Highwood’s acquisition of land close to the centre of Botley’s historic market village and subsequent planning application culminated in consent for the Sherecroft Farm project being granted in February 2021. The plans were for an exciting new residential development to be built on a site close to the centre of Botley’s historic market village, which would contribute to the village’s sustainable growth and enhance its stunning landscape.
The plans comprised a delightful collection of 115 one, two, three, four and five-bedroom character homes set within intimate ‘pocket’ spaces of landscaped courtyards, paddock and farmyard areas.
Our plans detailed a distinctive range of house types, from maisonettes, apartments and affordable homes to a mix of traditional and contemporary executive homes. Each takes inspiration from the village with exposed rafters, chimneys, traditional windows and slate roofs featuring heavily – the original staddle stone barn and wall on the edge of the existing site will also be retained and incorporated into the scheme.
With part of the development covering the Sherecroft Meadow Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), Highwood’s plans focussed on an ecologically rich vision for the whole site that will enhance biodiversity and create new ecological habitats. Our plans included tree-lined streets, pocket parks, natural play areas, an integral nature reserve, planted swales and pedestrian-friendly links to green spaces that extend along both sides of the development.
The construction of the development was to be integrated with works on the long-awaited Botley bypass and would comprise a picturesque green route to create easy access to surrounding areas while keeping traffic away from the village centre. Minimising the impact of fast-flowing vehicles through Botley has long been a matter of contention for local residents and the opening of the new road would come as a welcome relief.
The scheme also incorporated improved links between the town centre and railway station and enhanced pedestrian and cycle routes to support its green infrastructure. Convenient car parking would be created for the train station, relieving parking pressure at peak times and encouraging greater use of public transport.
In line with all our high-profile projects, we collaborated closely with local residents and councils; one of the challenges on this project was working with both Winchester City Council and Eastleigh Borough Council as the land at Sherecroft Farm straddles both parties’ jurisdiction.
Key to the ultimate success of this project was Highwood’s ability to gain a delegated decision on the proposed development without referral to committee; approval for a site that wasn’t allocated in the Local Plan is particularly unusual, making this decision particularly welcome.
Construction of the new development was scheduled for late 2023.
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