Dozens of Hook Norton residents descended upon the village’s famous brewery last week to see plans for the proposed community led low carbon housing development.
Hook Norton Low Carbon (HNLC), a community organisation dedicated to reducing the carbon foot print of the village, conducted a number of meetings with residents, who all agreed that they needed genuinely affordable, sustainable homes that would encourage stronger community spirit and social contact.
Hook Norton resident, TV presenter and architectural designer, Charlie Luxton was asked to bring forth a design for the ambitious plan which he presented to villagers at the meeting.
Mr Luxton said: “The way the project started was with that sense of defeat or disempowerment that has come from wave of estate after estate that we’ve had in the village that seemingly answer none of the large questions that are being asked about housing; around sustainability, affordability, about community , about encouraging and enriching what makes Hook Norton Hook Norton rather than just making the same as other villages that are having all these houses built.
He added: “I think there was a feeling in HNLC that the way to try and take control of this situation was to lead from the front.”
What Charlie Luxton Design have produced are three proposals all with long term sustainability and low environmental impact at their core.
Each plan includes; adaptable housing units that can be configured to accommodate single occupants or families, shared greenhouses and/or allotment space, communal buildings for storage and events, off site parking, shared green spaces and energy production technology.
The plan has been mooted for construction on land owned by Cherwell District Council and HNLC are currently in talks with CDC about the acquisition of the land.
In order to prevent the homes being bought by property developers to be immediately resold, thus nullifying any affordability the homes may have had, the site will be ran by a committee with leases of 99 years or more available on the homes.
Tim Lunel of HNLC, said: “The very first step is to get approval from councillors to pass the land over, that is scheduled for April.
“As soon as that happens we can put in a planning application. We would aim to have that in by September.”
If approved the scheme may become a blueprint for similar projects across the UK but it is that outside of the box thinking that may be problematic in the short term.
Mr Lunel added: “The biggest thing is around parking as you have to have a certain number of parking spaces per home which is what we’re geared up for now with multiple car ownership.
“That makes it difficult in terms of having a plan for single car ownership and the use of community cars.”
For more information on the low carbon group visit their website.