Oxford City Council has started public consultation on plans to build 79 new homes on land west of Mill Lane in Marston.
With 2,355 households on the waiting list for council housing, Oxford needs homes and half of the proposed development (40 homes) will be council homes (32 homes) and other affordable tenures. This is in line with the council’s requirements for new developments. The remaining 39 homes will be for private sale.
The development aims for carbon emissions 70% below current building regulations by using eco-friendly building materials, sustainable design features and renewable energy sources. These could include solar panels, waste water heat recovery systems and air source heat pumps. All homes will have cycle parking and charging points will be provided for electric vehicles.
The 79 homes will consist of 12 one-bedroom apartments, 25 two-bedroom houses, 38 three-bedroom houses and 4 four-bedroom houses. The development aims to create a neighbourhood designed around green open spaces giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists. The design masterplan draws inspiration from the architecture of Old Marston Conservation Area and the surrounding rural farm land.
An ecological assessment has already been carried out and biodiversity will be protected through enhancements such as tree planting, wildflower bedding and improvements to wildlife habitats.
Oxford needs homes
The project will be developed by the council’s housing company, Oxford City Housing Ltd (OCHL). Over the next 10 years OCHL aims to build 1,891 new homes on top of the 354 homes it will own that are being built at Barton Park. Of these, 1,124 will be council homes providing the genuinely affordable housing that Oxford needs.
Oxford is regularly cited as the least affordable place for housing in the country. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2019 the median house price was £395,000 – 12.55 times median gross earnings in the city. In the private rented sector the ONS reports a median private rent of £1,500 a month for a three-bedroom home, compared to £795 across England as a whole.
There are currently 2,355 households on the council’s housing waiting list.
The council set up OCHL as one of its responses to Oxford’s need for homes. The main aims of the housing company are to increase the supply of new housing and council homes, and to provide a financial return to the council to help protect frontline services.
The consultation runs until Thursday 12 November and is available for completion at www.oxford.gov.uk/land-west-of-mill-lane
The council is holding two Zoom Q&A sessions on Tuesday 3 November at 11am and 5:30pm. People who are interested in attending one of these sessions need to pre-register through the consultation homepage by Friday 30 October.
The consultation outcome report will be published at the end of November. A planning application and further consultation will follow in January.
“Oxford needs homes and the development we’re proposing at Mill Lane will provide 79 of these, including 40 council and other affordable homes. We’re investing in the future of our city by building homes that are cutting edge and sustainable as well as genuinely affordable, and this development is part of that future.
“OCHL is the people’s developer and in the next 10 years we aim to provide 2,245 new homes for people on our waiting list. This includes 1,124 homes for social rent – proper council housing. Every new council home makes a small but vital contribution to tackling systemic inequality and improving opportunities for people.
“If you want to see us building the homes that Oxford needs, please have your say and take part in our consultation.”
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery