A gathering has been held to celebrate completion of an affordable housing development in Witney named after local teenager Liberty Baker, who tragically died after being hit by a car.
The street is part of a six-home development by Witney-based Cottsway Housing and Gloucester based construction Company, E G Carter & Co Ltd. The new street has been named Liberty Close.
The two shared ownership and four rental homes have been built off Curbridge Road, where 14-year-old Liberty lost her life after a car mounted the pavement and knocked her down as she was walking to school on 30 June 2014. Two of her friends and another member of public were also injured.
Liberty’s parents Paul and Maureen Baker, and some of their family and friends, joined Cottsway’s Chief Executive Vivian Rosser and Board Chair Andrew Hall, along with representatives from construction firm E G Carter & Co Ltd, to see the street sign that has been installed and pay tribute to Liberty.
The street name was suggested by Cottsway plumbing and heating engineer Michael Addison, who lives locally. He was also part of today’s gathering. Both Witney Town Council and West Oxfordshire District Council supported the name.
Cottsway will also also plant a tree in Liberty Close later this year.
Mr Baker said: “We are extremely proud of this kind recognition of Liberty’s life.
For us, it means there will always be a place publicly in her home town that keeps our wonderful daughter in peoples’ memories.”
Liberty’s family and supporters have raised £70,000 in her memory by organising LibFest, a free festival in Witney. Proceeds have been distributed to various charities, including SeeSaw, which supports children dealing with grief and helped many of Liberty’s friends after her death.
The next LibFest event will take place at The Leys, Witney, on Saturday 29 June and some of the organisers were among those at today’s gathering.
Cottsway Chair Andrew Hall said: “Being based in Witney and operating at the heart of the community where many of our residents live, we have been humbled by how people have come together to celebrate Liberty’s life and remember her. These new homes will help families and individuals, who cannot afford to buy or rent on the open market, and we are very grateful for the support in allowing Liberty’s name to be used.”
The new homes at Liberty Close have been built over the past seven months. The shared ownership homes are both three-bedroom and the rental properties are two-bedroom.
Cottsway is grateful to have received a £175,438 grant from Homes England to help it develop the site.