A NEW engineering building is to be built at Oxford Brookes University’s campus at Headington Hill.

Oxford City Council, the planning authority, approved the university’s plans for a two storey teaching and workshop building, consisting of 2247sqm of floor space, which will be used by their school of engineering.

The building will be sited in the northeast corner of the campus, on an area currently used as a staff and visitor car park.

It will be split into three blocks, with two pitched roof gable ended workshop buildings linked by a flat roofed two storey central bay.

Jerry Woods, director of estates and campus services at the university, said: “The proposal is important not only for the university and our students but it will also boost the city’s and wider region’s STEM and creative industries – it will create a facility that improves local collaboration and helps meet the needs of the industry.”

The university said that the site is “in a very sustainable location in relation to public transport access and is considered to be very accessible by walking and cycling” and that the reduction in parking spaces would contribute to an overall reduction in vehicle movements, which would be beneficial to both the environment and the local road network.

Councillor Louise Upton said: “I think we are very lucky in Oxford to have two superb universities – this application has a real emphasis on reducing carbon footprint and it is wonderful to hear that they are prepared to build a more expensive building but one that will have a lower carbon footprint.

“It’s the way we all have to go so it’s great to hear that and I’m especially excited to hear that there are going to be some more science and engineering spaces at this university from now on.”

The university’s school of engineering, computing and mathematics is currently based at their Wheatley campus but is being vacated ahead of potential redevelopment of the site to provide 500 homes, for which planning permission has already been granted.

The council also approved revised plans for the university’s former Helena Kennedy Centre, also on the Headington Hill site. 

Planning permission was granted in 2018 for the demolition of the centre, which is a large two storey building used for teaching purposes and its replacement with a new two storey building.

The new plans involve the provision of an additional basement level to the building, revisions to the façade and fenestration design, surrounding hard and soft landscaping and changes to the car and cycle parking provision, including reduced provision compared with the approved plans.

Specifically, the changes are:

• Additional basement level added

• Rotation of rooflights to respond to internal circulation

• Café relocated from first floor to ground floor

• Landscape levels to perimeter re-graded without affecting relationship to

surrounding trees

• Façade reorganised to suit internal programme over three floors

• Building to be set into ground at Headington Road end to maintain existing levels and massing relationship to the Gatehouse and site entrance

• First floor balcony removed from façade facing Headington Hill Hall

• Additional cycle shelters to serve the new building

• Revisions to landscaping

• Reduction in car parking spaces surrounding the site