Entrance to Estate Office, Blenheim

Blenheim Estate Office Wins Oxford Preservation Trust Award

The Blenheim Estate Office has been recognised in the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards 2019.

The single-storey office received an OPT plaque in the Small Projects category for the annual awards celebrating the best in building conservation and preservation as well as exemplary new architecture.

The Estate Office, which opened in Woodstock last year, is situated within the World Heritage Site.

It features traditional materials combining ashlar cladding to the front elevation, with contemporary design, including floor-to-ceiling glass panels to the rear, providing views across the UNESCO World Heritage Site under a shallow pitch zinc roof.

“The Awards attracted a strong list of projects this year. The Blenheim Estate Office was up there with the best, and we were delighted to award it a plaque recognising the way in which the architects and team have created a rather beautiful, and very usable building which can sit happily within this World Heritage landscape,” said Debbie Dance, OPT Director.

In addition to its historic setting, the new building also respects the use of local materials used in the construction of Blenheim Palace including; limestone ashlar blocks and lime mortar to blend into its historic surroundings.

It was one of Oxford-based architect Andrew Spurring’s last projects and is a fitting legacy to his award-winning work.

“We are very pleased to have received this recognition from the Oxford Preservation Trust which has a long and illustrious record protecting and supporting the city’s buildings and its green spaces,” said Roger File, Director of Blenheim Estate.

“The Estate Office makes use of traditional materials and building techniques combined with the latest technological advances to create something which both sits comfortably within its historic surroundings and minimises its impact on the environment.

“It is a fine example of what great modern design can achieve and is a credit to the architect Andrew Spurring’s memory.” he added.

Despite its traditional build, the office incorporates state-of-the-art heating and lighting features to minimise energy consumption in line with Blenheim’s goal to become a net generator of green energy by 2027.

A heat exchanger unit provides both ventilation and heating for the entire building through vents in the floor and the temperature and CO2 levels are controlled automatically.

All lighting is LED, energy efficient and features motion sensors. The car park also features cycle racks for bikes as well as four electric car charging points.


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Aerial view River of Life - small

Carter Jonas Appointed by the Earth Trust for River of Life II

Carter Jonas, the national property consultancy, has been appointed by the Earth Trust to provide planning expertise for the delivery of the environmental charity’s River of Life II project, which will create new wetland habitats along the River Thames and River Thame.

River of Life II will involve creating new wetland areas to improve the natural landscape and promote biodiversity. These physical works require planning permission and Carter Jonas will be responsible for preparing the Supporting Planning Statements, checking and submitting the necessary planning application documents and engaging with South Oxfordshire District Council.

The Earth Trust has partnered with local landowners Church Farm Partnership and The Hurst Water Meadow Trust with new water ecosystems proposed at three locations in South Oxfordshire – Long Wittenham, Little Wittenham and Dorchester-on-Thames. The new habitats will include 16 ponds and seven backwater channels plus wet woodland, which will connect to the River Thames to provide
a refuge for fish.

River of Life II will incorporate the Earth Trust’s Clifton Meadow on the south bank of the River Thames, Church Farm north of Days Lock and Overy Mead on the banks of the River Thame. The proposed wetlands are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so will be sympathetic to their surrounds while creating much needed habitat for insects, birds, fish and other wildlife. Little Wittenham Wood is home to one of the United Kingdom’s most significant populations of great crested newts and has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. Several new ponds will be created in the wood to strengthen the population and provide a safe haven for other amphibians affected by climate change.

Huw Mellor, a Partner, at Carter Jonas, said: “It is unusual for a planning consultant to work on a project where the end result is not a physical structure. River of Life II is an important project at a time when the environment is high in the public conscience. If we are successful, the wetland habitat created will look like it has always been a permanent part of the landscape in ten years’ time. I worked closely with the Earth Trust in the past, so I look forward to helping the organisation advance this ambitious project.”

Jayne Manley, Chief Executive, Earth Trust, said: “Land next to rivers and streams can provide healthy life support systems for all life through biodiverse, functioning, natural freshwater ecosystems. To do this, land needs to be able to slow down and filter water and this can be done through the addition of wetland features such as ponds and water channels that are within the floodplain, some of which are connected to the river. The creation of these features alongside mosaics of other natural habitats such as woodland improve the quality of the landscape.”

River of Life II follows the success of the Earth Trust’s first River of Life project near Shillingford in
South Oxfordshire.

For further information, please contact: Philippa Murray Head of PR, Carter Jonas: philippa.murray@carterjonas.co.uk

Carter Jonas

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(Left) Vicky Godfrey, Director of DNA Pal accepting the Pitching for Success Award from Wendy Tindsley, Innovation Director at the Cherwell Innovation Centre

App designer delivers award-winning presentation in annual Oxfordshire pitching competition

The developer of an innovative DNA-based diet and lifestyle app fended off strong competition to successfully deliver an award-winning presentation at an annual Oxfordshire competition.

Vicky Godfrey, Director of DNAPal, impressed judges with her ‘energy and tenacity’ to claim the title in the Pitching for Success round at VentureFest Oxford.

The developer of DNAPal, an easy-to-use app providing simple, reliable DNA-based diet and lifestyle information and advice, was awarded the use of a professional virtual office service, including a telephone answering and postal mailing address for 12 months at one of the 24 Innovation Centres owned by Oxford Innovation, sponsors of the event.

She said: “When you order a DNA test you are provided with a lengthy 26-page document. DNAPal uses the raw data and breaks it down into bite-sized lifestyle and diet advice.

“For example, someone who drinks five cups of coffee a day may actually discover they possess the caffeine intolerant gene and drinking those cups of coffee actually triggers anxiety, stress and sleep problems.”

The app uses this information to develop manageable targets to reduce caffeine intake at a realistic pace.

Vicky added: “Users can provide feedback and notice that their anxiety levels have in fact gone down, so another challenge is set to achieve even better results. Points are awarded when challenges are met, these can be used to unlock other areas of the app.”

Innovation Director at Oxford Innovation’s Cherwell Innovation Centre, in Upper Heyford, Wendy Tindsley, was asked to judge the Pitching for Success heats.

The annual competition was launched in 1998 to bring together innovators, investors and entrepreneurs to make connections that lead to new investments, new businesses and new ideas in the high-tech sector.

She said: “There has been a very rapid growth in individual DNA testing and I thought that DNAPal’s application of the technology was novel and appealing.

“Vicky herself impressed me with her energy and tenacity. She faced some penetrating questions from the audience and panel and was able to give comprehensive and thorough answers. She is just the type of exciting entrepreneur we like to support at Oxford Innovation.”

Vicky added: “We do all our work remotely so it will be wonderful to have the support of the team at the Cherwell Innovation Centre.”

Managed by Oxford Innovation, The Cherwell Innovation Centre provides a base to 40 growing businesses. Located in Upper Heyford, on the site of the former RAF Heyford base just a few miles from Bicester, it provides a base to a mix of technology and science companies.

It boasts over 50 self-contained offices for one to 25 people as well as meeting rooms, lab facilities, networking opportunities and a manned reception. Facilities also include free on-site parking, kitchens and showers, with a crèche and mini supermarket nearby.

To find out more about any of the services available at the centre, or to arrange a viewing, please contact the Cherwell Innovation Centre team on 01869 238000 or visit: https://bit.ly/2lRWoVB

Oxford Innovation

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