Oxford City Housing Ltd (OCHL) is letting 19 new homes for social rent as the first phase of the Barton Park development – known as Mosaics – is completed.
Developers Hill handed over a terrace of 9 three-bedroom town houses to Oxford City Council’s housing company on 20 November. The remaining homes are in a block with 3 one-bedroom and 7 two-bedroom flats and handover will take place this week.
When completed Barton Park will have 885 tenure-blind new homes and 354 of these (40%) will be let at social rent by OCHL – including 95 of the 237 homes on Mosaics.
Social rent is calculated with reference to the size and value of a home and average income for the region, plus any service charges for communal facilities. In Oxford, social rent is typically around 40% of equivalent private rents.
Although OCHL owns the new homes management will be handled by the council’s tenancy management team, which is in the process of letting them to applicants on the housing register.
On 27 November Mosaics won the Gold Award for best development at the What House? Awards 2020, in a virtual ceremony hosted by Romesh Ranganathan. Developers Hill also won housebuilder of the year.
Oxford needs homes
Oxford needs homes as it 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.
Over the next 10 years OCHL aims to build 1,891 new homes on top of the 354 homes being built at Barton Park. Of these, 1,125 will be council homes providing the genuinely affordable housing that Oxford needs. A further 301 homes will be in other affordable tenures like shared ownership.
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.
OCHL is currently building new homes for sale and social rent across Oxford, including:
- two sites in Rose Hill
- Bracegirdle Road, Mortimer Drive and Broad Oak
- Between Towns Road
- Elsfield Way and Cumberlege Close
- Edgecombe Road
- Harts Close in Kidlington.
“Oxford needs homes and the completion of Mosaics means we’ve delivered 95 new homes at social rent on Barton Park. These are genuinely affordable homes making a vital contribution to tackling systemic inequality and improving opportunities for people in our city.
“When the development of Barton Park is completed that number will rise to 354 homes at social rent. But this is only the beginning.
“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
“We are pleased to have delivered this range of high quality affordable homes for Oxford City Council as part of the first phase of Barton Park. This award winning development, Mosaics, is already emerging as a vibrant new neighbourhood for Oxford, not only providing much needed new homes, but also green open spaces and a range of amenities to meet the growing needs of the city.”
Greg Hill, deputy chief executive at Hill