In the letter from CMYK (Planning and Design) Limited, which prompted the recent sequence of events, and confirmed Taylor Wimpey’s plans to drop the award winning Oxley Woods housing scheme, there were several points which have raised concern among residents. I just want to focus on a few of those in this post.
One point in the letter that has caused raised eyebrows is this line:
As Outline consent already exists on this land, we are not seeking comments on the principles of development
Surely the principles of this development are fundamental to any changes Taylor Wimpey wish to make? Surely you cannot simply switch from award winning, Government backed, sustainable house construction, to higher density, brick built houses without re-apply for planning?
What they do want is “feedback on the appearance of the dwellings”. I’ve given mine using the loaded questionnaire I received. But the final question feels almost like a trap, to offer “positive feedback” which would be used in the planning process. I could be wrong, but for several reasons I don’t really trust these people. You can see the full questionnaire here (PDF Link) to make your own mind up.
Now, CMYK (Planning and Design) Limited. It is my view there is a LOT more to these properties than “colour” and there’s a lot to dislike about your plans beside a lack thereof.
Rumours began that this was coming in August 2010, thanks to a conversation between a fellow resident and builders on site. It’s taken until January 2011 for anything to be seen. So, lets assume that it hasn’t all been behind the scenes negotiation up until that point, and it’s all been about planning and making sure the proposed houses “fit” within Oxley Woods.
During this time, it appears that CMYK have simply copy and pasted designs from nearby Oxley Gate (also built by Taylor Wimpey), taken off some of the features (solar roof panels), and crammed 26 of them in the space of a planned 23 further RSH+P designed properties.
On that basis, we thought we’d save CMYK and Wimpey several months of work, by taking literally minutes to add their suggested “use of more colour, for example”, and see how much this would beautify their properties, and help them blend seamlessly with the Oxley Woods street scene.
The results haven’t changed our minds.
What we have:
What Taylor Wimpey suggested building:
An adapted version using “more colour” as intimated at by CMYK:
Beautiful? Fitting? Helping create a compelling and cohesive street scene? I don’t think so.
You see, this is about much more than colour, it goes beyond the face value interpretation of “design”. Taylor Wimpey and CMYK between them failing to see or acknowledge this highlights the threat to the development. I truly hope RSH+P come back on board, and save us from this disaster waiting to happen.