Oxford City Housing Ltd (OCHL) has acquired land in Iffley for housing development that will help meet the city’s need for new homes.
Oxford City Council’s housing company has exchanged contracts on two plots of land at Meadow Lane and Church Way with Donnington Hospital Trust and – in line with the Oxford Local Plan 2036 – intends to develop at least 29 homes on the Meadow Lane plot.
OCHL will develop the new homes and is expected to put forward plans for consultation in the coming months. A planning application for Meadow Lane is not expected until the summer of 2021.
The two plots are adjoining and were sold together. The second plot is known as the Memorial Field and this is not included in the Local Plan. There are no plans to develop the Memorial Field.
Oxford needs homes
Oxford needs homes and the Meadow Lane plot could see the building of at least 29 new homes.
This would include at least 12 homes for social rent, which will be genuinely affordable as they will be let at around 40 per cent of private rent levels in Oxford. Another three homes would be expected to be shared ownership – providing people with a stake in homes they would not otherwise be able to afford – or another affordable tenure.
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 (£31,472) in the city. For England as a whole, the median house price is 7.83 times median earnings. The cost of housing in Oxford puts home ownership out of the reach of people in occupations like teaching, nursing, transport and retail.
Half (49.3%) of homes in Oxford are now in the private rented sector, where the ONS reports a median private rent of £1,500 a month for a three-bedroom home. The equivalent amount for England as a whole is £795. Meanwhile, there are currently 2,355 households on the council’s housing waiting list.
Many of Oxford’s most important workers cannot afford to live in the city. They are now living in Bicester, Banbury or Witney and face lengthy commutes on overcrowded roads every day. Oxford needs homes, and the homes in Meadow Lane will be built within the city near existing infrastructure, including jobs and bus routes.
The Meadow Lane project will be developed by OCHL. Over the next 10 years OCHL aims to build 1,891 new homes on top of the 354 homes that are being built at Barton Park. Of these, 1,125 will be council homes providing the genuinely affordable housing that Oxford needs.
The council set up OCHL in response 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.
“Oxford needs homes and the acquisition of land in Iffley will mean we can build at least 29 new homes in Meadow Lane. In line with our Local Plan, at least 12 of these would be council homes and another three would be shared ownership or other affordable tenures.
“Too many people – including nurses, teachers, bus drivers and shop workers – are priced out of the city they would like to call home. The median house price in our city is more than 10 times what a typical secondary school teacher earns and over 24 times the wages of someone working on the frontline in a supermarket.
“Over the next 10 years OCHL will deliver 2,245 new homes. Of these, 1,125 will be council homes and a further 301 will be in other affordable tenures like shared ownership – helping meet the needs of our city’s families for secure, stable and affordable homes.”
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery