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Local people invited to shape vision for new 21st century sustainable community for South Oxfordshire

October 19, 2022

Residents, businesses and organisations from across South Oxfordshire and beyond are being invited to help co-create a vision for Harrington – a proposed new 21st century sustainable community with all the best attributes of a traditional market town.

As promoter of the scheme, Summix has assembled an nationally respected team of experts in creating sustainable communities to bring forward an exemplar new settlement which best delivers on the emerging aspirations of the area’s Joint Local Plan to meet local needs. Now they are asking the local community to take part in helping to design it with them.

The proposal is that Harrington will have everything in place for residents to lead a healthy, low carbon lifestyle in an enterprising and supportive new community. Applying the principles of One Planet Living®, the ambition includes a commitment to sustainability, health and wellbeing, great community services, enhancing biodiversity and protecting the wider environment.

Situated to the south of the A40 and in close proximity to Junction 7 of the M40, the land assembled to deliver Harrington is neither in the Oxford Green Belt nor the Chilterns AONB. Crucially, the new settlement will be designed to deliver the sustainable amenities and homes South Oxfordshire needs, without contributing to urban sprawl around existing communities.

As well as providing a sustainable community in its own right, Harrington is located to be a catalyst for enhanced connectivity across the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire “Innovation Corridor” from Grove & Wantage in the west to Aylesbury in the east. The vision for this Innovation Corridor will improve connectivity between communities and science and innovation destinations including Harwell Campus, Culham Science Park and Westcott Venture Park.

To shape the vision for Harrington, the team are inviting people to participate at a Community Planning Weekend from Friday 11th to Tuesday 15th November at the Hilton Oxford Belfry, London Road, Milton Common, OX9 2JW. The Community Planning Weekend, also known as a ‘Charrette’, gives local people, businesses and other organisations the opportunity to co-create a community that is inclusive, innovative and genuinely delivers on a collective vision for South Oxfordshire.

In the run up to the Community Planning Weekend, people can provide their initial comments on the local area and views on shaping a 21st century community at Harrington via an interactive map and questionnaire.

Greg Mitchell, Executive Planning Director for Summix, said:

“We’re really looking forward to working side-by-side with the local community to explore the best ways to deliver a genuinely sustainable 21st century community with all the best attributes of a market town – including great facilities, sustainable homes and jobs to meet local needs.

“Building a new community for the 21st century means you can deliver a wide array of amenities within easy reach for local people, much more than what’s possible by extending existing towns and villages with endless new estates which all too often destroy local character and add pressure onto existing services.

“At the same time, we’re especially aware that new generations growing up in Oxfordshire are struggling to find decent affordable housing. The new settlement would be the opportunity to provide attractive, energy efficient new homes for local people, at all tenures, to suit all incomes.

“As we look forward to delivering for future generations, our ambition is that Harrington will reflect not just the needs of today, but how we will live in the decades to come. We encourage anyone interested in finding out more about Harrington and who wants to help shape the future of the new settlement to come along to the Community Planning Weekend.”

Announcing Summix’s ambition for Harrington marks the beginning of an exciting journey involving the local community to create a new and sustainable 21st century community for South Oxfordshire.