GHA’s proposals for the development of a 7.3 ha site used for papermilling for over 400 years have been given unanimous approval by Oxford City Council. Working with CALA Homes, the brownfield site within the village of Wolvercote will be sensitively transformed into much-needed new homes with focus on wellness, healthy environment and community values.
The scheme includes a wide choice of quality houses and apartments to cater for residents of all ages and mobility, with an emphasis on family sized homes. The contemporary design for the homes uses traditional materials and makes reference to the vernacular forms of the historic mill buildings and workers’ cottages. Homes will vary from one to four bedrooms and 50% of them will be allocated as affordable housing.
The rationale that underpins the masterplan strives to create an interesting hierarchy of streets and edges to inform the variety of landscaped settings, from the mews streets to the meadow and through to the water’s edge.
Once completed the scheme will allow Wolvercote Mill residents and the wider Wolvercote community to benefit from the site’s natural assets which have laid dormant and inaccessible for almost 15 years. The unique site is home to a rich mature woodland as well as a series of historic watercourses, including a weir, stream and reservoir. Having once served the workings of the former paper mills, they will remain as invaluable assets for the new homes and community. By working with the watercourses and the matured landscape the plans will create a natural ‘village’ setting which will encourage a healthy and sustainable environment. Furthermore, the new open spaces will link to Wolvercote’s existing village green, drawing residents from the village into the new neighbourhood.
Further benefits of the scheme include the provision of a new hub for the area with the inclusion of a community centre, a GP Surgery and flexible workspace.
GHA Director Dav Bansal said “This new setting provides a number of opportunities for the community and makes use of a site that has laid dormant since the closure of the Oxford University Press Paper Mill. The engagement with residents, planners and other stakeholders has been hugely helpful in informing our approach to meet local needs as well as bring forward a new waterside settlement to Wolvercote. We are confident that it will offer a wealth of benefits to the village and those that call Wolvercote their home.”
GHA Studio Director, Sandeep Shambi said “As well as providing new homes, our proposals are centred around creating a series of public spaces for the whole community to enjoy and take advantage of. A large portion of Wolvercote village is protected and characterised under the Wolvercote and Godstow Conservation Area, including 27 Grade II listed buildings, so a high degree of design sensitivity was required. By taking inspiration from the buildings that were once present on this site we have developed a design that is contemporary yet sympathetic to the area.”