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Waterside, UK. Undercurrent architects_3d render

Project Details:

Waterside Village, Oxfordshire UK

Year: 2004-2005

Clients: Grove Technology Park, Crown Technologies, Williams F1 Engineering

Images from promotional animation to show sequence of restoring canal and locating housing around water


Wantage Waterside is a counter proposal to the Government Development Plan, using a restored canal as the centrepiece of the housing and village design.

Led by the 3 largest employers in the locality, the proposal aimed to change the Government Strategic Plan – a plan which proposed housing in the wrong location and without design merit.

The proposal for a village of 750 houses is focused in-and-around a restored canal, integrating water and landscape within the housing layout, and includes a canal marina, waterfront shops, a leisure area, wetlands and a country park.

The scheme drew widespread community support, including the Canal Authority, Parish councils and the majority of local institutions. It struck a chord with many other communities across the UK – communities facing a similar scenario whereby Government forcing mass development onto their residents. The project was held as an exemplar of imaginative, community-led development throughout the national press, presenting a viable alternative to faceless, mass housing.

In response to community pressure, the case was argued in front of the Government Inspector who agreed with the benefits of the proposal. Unfortunately, the commitment to the established plan was maintained.


Design themes:

–        concept design presented as alternative to Strategic Plan set out by District Planning Authority

–        public lobbying on behalf of 3 major employers

–        brownfield, military sites brought back into use

–        canal restoration and integration with new development

–        housing based on water and environmental opportunities of waterside living

–        public lobbying to overcome Government Planning Policy, across media, press and community events

–        argued in front of Government Inspector


Project Team:

Undercurrent Architects : Didier Ryan