A DEVELOPMENT partner which will take forward construction of Oxford’s £200m Oxpens project has still not been officially appointed.

The scheme, led by Oxford City Council and Nuffield College, is the next phase of the regeneration of the West End, following the revamp of the neighbouring £440m Westgate Centre.

But it is now six months since an announcement regarding the development partner was expected.

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Oxford West End Developments Ltd (OxWED), a joint venture company owned by the council and Nuffield College, appointed consultants Bidwells and JLL to sign up a developer so that building work on about 500 homes, with offices alongside, can start next year or in 2020.

READ AGAIN: Oxpens development partner announcement expected in January

It is understood that a shortlist of three development partners has been drawn up but the long-awaited announcement has not materialised.

A city council spokesman said: “We’ll provide an update when we have one.”

Labour city councillor for Jericho and Osney Colin Cook, also Lord Mayor, said: “I would hope there’s an announcement in the next few months - I am surprised it has not happened yet. Once decking at the Oxpens car park has been moved to Redbridge there could be some more progress.

“I haven’t seen a planning application yet.”

READ AGAIN: How Oxford's next big project could transform the city

The decked area of the car park opposite the Westgate Centre has now been closed.

The car park was built to replace the old Westgate car park, which was demolished to make way for the new shopping centre.

There are now a total of 179 spaces available at the car park where there were 420 spaces.

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The changes result from the expiry of the temporary planning permission for the decking.

READ MORE: Council will move decking across the city despite 26-year payback

The decking is due to be moved to Redbridge park-and-ride off Abingdon Road to help compensate for spaces lost to the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Andrew Gant, leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group, said: “This is the next big project for the city after Westgate and big projects do over-run. The Oxpens scheme is a key part of unlocking the Oxford station redevelopment, which is a separate scheme. There needs to be a strategic overview with public transport management, including the location for a new bus station, factored in.”

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A project to build new student accommodation on the neighbouring former Osney Lane car park is making good progress. Winvic Construction staff are working on a 515- bedroom development for student accommodation provider Student Castle. The accommodation, close to the railway station, will feature student flats, one bed and two-bedroom studios and will be completed by the summer of 2020.