News: 21 July 2017Sustainable neighbourhood to be built on former WWII airfield

Our Urban Designers and Architects have helped a consortium of housebuilders secure outline planning permission for a new walkable neighbourhood, which forms an extension to the existing village of Grove in Oxfordshire.

The proposals, submitted on behalf of Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon Homes will deliver 2,500 new homes, a local centre including shops and community uses, new schools and a network of open spaces and play areas as well as new ecological habitats on the former airfield.

Designed to benefit the existing 8,000 residents of Grove as well as the new residents, the proposals include a 50-acre community park which includes new sporting facilities and pitches as well as fully equipped play areas and informal recreation areas. The new local centre is also easily accessible to the existing population of Grove and in walking distance of all the new home, with a new bus route running through the development. 

The masterplan responds sensitively to the history of the site as the airfield was one of the busiest and largest supply airfields in Europe during World War II. All three runways have been incorporated as areas of public open space, including a 1km linear park along the main runway, providing pedestrian and cycle connections and a series of community spaces. Our masterplanners worked with the community and other stakeholders over a number of years through meetings, workshops and public exhibitions to develop and refine the masterplan and a series of design principles in order to guide and shape the development. These principles include guidance to ensure the site's historic use as an airbase is rooted in the development through the architecture and public art.

The masterplan has been developed in response to the character of existing settlements in the area, including local villages and towns and comprises three character areas, each drawing on their distinctive aspects.

The local centre located at the juncture of the two former runways has been designed to reflect the airfield architecture from the 1940’s.  The contemporary interpretation of this original style will create a strong identity for the development.

Kevin Parker, Urban Design Director, said: “We have worked with the local community and other stakeholders over a number of years to develop this masterplan, which respects and reflects the important history of the site through the incorporation of the three runways as areas of public open space. This will provide for a community with a strong sense of place and identity and means that the role of the site in WWII is remembered by future generations.”

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New Community, Oxfordshire, Regeneration