Plans for an innovative multi-million pound development project to provide 109 new homes and state-of-the-art community facilities in Oxford were taken forward by HAB Housing and GreenSquare (working as Haboakus) between early 2011 and late 2013.
Now that the construction phase is getting underway, HAB’s involvement with the schemes has come to an end, and the new homes will be developed and marketed by GreenSquare.
The schemes – designed by award-winning architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris will create 109 new homes and new community facilities on three Oxford City Council sites – Westlands Drive and Dora Carr Close in Northway, and Barns Road in Cowley.
Most of the new homes will be affordable homes for rent or for shared ownership, with a smaller proportion for sale on the open market.
The new building at Barns Road will provide 40 apartments, with a residents' roof garden. The project will also see the relocation of a furniture recycling store operated by the charity Emmaus from its current base at Westlands Drive, Northway to new premises with a highly visible shop front on Barns Road. Community rooms for the area are also incorporated on the ground floor.
The Westlands Drive project sits on the corner of Westlands Drive and Sutton Road, next to the Northway Evangelical Church and Plowman Tower. The proposed building is a three-storey mansion block containing 21 one- and two-bedroom flats. The block is, in fact, two blocks split on either side of a central 'winter garden' which allows more daylight and cross ventilation to all homes and creates opportunities for residents to meet and chat.
The development at Dora Carr Close will provide 47 new homes including 15 three-bedroom houses, 4 four-bedroom houses and a four-storey mansion block containing 28 one- and two-bedroom flats. As at Westlands Drive, the mansion block has an enclosed 'winter garden' running down its centre. The proposal also provides new state-of-the-art community facilities including a multi-use hall with improved sports changing rooms, social and café areas, local business units, education and learning space. This new venue will have the capacity to host social occasions such as weddings, conferences, and sports events.
All the new homes will have many energy and water saving features as Haboakus intends to construct all the new homes to meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which is a higher standard than conventionally-built houses. And the community facilities will also be built to exacting environmental standards.
Kevin McCloud said: "Oxford is considered to be one of the most enjoyable UK cities to live in – and we're all excited by the idea of spreading that enjoyment throughout the city. Part of that is about creating beautiful public realm; part of that is about revitalising areas with opportunities for sports facilities and local businesses and charities; and part of it is about creating an architectural legacy that is distinctive to its place and which bolsters Oxford's great tradition of building craftsmanship."
GreenSquare's project director Jo Curson said: "We have received a lot of positive feedback from local residents about our proposals and believe the schemes will greatly benefit the community. Before getting to this point we held three sets of well-publicised public consultation events – in Northway and Cowley – which provided an opportunity for residents to discuss our plans and share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. It's brilliant that feedback provided by local people has helped to shape the proposals and improve them."