A REVIEW has been launched into the future of the site next to Oxford’s historic castle mound after plans to build a £35m Science Discovery and Innovation Centre there were scrapped.

Science Oxford has announced it has scrapped its plans to build The Magnet, which was to have been a landmark building attracting 150,000 visitors a year.

Now Oxfordshire County Council has launched a review into the future of the 100-year-old register office at the corner of Tidmarsh Lane. It was to have moved into nearby County Hall once its building was demolished.

Council spokesman Paul Smith said it was too early to say whether the registration service would still move into County Hall or whether it would be staying.

He said: “The new position as regards the Magnet only became clear earlier this week.

“What we will now do is review our position in light of that announcement.”

Heritage groups said the new building – designed by Foster and Partners – would spoil views of the Mound and mean the demolition of the 100-year-old register office.

Science Oxford had considered scaling down the scheme, dropping designs for a spectacular world class planetarium shaped like a cut diamond.

But faced with a drastically reduced scheme, the charity has now decided the Magnet was no longer viable.


Steve Burgess

Steve Burgess, chief executive of Science Oxford, pictured said: “The decision has been taken because of a combination of factors.

Planning restrictions have limited the use of the site.”