PROGRESS on a new affordable estate at the former Temple Cowley Pools site was marked with a ceremony complete with reindeer.

Deputy Oxford City Council leader Linda Smith joined developer Catalyst and constructor Mears New Homes at the site for the topping out event last week – a builders’ rite held when the last beam or its equivalent is placed atop a structure during construction.

Given the season, a pair of reindeer were also included, with pupils from nearby St Christopher’s Primary School also joining the fun.

Campaigners fought for years to save Temple Cowley Pools, which closed in 2015, but councillors voted to approve plans for 48 homes on the Temple Road site last year.

Designed by Hester Architects, the new neighbourhood will be made up of three apartment blocks and a series of semi-detached and terraced houses. Of these, 29 homes will be available for shared ownership and 19 for affordable rent, with the initial rents set at social rent levels. Catalyst has received Homes England funding so that all of the new homes will be affordable. Catalyst purchased the site from Oxford City Council in December 2014 for £3.6million, and it is estimated that the homes will be finished in autumn 2019.