In 2015, Cherwell District Council commissioned CFO to research a community development approach which could help ‘create self-sustaining socially active communities, where residents participate in a range of social and recreational activities at neighbourhood facilities, but also have a positive sense of belonging to the wider community’. Subsequently, in 2016, CFO was commissioned by South and Vale District Councils and Sovereign Housing Association to set out best practice recommendations for building vibrant, sustainable communities on major new housing developments.
Community Development and Placemaking – A Best Practice Model summarises the findings of these two research studies.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to building thriving, socially cohesive and self-sustaining communities. Different locations will have different development pressures and challenges. However, CFO believes that a place-making approach based on the principles and recommendations set out in the report offers the best chance for new communities to flourish.
The Woodstock Community and Infrastructure Delivery Plan
Several new housing sites will be developed in Woodstock in coming years, with hundreds of new homes. In 2019, Woodstock Town Council and Blenheim Estate asked CFO to identify resident priorities for new or improved physical infrastructure and community infrastructure and recommend how they could be achieved.
Hundreds of people were consulted and huge range of issues, concerns and opportunities were discussed. As well as improved physical infrastructure, community needs were also prominent, such as improving peer to peer support, developing volunteering strategies, and new activities for different demographic groups.