The 145 home Oxley Woods housing development has won plaudits, international recognition, and many prizes. Our homes and community have received the following accolades:
- The Manser Medal for Houses and Housing Award 2008 – awarded during RIBA Stirling Prize
- Housebuilding Innovation Awards 2007 – Housebuilding Innovator of the Year (large housebuilder) and
Best Innovation in the Use of Materials and Products
- Housing Design Awards 2008 – Large House Builder category
- RICS South East Regional Award 2008 - Sustainability category
- RIBA South Regional Award 2008
- Evening Standard New Homes Award 2008
- RICS National Awards – Sustainability category 2008
- Building for Life 2008 – Gold Standard.
For us, the most amazing thing this development has achieved, despite being almost 20% short of completion, is a strong sense of community.
That’s right, the residents of this RSH+P designed residential development actually talk to one-another!
Having lived in a various communities, new and young, in and around Milton Keynes, I can honestly say the people here are the most friendly, talkative, and proud bunch of residents I’ve had the pleasure to interact with. It’s something that’s hard to measure, something you cant put your finger on. But these houses, even for their pitfalls and problems, are unique. And the wide range of people, from probably as diverse backgrounds and communities as you could imagine, have all been drawn here by the unique proposition of purchasing one of these very special homes, of being part of a very special community.
And it isn’t just us who recognise this.
The Homes and Communities Agency (of whom English Partnerships are now part) in their report “Design for Manufacture, Lessons Learnt 2″ make numerous mentions of how succeful Oxley Woods is proving, not only in terms of the technology and building techniques employed, but in the community which is growing up here.
Customer feedback has been very positive. Most occupants would be very happy to recommend the development to their friends and families, and a community spirit is already thriving. DfM Report available to download from the HCA website
The three main partners involved have been Taylor Wimpey, Wood Newton and RSH+P. Each of these partners have been responsible for helping to promote and establish the ethos and attitude behind Oxley Woods. As have the Homes and Communities Agency (formerly English Partnerships), and more locally Milton Keynes Partnership (who have even arranged school trips to show future generations how important Oxley Woods is). All of these organisations, and several others, have gained a range of publicity, money and respect for the ethos and attitude of the Oxley Woods development.
So why do I bring this up now? Because it highlights all the more why it seems obsurd that Taylor Wimpey are planning on scrapping this development, despite being less than 85% complete, in favour of the following, brick built, anonymous housing. If Taylor Wimpey has their way, these properties (shown below), are going to be built on the Oxley Woods site in place of the planned RSH+P eco-homes, at a higher density.
I believe this shows a complete lack of respect. A lack of respect for the neighbourhood. A lack of respect for the residents. A lack of respect for all those people, from school children to upcoming architects, who have been told that Oxley Woods and the RSH+P designed homes point the way forward. A lack of respect to the designers and their vision. A lack of respect to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Design for Manufacture programme. A lack of respect for the efforts of ALL those involved to push through the original, forward thinking, out of the ordinary plans. A lack of respect for themselves, to abondon a flagship development in favour of brick-built mundanety for the sake, it would seem most likely, of higher profit margins.
Yes this project has no doubt been challenging, yes it’s been a steep learning curve. But those awards, and the many residents who will sing to the hills the virtues of our unique, growing community, are testament to the fact that the ideology is right, that those who fought and planned and worked towards achieving this were right, and that to abandon that now, is wrong.
If you are reading this because you care about Oxley Woods, about architecture, about urban design, about the standard of people’s lives, and the values of community, then please, in whatever way you can, support our pleas to the developers to see this thing through, to build the homes they’ve made a commitment to make, that the residents of Oxley Woods have shown faith in. At the very least, try something new, keep moving forward, maybe gain further plaudits, and don’t fragment our community.