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19/06/2017

Venture capital ‘essential’ for encouraging people to Oxford

Oxford city centre | iStock_23817808

Oxford’s productivity and economy is being constrained by housing that is unaffordable and a lack of office space, with a venture capital investment ‘essential’ to attracting people to the area, says a new report.

The report, Is the Future Bright for Oxford? by real estate firm Savills, notes that new sites connected to the city, including Barton Park (885 homes) and Oxford North (500 homes plus one million square foot of office space), have the capacity to unlock growth but more are required.

New infrastructure would provide the connections.

The report suggests:

  • Only 10 per cent of new homes built in Oxfordshire over the past five years were built in Oxford, yet the city accounted for 42 per cent of job growth. Thirty-six new sites have been proposed to meet the city’s housing need.
  • In 2014/15 retained 18 per cent of its graduates. Better housing opportunities would attract and keep the city’s best talent.
  • A high level of house building in Oxfordshire towns has not done much to reduce the pressure on Oxford, with congestion on the city’s main roads up by 22 per cent when compared with five years ago.
  • Momentum is building towards the planning and funding of new transport infrastructure, including relief for the A34.

There are two options for sustainable housing growth: optimise and intensify land use within the city and build in connected areas.

In addition, if garden cities are going to be part of the solution to meeting unmet housing need, “major transport nodes offer a good opportunity for finding ‘new’ land”.

According to Savills, venture capital investment (a type of private equity) is essential for developing young businesses as well as encouraging new people to the area.

The city has received £1.7 billion in venture capital investment since 2015, with 53 per cent of going to electric car company NIO. Investment also went to the science and tech sectors.

The report notes that while this is good for Oxford, there is a need to ensure that the companies that attract venture capital continue to grow and create larger organisations.

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, Cambridge is stronger than Oxford, but Oxford will soon see corporates grow in the same direction, which would have a positive effect on the demand for office space and therefore job growth, concludes the report.

Is the Future Bright for Oxford? can be found on the Savills website (pdf).

Image credit | iStock

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