A THATCHED house on a new West Oxfordshire development is standing out against the hundreds of new builds springing up across the district.

The building is one of two show homes recently launched in St Jude's Meadow in Milton-under-Wychwood, near Witney, and is a nod to the village's history.

Conversations between developer, Mactaggart & Mickel, and residents revealed thatched roofs used to be common in the village, with the housebuilder deciding to include the feature as a 'homage' to the area's past.

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They employed the skills of Great Tew-based thatcher, Ian Parkinson, who urged other developers to follow suit.

He said: “Thatching is very much living and growing as a trade, it’s certainly developing and has an enormous amount of potential.

“We definitely want to encourage larger developers to incorporate thatched roofs into their designs if they fit the local environment.”

The thatcher of 35 years added: “It’s certainly not a dying trade but support from developers will help to keep this old craft alive."

Thatched roofs have decorated villages across the country since the Bronze Age, but there are now only about 60,000 properties of this kind in the UK.

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The five-bedroom home in St Jude's Meadow has already turned heads and aims to add a traditional feel, while the exteriors of homes on the site are also meant to reflect the 'local architectural style'.

Chris Bryant, procrurement manager at Mactaggart & Mickel, claimed the thatched roof adds 'character' to the 31-home development.

He said: “We wanted something that would really stand out on the St Jude’s Meadow site. During our initial conversations with the local community, it was mentioned that, many years ago, thatched roofs were common in the village of Milton-under-Wychwood.

"We therefore decided to include this feature within the development in homage to the traditional architecture style.

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"The thatched roof on our Ferrey show home is the first thing you see when you drive into the village.

"The roof is a bit of a statement; we get a lot of people stopping to admire it. It adds a lot of character and makes the development unique."

Mr Parkinson agreed, adding: “Thatches appeal to a certain demographic, they are very eye-catching and offer a unique selling point.

"They are organic and breathable as a material and are a very ‘green’ product.

“I worked on four new build developments last year and the response we get on them is extremely positive.

“Across Oxfordshire we are blessed with a lot of thatched roofs in some stunning villages. They attract a lot of foreign tourists who stop to have a look.”