Scheme includes new laboratories, offices and homes

Plans for a £500m new life sciences district in Oxford have taken a leap forward after the successful conclusion of discussions on the project’s £8m Section 106 Agreement.

Outline planning consent has been granted for the scheme’s masterplan, which is set to see nearly 90,000sq m of new laboratories and workspaces for biomedical science built for Thomas White Oxford, the development company of Oxford University’s St John’s College.

Oxford North new life sciences district The Red Hall and laboratory buildings and park to be built at Oxford North (

The Red Hall, a workspace for start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers, has already been granted detailed planning approval

The 64-acre new district, called Oxford North, will also contain 480 new homes, shops, bars restaurants, a hotel and 23 acres of open spaces including three new parks.

Work will also involve improvements to the nearby A40 and A44.

Firms working on the job include Fletcher Priest Architects, cost consultant Gardiner & Theobald as well as engineer AKT II and M&E engineer Hoare Lea. Landscape architect is Townshend.

Detailed planning approval has already been granted for the first phase of the scheme, which is set to provide more than 13,000sq m of new laboratories and office space in three buildings.

Included in this part of the scheme is The Red Hall, a workspace for start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers with capacity for 300 workers and two connected laboratory and workspace buildings totalling more than 5,000sq m over four floors.

Charles Rowton-Lee, the head of commercial at Savills Oxford, which is also working on the scheme, said the success of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine had helped to drive demand for laboratories and office space in the city as firms scramble to be associated with the high level of academia in the region.

A £260m Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Harwell, Oxfordshire, is also currently being built by main contractor Glencar after the local council fast tracked the scheme’s planning application last year.