Community sketch plans for Salt Cross

Over 100 people from across the community came together to design, discuss and plan Salt Cross.

In 2017, Grosvenor was appointed by local landowners to bring forward a planning application for Salt Cross, formerly known as the Oxfordshire Garden Village. This will be a new neighbourhood in West Oxfordshire with 2,200 new homes, community infrastructure and new business space.

Grosvenor’s approach to community engagement is based on building trust and trying to encourage open and honest communication. This gives us the best chance of ensuring that the new neighbourhood will benefit existing and future residents, directly reflecting local needs and ambitions while also being realistic and deliverable.

We saw this approach in action at a three-day design and planning activity called a ‘Design Charrette’. The group sessions provided space for an intensive collaboration between members of the community and the project team to discuss the site, explore different points of view, and sketch designs to reflect these ideas.   

Over 100 people attended the charrette. It was preceded by a series of study tours where Grosvenor invited community members to explore the principles behind other award-winning developments and see what could be learned.

Supported by independent facilitators, attendees split into groups, discussing and designing sketches around the themes of community facilities, employment provision, connectivity, housing, sustainability and character.

Silvia Lazzerini, Grosvenor’s project lead for Salt Cross commented: “A significant part of our role as promoters of the site is to understand the many voices and priorities of a community and consider how best to incorporate them in our proposals. Taking into account all these separate ambitions is critical to creating place that everyone will see as their home. This Design Charrette was a chance to involve the community meaningfully in decision-making and move the designs forward together.”

“Eynsham and the surrounding area has a very established community. We are grateful for all the organisational efforts, time and input of residents, the Parish Council and local groups. Prior to the Charrette, separate meetings were also initiated and run by various groups to ensure their input would be heard loud and clear.”

Immediately following the Charrette, Grosvenor and West Oxfordshire District Council held a joint public exhibition to give the wider community an opportunity to view and feedback on the design outcomes. These were also on display in both the village of Eynsham and West Oxfordshire District Council offices for maximum visibility.

Later in 2019, the project team will present their concept masterplan framework for the Garden Village informed by the community-led designs.

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Watch a short summary of the charrette

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