We strive to consult and engage with local communities and local authorities to determine what local issues can be addressed through any proposed development.
It’s the right way to move forward and that approach to community engagement proved to be integral to the success of our work in Kingston Bagpuize in the Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire.
Our journey began when we identified strategically important land with untapped development potential off the village’s Witney Road.
We spotted its budding potential through analysis of the existing local plan and settlement boundaries where we thought land could come forward in a review of the existing local plan.
The next step was working out where it would be logical to extend settlement boundaries.
Once we were satisfied of the site’s merits, the next step was to make contact with the landowners and begin discussions over its future.
It certainly had lots of potential, but it quickly became apparent to us that it would make more sense all round if we could bring on board neighbouring land to make it a bigger site.
Thankfully, the two families agreed it would be great to work together to bring the site forward.
In fact, they liked the idea so much that they tested the offer on the market – which was of course well within their rights - and we ended up signing an agreement with them both in May 2014.
So far, so good but at that point the Vale of White Horse Council had introduced their local plan, and yet the site wasn’t allocated.
We made an approach to Vale of White Horse officials because there was a shortfall on residential land allocated and it turned out that we approached them at the right time.
We were given the green light to work with the landowners to turn a parcel of land into an area for much-needed new homes.
Then we took our plans to residents who initially opposed them but through a process of community engagement and public consultation events we worked towards resolution.
We did that by getting a feel for what they wanted to see delivered by development for the benefit of the community such as a new scout hall and support for cricket club boost.
A planning application was submitted in September 2015 and we secured planning permission by following June.
We took that permission to the marketplace and sold the site for 280 units to a Bloor Homes in 2018.
It’s now nearly complete which is extremely gratifying for two reasons: the landowners have unlocked the full value of their land and because the local community will be invigorated by lots of new families who are able to call a beautiful part of the world their home.