First council tenants move into new homes at Barton Park

First tenants at Barton Park - photo Published: Thursday, 14th February 2019

The first council tenants have started moving into their new homes at Barton Park following the handover of completed properties to the City Council by housebuilders, Hill.

Eleven families on the Council’s social housing register have been allocated a mix of one, two and three-bed properties in Willow Court and Rosebay Gardens over the past few weeks, and some of them are already settled in their new homes.

Another 11 tenants will move into Larch House over the course of this month, while 13 families will move into Acorn House and Rosebay Gardens in March.

Ultimately, the City Council through its wholly owned housing company, Oxford City Housing Limited (OCHL), will own 354 homes – or 40 per cent – of the 885 homes that are being delivered at Barton Park.

OCHL is offering the new homes for social rent to people on the Council’s housing waiting list, as well as those who are already council tenants but may wish to downsize from their current homes to smaller ones. 

The housing company is offering two types of tenancies:

  • For existing tenants of the Council or Housing Associations, an Assured (non-Shorthold) Tenancy, which is a lifetime tenancy as long as the tenant complies with the tenancy conditions.
  • For new tenants, an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, more commonly known as a Starter Tenancy, which is for one year and if the tenant complies with the tenancy conditions in the first year, the tenancy will convert to an Assured (non-Shorthold) Tenancy.

Barton Park is being delivered by Barton Oxford LLP, a joint venture between the City Council and leading private developer Grosvenor Britain & Ireland. The partnership brings together the Council’s landholding and local knowledge with Grosvenor’s development expertise and investment capacity to provide high-quality homes for Oxford.  Grosvenor is acting as master developer to design the scheme, deliver critical infrastructure and oversee the build-out process by selected partners.

The joint venture is working with a number of housebuilders for different phases of delivery to build more and better homes faster. The first phase of housebuilding is being delivered by Hill and will have 237 new homes, 95 of which will be owned by the City Council through OCHL.

The development will offer a fantastic array of new community facilities including a new primary school, a community hub, two children’s play areas, a sports pavilion and communal gardens. It is designed to create a community that encourages healthy behaviours and a sense of belonging and identity. Physical manifestations of this include a ten-acre linear park, new sports facilities, wayfinding which encourages use of shared space by all ages, including dementia-friendly trails, and two civic squares.  

Barton Park is one of the first demonstrator sites for the NHS Healthy New Towns programme, set up to explore how new settlements can address major healthcare challenges.

Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said: “I’m pleased to see the first council tenants moving into their new homes, which marks a proud achievement for the Council and our partners in delivering these much needed social homes. It is a huge challenge for local authorities to deliver large-scale housing projects, but here in Oxford we have forged a successful partnership with the private sector, bringing our land and expertise together with Grosvenor’s capacity and capital to deliver the homes people need faster and to a higher design. Barton Park is an example of our ambition to provide high-quality homes that are embedded in a well-connected and sustainable environment.” 

Alex Robinson, Director of Development for Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said:  “Ensuring that Barton Park directly meets Oxford’s housing need has always been central to the partnership’s vision for the development.  The handover of these social homes to residents marks the turning of this ambition into reality and it’s fantastic to see a new community already beginning to build on site.  
“Barton Park is a great example of what the private and public sectors can achieve together.  By drawing on our development expertise, alongside the council’s detailed understanding of what residents want and need, we are not only delivering against the government’s housing agenda but helping to tackle important local social and economic challenges.”  

Greg Hill, Deputy Chief Executive at Hill, said: "We are proud to be working with Oxford City Council and Grosvenor on Mosaics at Barton Park, and are delighted to be able to deliver the first set of new homes to the council. We look forward to welcoming the new residents to Mosaics and the wider Barton Park community”.