HOUSING: Good design is a key issue

Site manager Jim Baldwin, left, with Peter Mapson

Site manager Jim Baldwin, left, with Peter Mapson

First published in Countywide

NEW housing in town centres or in the countryside is often controversial, but it doesn’t have to be.

That’s according to the developer behind a new scheme in Witney.

Bower Mapson is building a care home and 105 houses at the former ButterCross Works in Station Lane.

Director Peter Mapson said developers had to move with the times and make sure what they were building fitted in with existing communities.

He said: “All sides of the argument understand and appreciate the need for housing, because there simply isn’t enough being built on an annual basis.

“I think everyone understands we have to address the housing needs in this country. We do need to build homes, but the key thing is they need to be well-designed and they need to protect their particular setting.”

He said developers had to move away from “Lego-block” houses and address one of the major concerns of residents – how the new homes will look.

He said: “I think everyone gets anxious and nervous about change sometimes but if we can demonstrate we can produce developments which are attractive we will get a different response. That’s the way to overcome people’s objections, and that’s what we’ve tried to do in Witney.”

As part of the planning process, developers have to give contributions towards the infrastructure of the areas around proposed developments.

These contributions are currently called section 106 agreements, but are being replaced by the community infrastructure levy. The CIL scheme, which is currently being consulted on by Oxford City Council, means developers will pay a set sum per square metre and councils can pool cash and spend it on projects anywhere in their area.

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