Skip to main content

Who is Summix?

Summix has a track record of delivering projects which integrate the highest levels of environmental and social sustainability principles across the UK and Ireland.

Since our inception in 2006, we have evolved an approach to project delivery that focuses on long term stakeholder partnerships, placemaking and working with the most experienced technical and design teams. Our design-led approach creates developments that are sympathetic to their context, innovative and utilise sustainable building techniques.

We pride ourselves on engaging stakeholders and communities at an early stage to ensure that development reflects local aspirations and meets local needs.

How big is the site comprising Harrington?

The site covers an area of 429 hectares with more than half of the site earmarked for green infrastructure, public amenity space and food growing space.

How long has Summix had an interest in the site?

Our long-term commitment to bring forward an exemplary new and sustainable settlement at Harrington dates back to 2014, since when we have been evolving proposals to create an exemplar in sustainable community building.

What is the site used for at the moment?

The site currently comprises farmed land which is of a low ecological and limited biodiversity value and is not in the green belt or in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

How many homes do you envisage will be built as part of the new community?

Working side-by-side with the local community, the ambition for Harrington is to create a new community with all the best attributes of a small traditional market town, but with 21st century sustainability. That means a new secondary school, new primary schools, a great range of community shops and cafes in a central high street and in local neighbourhoods,  employment and places to work flexibly, transport links, GP surgeries, leisure and community facilities and so much more.

Our current assessments suggest that, to sustain this range of services, the community would need to grow to approximately 5,000 homes, featuring a broad range of tenures and affordability to suit all incomes – or to put it another way, a thriving new community of the size of a small market town like Thame. With all of the homes and amenities delivered, there would still be enough space for more than half of the site to be earmarked for green infrastructure – primarily public parks and community food growing space.

How does this latest ambition differ to previous proposals for Harrington?

The idea of creating a new settlement at Harrington has evolved over time in response to the development of the Council’s Local Plans for South Oxfordshire.

As the Local Plan process looks to shape the future of the area for the next 20+ years, we are involving local people and stakeholders in the design of the community from a very early stage, which will inform the creation of a new masterplan.

We believe the best way for Harrington to reflect the needs and aspirations of local communities, future residents and local businesses is to co-create a proposal that is inclusive, innovative and genuinely delivers on a collective vision of a great place to live and work.

Does the site lie in the green belt or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)?

No, in contrast to many other sites proposed to be included as part of the Council’s emerging Local Plan, the site does not lie in the Green Belt or AONB.

Why is building a new settlement the right approach?

Rather than urban sprawl endlessly enlarging around existing Oxfordshire towns and villages, we believe a new settlement offers a chance to do something different and much more attractive – delivering the sustainable growth and homes South Oxfordshire needs, without the need for further development surrounding and ruining historic communities including in the green belt or the Chilterns AONB.

While so much development is reliant on people using the car to live and work, Harrington will offer residents a place where everything is within easy, safe and attractive walking and cycling distance – schools, GP facilities, play areas, places to work, shops to visit and so much more.

Instead of building more housing estates which lack character and ruin historic towns and villages, a new settlement offers a chance to create an attractive 21st century community with new homes and all the facilities that people need, reflecting the very best of Oxfordshire.

What do you mean by zero carbon ready?

Net zero carbon ready homes are built with high energy efficiency and use low carbon technologies such as heat pumps or alternate forms of electric heating that replace the use of gas boilers. These already low-carbon technologies will become fully carbon net-zero as the national electricity grid is decarbonised, meaning these homes will not need retrofitting in the future in order to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

Why is there a need for more homes in South Oxfordshire and how will you ensure they are affordable for everyone?

The UK, and particularly Oxfordshire, is in the midst of a housing crisis where people are growing up in areas that they will be unable to afford a home in if the shortage of homes is not addressed through the provision of new homes. This is because the older generation is living longer than ever before, whilst in recent decades there has been a second major post war baby boom.

As a result, it’s easy to see that the dream of having an affordable place of your own to live and work risks being out of reach for a whole generation of local young families – and an older local generation seeking somewhere to downsize within their community are also struggling to find a home to meet their changing needs. Without urgent action to deliver more homes that people can afford, this problem will only get worse and more local people will be priced out of where they grew up.

Harrington will meet these needs, featuring a broad range of house sizes and tenures to cater for every need, including shared-ownership, affordable rent, rent-to-buy as well as homes that prioritise local people including the older generation and self-build opportunities, plus all the facilities people need for day-to-day living and recreation.

Wouldn’t it be better to have development on brownfield sites instead?

Extending existing towns and villages or building on brownfield sites to deliver further housing is often complex due to planning constraints, limited suitable land available, increased road congestion and overloading of existing services. Even if all the brownfield sites could be developed, unless traditional Oxfordshire towns and villages saw high rise developments and more and more families lived in flats, local needs would not be met.

Over the coming decades Harrington will demonstrate how to build a sustainable community which makes a significant contribution to Oxfordshire’s transition to carbon neutrality whilst providing homes people want and protecting traditional towns and villages from over-development – a national exemplar of what can be done.

What heritage assets lie within or close to Harrington?

The site contains one listed building, Lobb Farmhouse, and is nearby a number of other listed buildings and other heritage assets, which are all protected under national planning rules. These include the Windmill to the west and a stone road marker to the north on the A40. Additionally, there is a non-designated heritage asset on site (Manor Farm). We will be working alongside the local community to protect these assets as much as possible – and in some cases restore them and bring them into community use.

We will also respect the setting of nearby conservation areas, which will be carefully considered as the Harrington proposal evolves.

To what extent is the site of archaeological interest?

There are a few areas within the site’s boundary of the site that are of some archaeological interest. These have been recorded and will remain protected as we continue to adhere to national and local archaeological guidance and methodology, avoiding development in these key areas of interest.

Have you considered Harrington’s location in proximity to the nearby Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)?

The Harrington site is situated outside the recommended 5km ‘buffer’ around the Chilterns AONB, meaning the AONB will not be significantly impacted. In addition, we are committed to adhering to all guidance in relation to the AONB. Particularly as Harrington is a landscape-led scheme, we will ensure the distant views of the AONB become a high-quality and unique feature of Harrington, whilst the settlement will not be detrimental to those enjoying the AONB itself.

What is the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire Innovation Corridor?

Harrington is perfectly located to be a catalyst for enhancing the links across science, technology and communities that form an “Innovation Corridor” from Grove & Wantage in the west to Aylesbury in the east. Ideally placed as the ‘missing link’ in this chain, Harrington will bring to this Innovation Corridor improved public transport connectivity between communities and science and innovation destinations including Harwell Campus, Culham Science Park and Westcott Venture Park as well as much needed homes.

How will people travel along the Innovation Corridor?

Located in the heart of this corridor while on an accessible route into Oxford, Harrington is situated and scaled to deliver greatly enhanced sustainable public transport connectivity to link up smaller communities and employment centres across southern Oxfordshire.

The ambition is to provide new public transport services along this corridor, which would be reliable, integrated and accessible.

Do you have plans to submit a planning application?

Harrington is being promoted through the emerging Joint Local Plan (2041) currently being brought forward by South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils. There are no plans to submit a planning application at this stage.

We are committed to working side-by-side with local residents, businesses and other organisations to co-create a community that is inclusive, innovative and genuinely delivers on a collective Vision of a great place to live and work.