13 Nov 2013

GreenSquare launches new development programme in West Oxfordshire

GreenSquare launched a £42.5 million new homes development programme in West Oxfordshire at an event in Witney recently with local councillors and other key stakeholders.

These schemes will see the development of 269 new homes for rent, sale, and shared ownership, supported by around £6m investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The development projects, across 9 sites in the district, include ‘extra care’ housing schemes for older people at Witney and Milton-under-Wychwood - both of which are now on site with contractor Leadbitter. 

Fernleigh, at Station Lane in Witney, and The Wychwoods, at Green Lane in Milton-under-Wychwood, are developments of apartments for people aged 55 and above, with support services available and tailored to suit individual needs. Commonly known as ‘extra care’, these developments are part of a modern housing initiative designed to offer independent living with optional on site care and facilities such as a cafe, hairdressers and activity rooms – all in luxurious, beautifully-designed surroundings.

Howard Toplis, GreenSquare’s chief executive, was joined by the HCA’s Stephanie Ainsworth, Cllr Rodney Rose from Oxfordshire County Council, and Cllr Mark Booty from West Oxfordshire District Council, to unveil a sign at the entrance to the Fernleigh development in Witney. This was followed by a reception at Langdale Hall and a drop-in information session for the public.

Howard said: “GreenSquare has a long history of working in Oxfordshire, with the origins of our local housing association dating back to the late nineteenth century and around 3000 homes in the county today.

“We’re delighted to now be developing these new homes for rent, sale and shared ownership in West Oxfordshire, helping to meet the very real demand for new homes in the area. In particular we’re excited to be working with our local authority partners and the HCA to deliver these extra care schemes for older people. These brilliant developments will help people aged 55 or above, who need a little extra help, to continue to live independently in their own home.”

Stephanie Ainsworth, area manager for the HCA, said: “Our Affordable Homes Programme will enable almost 1,300 homes to be built in Oxfordshire by Spring 2015 for rent and shared ownership, of which more than 400 will be extra care homes for older people. There is a large demand for this type of housing in West Oxfordshire and the county generally, which is why we are pleased to support schemes of this type where possible.

“GreenSquare is one of the HCA’s key housing providers in Oxfordshire and we look forward to continuing our strong working relationship.”  

Care staff at the extra care housing schemes built by GreenSquare will work under a contract from Oxfordshire County Council (OCC).

Cllr Rodney Rose, deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Extra care schemes have proved very popular elsewhere, particularly with residents, and we’re positive that these developments will provide a new and modern range of housing and care choices for local older people. The key thing with these is that residents are living at home, not in a home. And everyone has their own front door with the security and independence that brings.”

And Cllr Mark Booty, of West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We’re one hundred percent behind these extra care developments and welcome GreenSquare’s investment in the district. We know that our population is ageing and in West Oxfordshire we have the biggest projected increase in older people in the county, so these new homes at Witney and Milton-under-Wychwood are greatly needed.”

GreenSquare’s new investment in West Oxfordshire is the result of it purchasing a number of former Cottsway Housing projects. 

PHOTO: L-R Howard Toplis, GreenSquare’s chief executive; Cllr Mark Booty from West Oxfordshire District Council; Stephanie Ainsworth, HCA area manager; and Cllr Rodney Rose from Oxfordshire County Council at the entrance to the GreenSquare’s Fernleigh development in Station Lane, Witney.