Welcome to the Oxford Civic Society

Oxford Civic Society is dedicated to striving for the continuous improvement of Oxford as a wonderful city in which to live, work and relax. Appreciating our past, enjoying the present and pursuing a vision for the future are the fundamentals of our effort, which we have been working on for over 45 years.

We promote sustainable, well-balanced communities, and a physical infrastructure which serves their needs, now and into the future:

  • we champion issues to decision-makers and opinion-formers in local and national government, business and the media
  • we organise, support and encourage individuals and communities to take action to improve the quality of their environment
  • we provide opportunities for our members to participate in our activities, whilst contributing to the objectives of the Society

We have nearly 1,000 members. We are a registered charity and are actively contributing ideas and finance to Civic Voice, the national charity for the civic movement.

For more information, see the latest issue of our regular newsletter "Visions", also visit About Us and Annual Review. If you are interested in protecting Oxford’s heritage, knowing more about the city and helping us make a difference you could volunteer to join one of our working groups or better still join us and help shape the city’s future.

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Your Oxford – Your Future – Your Say

The article below describes a Workshop the Society is organising to discuss the redevelopment of several key sites in the western part of the city in the next ten years. In the month leading up to the Workshop the Society is trialling a new way of finding out what people think about the area now and in the future.

Oxford Central West Commonplace

We are working with a company called Commonplace who specialise in running online consultations. They have worked with many city and borough councils, neighbourhood forums and the like, but this will be the first time their approach has been used in Oxford. We have set up a dedicated website where anyone can put a marker on a map of the area and tell us what they think about that place or the wider area.

It is easy to use and it works just as well on smart phones and tablets as on a desktop or laptop.

Read more: Your Oxford – Your Future – Your Say

Oxford Central West


Several key sites including the large area around Oxford Station and Oxpens; land on both sides of the railway; the area between Hythe Bridge Street and Park End Street, and the Osney Mead industrial estate are likely to be redeveloped over the next ten years. This offers a unique chance to create a new gateway to our historic city, a first class transport interchange, space for a range of employment and much needed housing.

Oxford Central West map


In the past major developments have tended to be carried out piecemeal, each with a Master Plan which often failed to consider what would be happening in neighbouring areas. We realised this was a great opportunity to bring together a wide range of interested parties and encourage them to look for ways of co-ordinating their plans and create an outstanding new area of the city.

The Society is holding a Workshop in mid-March which will bring together 

Read more: Oxford Central West

Planning in Oxfordshire

The Oxfordshire district and city councils are responsible for strategic planning, using a mandatory ‘duty-to-cooperate’. This puts their Local Plans at the heart of strategic economic, social and environmental development planning. However non-statutory agencies - Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) - have now been created. Led by the private sector and with local government participation the Oxfordshire LEP has formulated a Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for Oxfordshire. This process was not subject to wider community consultation and was separate from the preparation of Local Plans.  The LEP is powerful as it links strategic economic planning to central government and EU funding for strategic investments. To help understand the complexities of these planning arrangements OCS has produced an analysis of current and emerging arrangements. The (lengthy) report can be downloaded here.


We seek to foster a greater sense of belonging, responsibility, well-being and civic pride amongst local communities – and to empower people by the dissemination of information and ‘know-how’


We aim to ensure that Oxford is ‘a good place to be’ – a clean, green and well-maintained environment for people to enjoy. We actively encourage appreciation of the distinctive beauty and heritage of our city.

Buildings & Public Spaces

We promote best practice in terms of the sustainable development and management of new and evolving buildings and spaces whilst preserving the best of what we have inherited from the past

Travel & Transport

We focus on maintaining and developing a sustainable physical infrastructure that functions well for all modes of movement – walking, cycling, motoring, using public transport and sojourning.


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