A move out of Wheatley and back into Oxford would be an historic step for Oxford Brookes University.

It has been at the site — in one form or another — since the 1960s, when the Lady Spencer-Churchill College of Education was set up there and later absorbed in the 1970s.

Yet after a startlingly good past 20 years and the recent completion of a new campus building in Headington, it is not surprising that university leaders are looking at how to bring the rest of the estate up to scratch.

And the campus in Wheatley — though home to some newer buildings used by the school of technology — is hardly a bastion of modern architecture.

It also comes at a time when the university is trying to meet ambitious energy-saving targets and trying to succeed amid an ever-tightening squeeze on Government spending in higher education. 
Despite this, it has at the end of this year been recognised nationally for its world-leading research and won a plethora of well-deserved architecture awards for its striking John Henry Brookes Building.

In its own words, the project has been the most significant in its history and came just a year before the university starts its celebrations to mark its 150th anniversary.

So there is no doubt that as the university looks back on its past, and forward to its future, there will be new directions it wants to take and new standards to live up to.

Maintaining ageing buildings is a costly exercise and if you have space available in other areas you can use more efficiently then it makes sense to do just that. Indeed, the easiest way to red uce your estate costs is to downsize your estate.

But if there is to be a substantial reorganisation then the university must remain acutely aware of Oxford’s increasingly clogged traffic situation.

Even if — as the university has claimed in the past — the majority of business students travel out to Wheatley currently, it is likely that a change of campus for them will result in extra disruption to areas such as Headington as more students use the bus services.

It must also address the basic yet fundamental question of where relocated academic staff would park, as well as spell out other long-term development plans at Headington.

But most importantly, it must make clear to staff — across all its campuses — what its plans are and how they will be affected.