THE multi-million-pound scheme to redevelop Oxford and Cherwell Valley College’s Oxpens campus could be just the start of a bright future.
A new riverfront cafe, hair and beauty salon and river walkway are all part of the £6m scheme.
But it only represents a tiny fraction of what the college had initially hoped to do on the site.
In 2009, a £60m scheme redeveloping the Oxpens Road site had to be mothballed after Learning and Skills Council funding was cancelled.
Phil Waddup, group property and faciltiies director at the college, said: “We had previously submitted plans for a more ambitious scheme which would have completely redeveloped our Oxpens Road campus to bring the range of buildings together into one, new building.
“This £60m scheme was reliant on a substantial contribution from the Learning and Skills Council which unfortunately ran out of funding, affecting projects at a number of further education institutions.”
The new scheme includes nearly £2m of Government cash under its enhanced renewal grant scheme, along with £4m of its own money.
Mr Waddup said: “We are pleased that this new project goes some way to achieving the aims of that bigger scheme – by providing a more attractive and welcoming environment for students and other visitors arriving on campus. We hope that this will help us to attract more people in to see what the campus has to offer.
“It will also provide the new facilities for hair and beauty students which formed an important part of the bigger scheme.”
Detailed plans for the new development are set to be submitted in January, with work likely to start by next August with a view to completion by September 2014.
Mr Waddup said: “While we will not now redevelop the Oxford campus in the same way as we had anticipated three years ago, we hope this will form the first step in a more phased development programme.
“This will not be about creating new buildings but improving facilities so that we can offer the specialist equipment and environments that our course areas need.”
He said it was important to ensure pupils had access to the latest facilities used in industry .
He said: “We have been extremely fortunate to obtain the funding for the redevelopment at Oxford, as well as for the new motor vehicle and media studies facilities at our Banbury campus.”