Grosvenor believes in putting people first; to ensure we are creating communities that benefit existing and future residents we develop open and honest relationships with the local community and work together closely to develop ideas, challenge constraints and curate exciting new ways of working. The local community know what makes their area special and it is Grosvenor’s job to understand this and encapsulate it within the designs.

With Oxfordshire Garden Village, Grosvenor’s approach has been to create a two-way dialogue from the outset, which has empowered the local community to take an active role in developing a vision and plans not just for existing residents, but for future generations to come.

Initial community workshop

This open dialogue started with a community workshop event on 12th June 2018 at Eynsham Scout Hall, which was attended by 53 participants. The workshop was an opportunity for local residents to highlight the issues they felt were the most important, these included:

  • Housing (types and tenure)
  • Employment
  • Education and training
  • Governance
  • Infrastructure (grey, green, blue)
  • Retail and leisure
  • Green space, heritage and ecology
  • Health (physical and mental well-being)

 

The aim of the event was to gather feedback from local residents and groups on what the priorities for the Garden Village would be and start formulating a vision for the development.

Initial public exhibition

Grosvenor subsequently held a 2-day community drop-in exhibition on 21st and 23rd June to introduce the team, approach and potential themes for consideration to the wider community. The purpose was to hear what local people thought about the site as well as their initial concerns about how this major development would impact their daily lives.

A feedback form was provided so comments could be collated in a structured way in a manner similar to those used following the previous stakeholder session. Grosvenor was pleased to have 250 people attend the drop-in event and produced a report to detail the output and help us move forward

Study Tours

In early 2019, Grosvenor invited the local community and organisations to join the team on a series of study tours to learn from other large residential-led developments at various stages of evolution. The first tour took place on 31st January to Cambridgeshire, taking in Cambourne, Aura, Trumpington Meadows and North West Cambridge. The second was on 28th February to Hertfordshire, visiting Fairfield Park, Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City.

The study tours were a mix of presentations and guided walks which offered the opportunity for learning about placemaking, green open spaces, housing mix, types, densities, local amenities, employment, delivery models and stewardship.

The feedback received from attendees was incorporated into a report which provides a note of the lessons learned and knowledge exchanged during the tours.  These findings continue to feed into the emerging proposals and our continued collaborative engagement with the local Eynsham community.

Design Charrette

A Design Charrette is a collaborative meeting between members of the local community and the project team, who work together to sketch designs, explore ideas and develop innovative ways to solve problems.

At the request of the community and in order to follow best practice in community engagement, Grosvenor and the Council co-hosted a Design Charrette from 15th to 18th May 2019 which featured a site tour, a 2-day design workshop in a venue near Witney and a public drop-in session of the outputs in Eynsham.

35 people attended the walking tour of the site led by the tenant farmer and Grosvenor and project teams. This was a helpful opportunity to understand the site better, in particular areas of ecological importance, sightlines and existing connectivity, as well as constraints on integration and development.

The 2-day workshop commenced with a session of key technical briefings to bring attendees up to speed with all the surveys and reports that had been carried out over the last 18 months including:

  • Landscape, Ecology, Heritage, Archaeology
  • Transport, Energy & Innovation
  • Housing & Design
  • Infrastructure Delivery Plan
  • Community Infrastructure (Education & Health)
  • Employment & Economy

Subsequently participants were asked to imagine the Garden Village in 2050 and how it would adapt to prioritise different themes such as green infrastructure and being intergenerational and inclusive.

Day 2, Friday 17th, continued with a review of the headlines and key choices from Day 1 outputs.  Working groups then covered the following themes which were focussed on developing spatial thinking:

  • Quality of place
  • Local amenities/assets
  • Connections to wider area
  • Landscape
  • Walkable neighbourhoods
  • Land uses and locations

In the afternoon, working groups focussed on developing design concepts with groups encouraged to apply principles of good placemaking by sketching on A1 sheets of paper traced over the overall constraints map.

Public display of Design Charrette materials

On Saturday 18th May, just over 200 people attended the drop-in session at Eynsham Scout Hall where the outputs from the 2-day workshop were on display for the wider community to review and comment.  Two half-hour presentations also took place to give background and context and a few attendees from the Design Charrette were at hand to explain the process to their neighbours.

The materials were subsequently displayed by WODC at their offices in Witney over 4 days from the 20th May and by Grosvenor at Eynsham Library for a further 4 days from the 19th June.  The final round-off for the Design Charrette process was a drop-in session on Monday the 24th June at the Sports Pavilion, Eynsham, hosted by Grosvenor.

Design Code Workshop

As part of the ongoing consultation with the local community, Grosvenor held a Design Code workshop with local residents, community groups and members of the project team to help guide the design of the Garden Village, including land uses, landscaping, movement, urban design principles and character areas.

At the end of the event, the project team explained that the discussions during the workshop and subsequent feedback would be fed into the ongoing work being conducted to pull together the draft masterplan and formulate the design code.

Masterplan Framework Public Exhibition

Grosvenor held a public exhibition to present Oxfordshire Garden Village Masterplan Framework to the public for comment. The boards that were presented at the exhibition can be viewed here: Oxfordshire Garden Village Masterplan Framework – Public Exhibition Boards – 29th & 30th November 2019.

Over 200 people attended the exhibition, where members of the project team were on hand to answer questions about the timeline for the scheme.

The boards took residents through the Garden Village journey, showing how proposals had evolved through previously community consultation events, including study tours, the Design Charrette and a Design Code workshop.

Attendees had the chance to speak with members of the design and planning team, and pose any questions they may have on the next steps and the planning application.

There was also an opportunity for the local community to provide feedback on the proposals, and comments received will be fed into ongoing work the project team are undertaking.

This will support the continued development of planning documents, which will be submitted at the beginning of next year.

In parallel with these large consultation events, Grosvenor continues to have regular meetings with various local groups, individuals and interested parties.