We worked with the University of Oxford and the local planning authority, Cherwell district council north Oxfordshire CDC in the development of the Begbroke masterplan. The 430 acre (173 hectare) site, much of which is within the green belt, lies to the north west of the city of Oxford containing and surrounding Begbroke Science Park (BSP). The masterplan will enable coherent planned development to realise the potential of the science park site and sustain growth of research, innovation and employment uses through the provision of flexible R&D space, industrial scale research facilities and greenhouses (for crop science, bio-energy, forest genomics and agritech). In addition, the masterplan considers the provision of key worker housing close to BSP to complement the site’s research activities, encourage sustainable transport choices and support employment generation in the local knowledge-based economy while making a contribution to the established regional need for additional dwellings.
The masterplan comprises 24 hectares for residential development, including houses for postgraduate students and university research staff. Housing is organised in perimeter blocks that promote the continuity of street frontages within the public realm, providing a sense of enclosure and continuity. Retail and services uses for the community are also planned for at the intersection of the four housing blocks. While appropriate arrangements are made for car parking and servicing to buildings, the priority is given to pedestrian and cycle movements. Our vision is of people at Begbroke walking and cycling comfortably between buildings and passing from one landscaped street or square to another, without having to cross vehicle routes. A structure of high quality landscaped outdoor spaces is therefore proposed, with tree-lined street and squares, which create an attractive sense of place.
We designed the development around the science park as a series of layers. First, the road network is established with the aim of organising efficient vehicular movement on the site and minimising its impact on the operation of the campus. Over that, a network of pedestrian boulevards and cycling paths is arranged facilitating and prioritising pedestrian movement between the buildings. The trees and gardens that form the landscape lie along the pedestrian boulevards, paths and roads so that nature is present throughout the science park. Overlaid, the buildings define the public spaces and guide pedestrians around the site.