consultations.
She said: “We are grateful to everyone who took the time to attend the public consultation events held last week.”
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