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Oxfordshire Village Extension

Location: Oxfordshire
Client: Merton College
Sector: Assess Promote Shape
Scope: Communities

A vision for a substantial extension to an Oxfordshire village that meets requirements for much needed local housing but in a sensitive and beautiful location. Define initially advised on the wider land area as to what should/could form a successful new community. We then formulated a vision for the site that led to it becoming a draft Local Plan allocation before acting at a Local Plan Examination to support the allocation. The Local Plan Inspector recognised our ambition for the site and our analysis of the site and context, leading to a larger allocation being supported to aid the scheme’s cohesion. Define have since been retained to take the scheme forward to delivery and create a longstanding and beautiful legacy for the settlement and the landowner. The setting of the site was a key determinant in the focus and approach for the project that sought to retain rural character and village life whilst also ensuring a high quality contemporary approach to urban and landscape design.

Our approach is underpinned by a careful analysis of the site’s opportunities and local characteristics, which were informed by tissue analysis of the adjacent settlement and nearby settlements to understand how form, materiality, planting and landscape work together to establish character. The site’s stunning mature and veteran tree groupings alongside the distinct site edges are characteristic site assets that proposals would respond to. Designing for a future everyday life was also inherent in the design approach with health and wellbeing being a dominant focus which led to a dense network of multifunctional green infrastructure permeated by direct walking and cycling routes, areas for play and relaxation and a multi-functional community hub building, located in green space overlooking a group of Veteran trees. The scheme also provides enhanced access for the existing village – both within the village and to the wider countryside network.