City Council and Oxford-based property investor work together to transform outdated Jericho block to create new retail units and revamp council homes

Published: Friday, 4th October 2019

Oxford City Council and Oxford-based company Lucy Group are working together to transform an outdated block in the heart of Jericho to create new retail space and housing, and revamp council homes.

The project could see St Paul’s House, on the corner of Walton Street and Juxon Street, redeveloped to create new retail space on the ground floor and nine new flats, alongside refurbishing the existing eight homes.

As part of the proposals, Lucy’s – a property investor and manufacturer based nearby in Walton Well Road – plans to upgrade the block’s five council homes, including redecorating and rewiring homes, and installing new high-quality windows, doors, carpets, bathrooms and kitchens.

Under the proposals, the City Council’s tenants will also have full access to the new development’s 50 covered bike parking spaces, new covered bin storage area, and amenity space.

Lucy’s submitted a planning application to redevelop the site to the City Council earlier this week.

The three-storey St Paul’s House, which was built in the mid-1970s, previously housed the Jericho Health Centre on the ground floor, and eight flats. The property does not currently feature amenity space or cycle parking.

If planning permission is granted, the redevelopment will see a side extension to the block within the site’s existing footprint and a set-back roof extension to replace the existing pitched roof. This will provide new retail units on the ground floor and nine new flats.

St Paul’s House previously had a complicated ownership, with the NHS owning the freehold on the ground floor, the City Council owning the freehold on the upper two floors, and three flats being owned privately following right-to-buy purchases.

The City Council has signed an option agreement with Lucy’s to sell the freehold of the block, if the housing developer secures planning permission. The income from the sale will be ring-fenced to create new council housing in Oxford.

The City Council will then have a 999-year lease on the five council homes in St Paul’s House.

If the proposals go ahead, the City Council’s five tenants will be rehoused. Tenants will be given the choice of either transferring permanently to a like-for-like property, or transferring temporarily and then moving back into their current home after the redevelopment.

The tenants have been kept informed during the whole process, and representatives from Lucy and Oxford City Council housing officers have met with each resident individually to discuss the redevelopment.

“We are pleased to be working in partnership with a local company on the redevelopment of St Paul’s House. We see this as a win-win for Oxford – new retail units, new housing and refurbished council homes in the heart of Jericho.”

Councillor Mike Rowley, Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing

“Lucy Group is pleased to submit plans for the refurbishment of this important building.

“We have been working for some considerable time with Oxford City Council on this complex project. The scheme will provide Jericho with much needed ground floor retail and office space as well as nine new apartments, and the refurbishment of the existing social housing units.

“This will totally transform this currently rather outdated building and will create an impressive piece of architecture on this prominent corner location."

Ian Ashcroft, spokesperson for Lucy Group