WORK to transform the former Wolvercote Paper Mill into a new 190-home development has begun ahead of an official launch in June.

Planning permission was given to CALA Homes to build the homes last September and designers said they are taking inspiration from the history of the paper mill and Wolvercote’s character.

The site was used for mills for about four centuries but paper production finished in 1997. The buildings were demolished in 2004.

Half of all the homes will be designated as affordable. Of the 190, 74 will be flats and the remaining 116 will be houses.

A doctor’s surgery and a new community centre will also be built as part of the development.

Andrew Aldridge, land director at CALA Homes Chiltern, said: “We have an exciting vision for the Wolvercote Mill site which celebrates its rich heritage whilst creating a sustainable new community.

“The fact that work is now underway is a key milestone for the local area, marking the start of the transformation of a derelict site into something that will significantly enhance the local village and create a great place to live.”

Mr Aldridge added: “This is an incredibly important site for CALA Homes and we intend to create a best in class development that everyone can be proud of.”

An official launch for the development will take place on June 15 at the site.

Last year, Paul Buckley, a Liberal Democrat Wolvercote and Summertown county councillor, said the project design ‘embodies an agreeable compromise between packing in as many new homes as possible to meet the extreme demand and creating an attractive place in which to live.’

After CALA Homes had applied for planning permission last year, Thames Valley Police officers said they worried some of the properties could have been targeted by burglars.

But it seems the housebuilder did enough work to allay those fears.

When the city council proposed the homes plan was accepted, its planning officers said: “The proposed development would make an efficient use of a site which has been allocated for housing as part of the council’s five-year housing supply and therefore deliver much needed affordable and market housing to contribute towards Oxford’s housing need.

"The development would help establish a balanced and mixed community.”

CALA Homes said it will spend about £2m boosting the infrastructure around the site.

The company said the homes will consist of a mix of traditional two storey and 'large villa-style homes'.

Mill Square, a community hub, will feature light industrial units and a bus stop linking new routes, it said.

The new Oxford North development, also in North Oxford, is expected to be passed sometime later this year.