TV star’s £18m grand designs move closer

Kevin McCloud

Kevin McCloud

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A MULTI-MILLION pound “grand design” to build more than 100 homes and state-of-the-art community facilities has got one step closer.

The homes will be built in Cowley and in Northway by TV presenter Kevin McCloud’s development company Hab in partnership with housing association GreenSquare – in a joint venture called Haboakus.

Plans for these homes have been in the pipeline since May 2011 but have been delayed several times, initially because the scheme was changed in response to public feedback and then because of the discovery of great crested newts at the Northway site.

But now a planning application for the £18m development has been submitted to Oxford City Council.

Mr McCloud, who presents TV programme Grand Designs, 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.”

One of the developments will be in Barns Road, Cowley, where there will be 40 apartments with a residents’ roof garden and community rooms, while a garden at ground level.

Homelessness charity Emmaus will also be given a new furniture recycling store on the ground floor.

The other two sites are at Westlands Drive – where 21 one and two-bedroom flats will be built – and at Dora Carr Close – where there will be 47 homes plus a new community centre for Northway. But Northway resident Georgina Gibbs said there was strong local opposition to both schemes.

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She said: “The green spaces they are going to build on are very important for the elderly residents of Northway and the community centre won’t be as good as the one we have now.”

Haboakus 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.”

The plans will be on show at the GreenSquare offices in Barns Road from next Wednesday until Friday, February 15.

A decision will be made by Oxford City Council on a date yet to be set.

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