Oxley Woods continues to receive frequent visits from folk keen to see first hand its innovative design and award winning construction approach. Today was the turn of over 40 students from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Urban and Regional studies. They braved the wet and windy conditions to view the wider Oxley Park estate, before finishing with a tour of Oxley Woods.
But it isn’t just students keen to learn about Oxley Woods. As well as featuring in the media (everything from Radio 4 Moneybox to Flog it!), residents regularly host visits from councils and companies interested in pursuing similar approaches to the panellised construction used here. In recent months, we’ve fielded repeat visits and many questions from architects and bankers keen to learn more about building performance:
Can you hear the neighbours? (No)
Is it cheap to heat? (Yes)
Aren’t these massive windows fantastic? (I see you are thinking aloud, but anyway: yes, they are)
What would you change if you could? (More storage space, please)
Do residents really get together for picnics and planning application battles? (Yes, and yes)
The list goes on…
Which makes it such a shame that Taylor Wimpey seem set on not wanting to complete our internationally award winning Oxley Woods estate. Their latest plans are a tweaked version of the scheme rejected by planners last year. Once again they are proposing to use traditional building methods and would only meet the minimum environmental performance and liveability standards. Anything that could be conceived of as innovative design or an attempt to match the standards set by the existing homes was rejected behind a claim of ‘viability’.
But viewed from our perspective, it looks like Taylor Wimpey are failing to move with the times. We know they decided years ago they didn’t want to complete the site as originally proposed and have continued to seek ways of wriggling out of their commitments. Meanwhile, other housebuilders are increasingly looking at alternative methods of construction.
Furthermore, the techniques used here at Oxley Woods have themselves been improved. Now part of the SIG group, the Insulshell panel system achieves even greater building performance while maintaining the simple and speedy build times of the original design. But don’t take our word for it. Have a watch on YouTube:
So how about it, Taylor Wimpey? You may not want to finish Oxley Woods properly, but we residents do. And if you really don’t want to take up our offer of assistance, we’ll gladly work with anyone else interested in securing a positive solution for the estate. Because it’s our home, and a great place to live – both inside and out. We already have brilliantly designed houses, and a friendly community of neighbours. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to want that for the remainder of the site too.