Green light for Oxford North’s Red Hall expansion

Plans to enhance and expand the Red Hall which will be built at the heart of Oxford North, the new innovation district, which were submitted by Oxford North Ventures, the joint venture company of Thomas White Oxford, the development company of St John’s College, Cadillac Fairview and Stanhope, have been resolved to be approved by Oxford City Council at their planning committee held on Tuesday 21 March 2023.

In March 2021, the Red Hall was granted planning permission as part of the first phase of development to deliver one million sq ft (92,903 sq m) of laboratory and workspaces, 480 new homes, hotel, nursery, cafes, bars, three public parks and infrastructure.

After careful review, pre-application discussions, Oxford Design Review Panel meeting and a four-week public consultation, the proposals were made for several enhancements to the building to provide a cafe-bar, retail units, community space, co-working spaces, and additional meeting and workspace intended to accommodate a range of science and innovation start-ups and SMEs.

The enhanced Red Hall, designed by Fletcher Priest Architects, has retained the form, external materials and detailing of the previously consented building and will now provide an additional 21,539 sq ft (2,001 sq m) within a three floor ‘wing’ to the north-east of the building to connect it to a new market square and central park.

The building will now total 61,462 sq ft (5,710 sq m) over five floors.

A portal framed opening onto the market square will create a series of frontages and spill out spaces for ground floor public uses to interact with the market square.

Internally, the wider plan form will allow the creation of a central circulation core to increase flexibility for public ground floor functions, to activate all sides of the building, and for upper floors to host a range of employment uses.

The building will now also house the Oxford North Ventures estate management team which will look after the public realm and buildings.

The Red Hall will target BREEAM Excellent certification.

To enable sustainable and carbon efficient occupation, a phase-wide energy sharing loop network will continue to serve the Red Hall and other phase 1a buildings as per the original proposals and include efficient lighting, high levels of fabric performance and optimised ventilation to incorporate heat recovery and solar PV technology.

This will achieve a 43.7% reduction in carbon emissions compared with 2013 Building Regulations.

The Red Hall will include basement shower and changing facilities for the three phase 1a buildings.

With infrastructure enabling works due to be completed by April 2023, phase 1a construction works are due to start in summer 2023 with the Red Hall, along with two lab-enabled buildings, to target practical completion of Q1 2025.

David Camp, chief executive officer, Stanhope plc, said: “By expanding the Red Hall in the first phase and delivering amenity from day one that we open our doors, we can ensure that we are providing an exciting new place for companies and their staff at all stages of their growth to be based and a place for the local community to use and visit.

“This approval from Oxford City Council means that we can start construction of the first phase of new low carbon lab, workspaces and amenity and continue to create construction jobs and vital new science and innovation space for Oxford.”

Acting on behalf of Oxford North Ventures are Fletcher Priest Architects, Gustafson, Porter + Bowman, Savills, Stantec, Hoare Lea, AKT II, BSG Ecology.