The University of Gloucestershire has submitted an outline planning application to Gloucester City Council to develop the Oxstalls/Plock Court site in Longlevens. This marks the next major step towards realising its ambitious vision to develop new facilities for teaching, business services, sport and accommodation in Gloucester, in partnership with the City and County Councils.
This vision would see Oxstalls Campus, which is already home to The Growth Hub, become the new base for the University’s Business School. That will bring business education, economic development and business services under one roof, with benefits for students and businesses. At the same time, working with the City and County Councils, Aspire Sports & Cultural Trust, and a range of local and national sports governing bodies, the University’s plans will link together and expand the sporting facilities available on Oxstalls Campus, Oxstalls Sports Park, and the school playing fields at Bishops College. The facilities will benefit both students and the community, and will be developed and run in partnership between the University and Aspire.
Over the past six months, extensive consultation has taken place with local residents and key stakeholders to work through some of the significant challenges as the proposals were developed.
The full application documents will be available to view shortly on the City Council’s website. The City Council will then undertake a period of statutory public consultation to give the public the opportunity to comment on the plans.
Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Marston, said: “This outline planning application presents an ambitious vision for the University, working with our partners, to achieve a major development of academic, sporting and amenity facilities for the City of Gloucester. The University is committed to playing an active part in promoting the economic, cultural and social wellbeing of the City and the County. These plans would enable us to achieve a step change in the contribution we can make:
- They would allow the University to transfer our Business School from Cheltenham to Gloucester, so that we can integrate the Business School with the Growth Hub, providing a wider range of services to support business growth and economic development in Gloucestershire.
- They would create a major new centre for sports facilities and activities, building on the existing Oxstalls Sports Centre and the Plock Court playing fields. This would benefit a wide range of sports teams, and public health, as well as University students and staff.
- They would create a new landscaped area, accessible to the local community.
- They would allow the University to expand student numbers, bringing talented young people to the City.
- Indirectly, that growth in student numbers would also enable the University to support the planned regeneration of the Blackfriars/Quayside site in the centre of Gloucester, with benefits for the economy, culture, nightlife, and the overall quality of life in the City.
“It has taken a great deal of work by many people to get to this point. We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed by attending one of the three public exhibitions, the residents’ workshop, or by contacting us directly to share their views or concerns about the impacts of the development.
“In the light of responses from local residents and stakeholders, we have made significant changes to some key elements, notably the proposed location of the re-provided Estcourt Park allotments onto Debenham’s Field; an agreement to propose a Controlled Parking Zone on residential streets around the Campus; the retention of the southern area of Plock Court as open space; and the improvement of the design of road and traffic access to and from the site.”
“Submitting the outline planning application for this development is an important milestone, allowing us to provide extensive detail on the proposals with a lot of technical analysis to underpin them. But it is only one stage in an extended process, and we look forward to continuing discussion with our partners, residents and other stakeholders about the proposals.”
A key element of the application includes proposals for modifications to the junction of Cheltenham Road and Oxstalls Lane. They include installing traffic lights and the provision of two traffic lanes at key points. It is proposed that formal pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities will also replace the current signal controlled pedestrian crossing on Cheltenham road.
The proposals have responded to local residents’ concerns about the potential for increased numbers of staff and student cars parking on nearby streets. In addition to the proposed creation of almost 300 additional car parking spaces and more than 500 cycle spaces across the development site, the University is also proposing the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone on nearby residential streets for three years.
The University proposes to relocate the Estcourt Park allotments to a single, integrated location on Debenham’s Field. This would mean that most of the plots would be on land which is less liable to flooding than the current allotments. Detailed discussions between the University, the City Council and the Estcourt Park Allotment Association are ongoing, including appropriate remediation measures for soil quality and facilities.
It is proposed that accommodation for 200 student residences will be built on the remaining land in the middle area of Debenham’s Field. Both the relocated allotments and landscaping have been designed to act as a buffer between the new student accommodation and the existing residences of Estcourt Close and Estcourt Road.
The plans also link and integrate the Oxstalls Campus and Plock Court facilities, with better landscaping and improved community access.
Once the outline planning application has been validated by the City Council, it will be available to view on the City Council’s website here. Those without internet access can view the plans online at the City Council offices.
If the outline application is approved, the University would then proceed to detailed planning applications for the main components, notably the proposed new building for the Business School and Growth Hub, the student residences and the sports facilities. Those detailed planning applications would set out the specifics of the design, size, layout and finish of the new buildings, and would also be the subject of further public consultation.