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BDP lead architect for Oxford's new £400m Westgate Centre

BDP has been appointed by the Westgate Oxford Alliance (Land Securities and The Crown Estate) to prepare and lead the masterplan for the retail led mixed use development of the Westgate Centre and adjacent land. BDP will be lead architect in the selected group of five architects (selected through competition) and will submit an Outline Planning application in the summer of 2013.

The scheme will form a new quarter on 5.6 hectares to the south west of Oxford City Centre.  The masterplan responds to Oxford’s key characteristics notably; its heritage by integrating the scheme into the urban fabric and providing views to the city spires; the grid of streets – by completing a series of east-west lanes connecting to the primary streets; the college quads – by balancing these private spaces with new public squares and, the extensive waterways – through a new riverside walk and apartments overlooking the stream.

The masterplan is based on a group of individually designed blocks (to be designed by a carefully selected team of architects), which will define the public streets and spaces.  Covered streets will open onto the surrounding streets of Oxford, providing a protected route leading from the existing high street to a new John Lewis department store.  The east-west lanes will pass through the development, forming connections between the Castle Quarter and adjacent Colleges and between adjacent residential areas on either side of the site.

The shopping and leisure facilities will be arranged with two public levels and a third level roof terrace overlooking the city roofscape of towers and spires.  The masterplan will include the existing public library, residential apartments, 1,000 basement car parking spaces and integrated vehicle servicing.  Bus routes will be altered around the site and city centre to improve accessibility and the quality of the high street.

Construction work is planned to start at the end of 2014 with the new quarter opening in 2017.