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Sociology moving into new Park End Street premisesRenovation of 42 Park End Street

Renovation of 42 Park End Street has largely been finished; once it is complete, the Sociology department will be moving in. The riverside building on the corner with Tidmarsh Lane, previously a nightclub, has been fully refurbished by its owner Nuffield College, which has agreed a new lease with the University to facilitate collaborative working between the University and the college. Nuffield will continue to take responsibility for upkeep of the physical fabric of the building but the facilities will be managed on behalf of Sociology by the Facilities Management team within Estates Services. The Asset Management team has been involved with negotiating the lease on behalf of the department.

Manor Road and St Cross space survey on the way

Estates Services staff are working with building users to prepare a pilot project to survey teaching space usage in the Manor Road and St Cross buildings. They will use technology to do this in a less disruptive and labour-intensive way compared to traditional space-utilisation surveys, which rely on people looking into rooms at set times to determine how full they are. This approach will also enable a far greater quantity of space-usage data to be captured over a much longer period, providing better information about usage patterns. This time the Space Management team plan to test the use of electronic sensors that will automatically and anonymously log how many people are using a room at any given time. The results will help the team get a better understanding of usage patterns in the building and potential opportunities to share space – this aligns closely with the project to investigate how to increase sharing of teaching space that is proceeding as part of the Focus programme, and indeed with one of the key priorities identified in the University’s Strategic Plan 2018-23, which targets improvement in the University’s space utilisation.

External refurbishment of Sheldonian expected later in 2019Sheldonian Theatre

The Conservation & Buildings team and contractors will be undertaking refurbishment work on the exterior of the Sheldonian Theatre in late spring and early summer this year. This will involve cleaning and repairing the stonework, renovating the woodwork around the cupola, carrying out roof repairs and addressing any other problems that come to light during the work. The team will do their best to minimise inconvenience arising from the work but this is a busy area and some disruption is inevitable – please be patient while the project is underway.

Central food production facility to go live at end of March

The planned Central Production Kitchen on the Osney Mead Industrial Estate is planned to launch at the end of March. This will mark a huge increase in the capabilities of central catering contractor Compass, which has until now been preparing food in a number of temporary facilities around Oxford. Food will be prepared at the CPK and then sent out to cafes around the estate; this specialised central facility will substantially improve the quality and variety of food on offer from Compass. Most of the work needed to convert the space in the old Co-op warehouse for use by Compass has been done, but some electrical tasks still need to be finished.

Spring events planned in Wytham WoodsCountryfile - Wytham woods

The busy calendar of events in Wytham Woods really starts to heat up each spring, and this year is no different – there are numerous activities planned to involve the public in the remarkable science that happens there. Here are a few of the events scheduled for spring:


Oxford and Cherwell Local Plans move forward

The public inquiry into the Cherwell Local Plan has been completed, and the next step will be the Planning Inspector’s report to Cherwell District Council. The Council has proposed building houses on various sites that are within the current Oxford Green Belt, and the results of the inquiry will affect the University’s plans to develop 2,000 new homes for graduate students and staff.
In December last year, the University submitted its comments on the proposed draft Oxford Local Plan 2036. The City Council will now send the draft Plan and all the feedback it has received on it to central government; a planning inspector will be appointed in summer ahead of a public inquiry, which is likely before the end of the year.

Wytham Chalet finished soon

The project to refurbish the Wytham Chalet, providing high-quality laboratory space, teaching facilities and accommodation for researchers and visiting groups, is now expected to be completed in late summer or early Autumn.

Estates Services induction session in March

The next Induction to Estates Services will take place on Wednesday 20 March at the Malthouse, Tidmarsh Lane, OX1 1NQ, from 9am to 10am. The event will include a short presentation explaining the remit of Estates Services and a chance to meet key members of the department including Paul Goffin (Director of Estates) and Isobel Hughes (Director of Operations). Topics covered will include repair and maintenance procedures, the work of the Environmental Sustainability team and how we collect space data across the University. If you or a colleague would like to attend, or to be notified about future sessions, please contact

Security Liaison Officer Conference approaches

The annual Security Liaison Officer Conference, organised by the Security Services team, is scheduled for 11 April at the Medical Sciences Teaching Centre in the Science Area. This is the sixth such event, and from modest beginnings it has grown into an important forum bringing together people from all over the Oxford security community to share knowledge and discuss the shared challenges they face. This year’s conference will focus on protective security across the University estate and on security-related concerns arising from mental ill-health and rough sleeping in the city.

The event will last from 9am to 3.15pm, and will include an update on the overall security picture from Paul Sullivan, Head of Security Services, and presentations from guest speakers including senior Thames Valley Police officers and officials from Oxford City Council. Guests will include the Security Liaison Officers who form a link between Security Services and the wider University, college head porters, representatives of the City Council and the police. There will also be trade stands run by private-sector security and technology companies that supply equipment and services to the University. If you would like to attend, please contact Richard Mason on

Book your place at the next FM Forum

The next FM Forum will take place on 24 May between 11.30am and 2pm at St Luke’s Chapel at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter. Set up several years ago, the Forum has grown into an invaluable forum for building and facilities managers from all over the University to meet, share industry best practice and discuss common challenges and opportunities. If you would like to join, please email

Card Office and FM Helpdesk moving to Worcester StreetBod card

On 11 and 12 March, the University Card Office and the Facilities Management (FM) Helpdesk will move out of their current space at Wellington Square and into new offices at 6 Worcester Street. The move will be staggered so that there should be no interruption to either service.

The service most users receive will be unchanged. Anyone who wants to consult either team, perhaps about issues like problems with Salto access, can do this by phone as usual. If the issue cannot be resolved remotely, though, they will need to visit the Worcester Street offices in person.

All mail for the Card Office should be sent to Wellington Square as usual and will automatically be taken to Worcester Street by the Mail Service. Any staff with questions or concerns should contact Sarah King, Head of Shared Services within FM.

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