Accessibility links

Top Navigation

Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 052 - Involving the right players

052 - Oxford Castle Ltd / Oxfordshire County Council / Oxford Preservation Trust

The involvement of public, private and voluntary sectors in this city centre regeneration project has transformed the disused prison on the historic site of Oxford Castle into a major mixed-use development comprising hotel, restaurants, housing and a visitor attraction around new public spaces.

Having bought the site from Crown Properties when the prison closed in 1996, Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) took the site to market resulting in the appointment of the Trevor Osbourne Property Group as development partner. The developer then set up Oxford Castle Ltd who were given a 200-year lease by landowners OCC, subject to various works being undertaken, through a Development Agreement. Crucially this included restoration and new build works to the ancient buildings. The Oxford Preservation Trust then obtained a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund that matched the value of this particular element of the works for non-revenue producing uses. The result was a partnership between the landowners OCC, the developer Oxford Castle Ltd and the Oxford Preservation Trust. The project also received grant funding from sources including SEEDA, English Heritage and Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment.

Part of the site was leased back to OCC who in turn leased it to the Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) to run the visitor attraction, Learning Centre, and the public space. OPT’s continued involvement in the project through the management of these aspects also ensured that high quality would be maintained. ‘To develop a mixed-use scheme on this scale required imagination, determination and cooperation’, as Debbie Dance of Oxford Preservation Trust clearly states, ‘None of us could do it without the other.’

Other Information

  • Location: Oxford
  • Project Team: Key partners: Trevor Osbourne, the Osbourne Group, AndrewRyan Developer: The Trevor Osbourne Group Architect: Panter Hudspith, Architects Design Partnership LLP
  • Contact:


UDC2 Section - Delivering Quality and Adding Value 

Collaborative working between developers, the local authority and local interest groups has led to the development of an award-winning mixed-useImages (image bank)