We carried out a review of the estate owned by the University of Leicester in Oadby as part of our preparation of the University’s Development Plan 2002, which considered the development potential of all of the University sites over the next thirty years. Part of the estate is in the Oadby Hilltop Conservation Area. The distinguishing characteristics of the place include fine Edwardian buildings (some listed and some of local historic significance, by Stockdale and Shirley Harrison, Bedingfield and others ); notable buildings from the mid - 20th Century (by Denys Lasdun, Sheppard Robson and Leonard Manasseh); the Botanic Gardens (maintained by the University but open to the public) and wide tree-lined streets with buildings set well back from the roads. Our initial proposal for Oadby envisaged new residences carefully sited in the spacious landscape concealed from view by mature trees and shrubs.

The University decided to develop these ideas in 2003 and seek planning consent for a masterplan or development framework for the Oadby Campus, taking in all parts of the University estate, including sports fields on Stoughton Road and an adjacent site which had been excluded from our earlier appraisal and the subject of a previous planning application for a Management Training Centre. Working with a team of consultants and closely liaising with the planning officers of the Borough of Oadby and Wigston, and in consultation with local residents, we developed a strategy for new development based upon a series of principles and an illustrative masterplan which could evolve over coming years. Future revisions to the masterplan need not require a new planning application for consent, provided that they are mutually acceptable to the University and the Planning Authority and are true to the agreed principles.

The benefits of this approach were intended to be that both the University and the Authority could adopt a holistic approach and plan with confidence and a degree of certainty for the future, rather than treating each part of the estate in isolation.