CITY DEAL: Government claims investment of £1.2bn in county could lead to 50,000 jobs and help homebuilding

Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council

Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council

First published in News
Last updated
Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A MULTI-MILLION-pound deal promising to create more than 50,000 jobs across Oxfordshire will be signed today.

Major transport schemes, 7,000 new homes and hundreds of new apprenticeships are included in the Oxford and Oxfordshire City Deal which officials say could see £1.2bn of investment over five years.

The City Deal is an agreement between local councils, the Government and a number of other partners including Oxford University and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Bob Price, pictured, leader of Oxford City Council, called it a “major step forward” and added: “The City Deal underpins a clear vision for the future development of Oxford and Oxfordshire as a powerhouse for science and technology-led innovation.

“The infrastructure requirements in housing, transport, and skills that are needed to realise the county’s economic potential will benefit hugely from the City Deal investments and the deal opens the way for a radical re-shaping of the way in which training, apprenticeships and careers guidance are delivered in Oxfordshire.”

The £55.5m will be controlled by a board made up of 12 representatives – one from each of Oxfordshire’s councils and six from the Oxfordshire LEP.
It will make decisions on where the money should be spent over a five-year period.

The City Deal includes promised investment in a number of areas including £1.5m to help train people with various skills and the creation of more than 500 apprenticeships by the Oxfordshire Skills Board. Officials say most of these apprenticeships will be in high-tech sectors such as advanced engineering, life-sciences and cryogenics.

And they say some of the funding will go towards new schemes such as a new bus system and a scheme similar to London’s Oyster Card as well as projects which are already in the pipeline such as a new link road from the A40 to the A44.

Together with private investment and schemes that have already secured funding, it is anticipated that over the five-year life of the City Deal there will be a total of £1.2bn of investment in Oxfordshire.

Ian Hudspeth, leader of the county council, said: “Through the City Deal we can now take more control of how money is spent locally and really start to capitalise on the county’s world-class assets.

“Transport will be vital to the future development of the Oxfordshire economy to connect people to jobs.

“At the moment our economy is being held back because our roads network is at full capacity and public transport needs investment.”

Oxford University will be contributing around £18m towards four “business incubators” around the county which will help small science companies take
their products to market.

Professor Ian Walmsley, pro-vice chancellor of research and university collections at the university, said: “We want even more of the research made in Oxfordshire to benefit Oxfordshire, as well as the UK and the wider world.

“Oxford University has played a key role in formulating the City Deal proposal and we will continue to work with our City Deal partners –  Oxford City and Oxfordshire County Council and the LEP – to help generate new opportunities for economic growth in the region.”

Housing developments which are already in the pipeline such as the 900-home Barton Park scheme and the Oxpens development as well as developments in Bicester, will be built sooner.

Ian Wenman, vice chairman of the Oxfordshire LEP, said: “The Oxford and Oxfordshire City Deal will help capitalise on our world-class assets.

“We are in a unique position to lead the UK knowledge-based economy with many pioneering high-tech businesses already blazing a trail ahead of the rest of the world.

“The deal will help us build on our strengths to deliver growth and help us to achieve our full potential.

“It will help us to boost growth by supporting new business innovation, entrepreneurial start-ups and commercialisation alongside substantial growth for existing businesses.

WHAT THE DEAL WILL MEAN

  • CITY DEAL
  • City deals are the latest attempt to kickstart economic growth in cities – and come in the wake of decades of criticism that too much of Britain's economy is focused on London.
  • Initially the deals were offered to eight cities - Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle.
  • A second wave of deals opened up earlier this year to 20 other areas, including Oxford.
  • WHAT’S NEW?
  • It is anticipated that the deal will bring nearly 19,000 hi-tech new jobs to the county, in addition to a further 31,400 in construction.
  • 500 new apprenticeships with more than 60 per cent in hi-tech sectors such as advanced engineering.
  • A new bus scheme.
  • WHAT’S OLD?
  •  ‘Smart’ tickets similar to London’s Oyster card scheme which was announced by Ian Hudspeth last year.
  • Four innovation hubs in Harwell, Culham, Headington and Begbroke in the north were announced by George Osborne on Tuesday.
  • Housing schemes such as Barton Park and Oxpens development in the city centre, as well as housing in Bicester, to be built sooner.
  • Major improvements to transport links, including the A34 and the A40 ‘Northern Gateway’ with a new link road from the A40 to the A44 and improvements to the Cuttleslowe and Wolvercote roundabouts
  • Planned rail improvements and redevelopment of Oxford station, development of the new Oxford Parkway station and rail link to London Marylebone underway.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:15pm Thu 30 Jan 14

EMBOX2 says...

Watch £1.1bn of this money magically disappear should Oxford City Council get hold of it.....
Watch £1.1bn of this money magically disappear should Oxford City Council get hold of it..... EMBOX2
  • Score: -2

3:58pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Could do a lot worse than using the money to start expanding Oxford and Oxfordshire's rail network.

Being able to board a rail service at Wantage, Witney, Abingdon or Carterton and be able to reach a major employment site in under 15 minutes would do more for the wealth and wellbeing of the residents of Oxfordshire than any other single action possible by a local authority.
Could do a lot worse than using the money to start expanding Oxford and Oxfordshire's rail network. Being able to board a rail service at Wantage, Witney, Abingdon or Carterton and be able to reach a major employment site in under 15 minutes would do more for the wealth and wellbeing of the residents of Oxfordshire than any other single action possible by a local authority. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 7

10:13am Fri 31 Jan 14

Dreaming Spires says...

Are we supposed to be pleased about this? 50,000 people will move in for the jobs, their new 'homes' will be built in what used to be our rural environment, city centre and hospital access problems, congestion, flooding etc will increase, and then in a couple of years the Council will start all over again claiming that there is an even larger housing crisis.
Are we supposed to be pleased about this? 50,000 people will move in for the jobs, their new 'homes' will be built in what used to be our rural environment, city centre and hospital access problems, congestion, flooding etc will increase, and then in a couple of years the Council will start all over again claiming that there is an even larger housing crisis. Dreaming Spires
  • Score: 0

10:33am Fri 31 Jan 14

Patrick, Devon says...

Dreaming Spires wrote:
Are we supposed to be pleased about this? 50,000 people will move in for the jobs, their new 'homes' will be built in what used to be our rural environment, city centre and hospital access problems, congestion, flooding etc will increase, and then in a couple of years the Council will start all over again claiming that there is an even larger housing crisis.
Its good news for both the national and local economy, but will it be implemented? If most of the extra housing avoids the green belt and ends up 10 miles or more from where the jobs are, then the transport infrastructure will need far more than what is being proposed.

Smart ticketing and integration of rail and buses are good, but the Cowley branch line is only a long term aspiration, and no mention of Witney/Carterton. How will the dedicated buses linking Oxford station with employment centres squeeze through an already congested city centre?
[quote][p][bold]Dreaming Spires[/bold] wrote: Are we supposed to be pleased about this? 50,000 people will move in for the jobs, their new 'homes' will be built in what used to be our rural environment, city centre and hospital access problems, congestion, flooding etc will increase, and then in a couple of years the Council will start all over again claiming that there is an even larger housing crisis.[/p][/quote]Its good news for both the national and local economy, but will it be implemented? If most of the extra housing avoids the green belt and ends up 10 miles or more from where the jobs are, then the transport infrastructure will need far more than what is being proposed. Smart ticketing and integration of rail and buses are good, but the Cowley branch line is only a long term aspiration, and no mention of Witney/Carterton. How will the dedicated buses linking Oxford station with employment centres squeeze through an already congested city centre? Patrick, Devon
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree