Kevin McCloud's Oxford eco-home plans granted

Barns Road, Cowley, proposal
Image caption A proposed building at Cowley which featured a residents' roof garden was turned down

Plans led by TV presenter Kevin McCloud to build about 70 eco-homes in Oxford have been recommended for approval.

The Grand Designs presenter's house-building company is part of a venture with Oxford City Council to redevelop three sites in Cowley and Northway.

A council planning meeting on Wednesday approved two developments. A third at Barns Road, Cowley, was rejected.

Mr McCloud said: "We build some of the poorest quality housing in Europe. I want to change all that."

The proposed building at Barns Road, which featured 40 apartments with a residents' roof garden and a community garden, was turned down over parking concerns and the size of its community centre.

Hemp plant walls

The Westlands Drive project for two three-storey mansion blocks containing 21 flats with a communal garden was approved.

Image caption Kevin McCloud (right) led extensive public consultations with Oxford residents

The proposed development at Dora Carr Close will provide 19 houses, and a four-storey mansion block containing 28 flats another communal garden was also approved.

The development includes a hall with sports changing rooms, café areas, local business units, and outdoor areas for growing food.

Walls are built from Hemcrete, a material made from the hemp plant, and rainwater is harvested from the roofs of houses.

Each site has a community focus with homes containing a touchscreen panel that acts as a virtual notice board on which residents can leave messages for all to read.

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