The Oxford Trust gets go ahead for Stansfeld Park development

Wednesday 15th February 2017.

The Oxford Trust can announce today that it has received planning permission from Oxford City Council for the development of a science education centre and innovation centre at the Trust’s site – Stansfeld Park – in Headington Quarry.

The Trust, which will invest over £11 million in the development, has exciting plans for the site, including:

  • The Wood Centre for Innovation that will provide ~25,000 sq ft of much-needed innovation space in the city for entrepreneurs, start-up and grow-on companies working in the knowledge intensive areas of science and technology. It will capitalise on the site’s close proximity to the city’s fast-growing heath and data sciences quarter, centred around the University of Oxford’s Old Road Campus, clinical research facilities at local hospitals and Oxford Brookes University. The Oxford Trust has long-term expertise in innovation centres and will ‘twin’ the Stansfeld site with its existing central Oxford facility – The Oxford Centre for Innovation (OCFI.)
  • The Science Oxford Education Centre which will be the UK’s first integrated indoor-outdoor science education centre dedicated to primary-aged children. Science Oxford is the arm of the Trust that focuses on education and public engagement. The knowledge and proven experience of our Science Oxford schools team, along with specialist content partners, will create, develop and deliver exciting curiosity based activities that combine both natural and physical sciences for children aged 4–12, their teachers and families.
  • There will also be an on-site café and a flexible 100-seat theatre venue that is going to be a fantastic resource for the local area as well as for hosting business and public events for visitors and staff on-site.

The new centre sits in a neglected 18-acre mosaic of woodland, ponds and grassland, which will be rejuvenated to create a managed ‘urban wildspace’.
It will be used for a wide range of STEM learning experiences, providing a unique opportunity for young people to explore the natural world and learn what biodiversity is all about.

In addition, the woodland area will be open for the wider community to enjoy – although access is managed to ensure the preservation of the site’s ecology and educational remit. The Trust will work in partnership with environmental charity The Sylva Foundation to improve and manage the woodland. Sylva works across Britain advising on urban forest management, to ensure they thrive for people and for nature.

Steve Burgess, CEO of The Oxford Trust, said: “We are delighted to have received the go ahead for Stansfeld Park today and are grateful for the support it has received. The project represents a continued commitment by The Oxford Trust to prioritise investment in the area of primary science education and support Oxford’s early stage innovation ecosystem. These new centres of excellence will give us the opportunity to expand the impact of our Science Oxford education and engagement programmes as well as providing much needed grow-on space for science and technology start-ups.

John Boyle, Chair of The Oxford Trust, said: “We plan for Stansfeld Park to help inspire the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs to maintain and grow Oxfordshire’s position at the forefront of research and innovation. I am really pleased that this project has been given the green light today: it’s good for science education, entrepreneurs, and the future of our region.

The Stansfeld Park development will enable the Trust to further its mission to encourage the pursuit of science and enterprise across the Oxfordshire region. The Wood Centre for Innovation will act as the ‘economic engine’ for the site: income from the innovation centre will be reinvested to fund the core activities of the Science Oxford centre and its programmes, as well as the management of the surrounding woodland area. The strength of the Trust’s business model for the site is that it is self-sustaining and supports both ends of the science ecosystem, from inspiring young children about the wonders of science to helping science start-ups to develop and grow.

Further information:

Please contact Georgina Matthews at The Oxford Trust
01865 810025
[email protected]