Tenants and homeowners are settling into their new homes for Christmas following the completion of an Oxford City Housing Ltd (OCHL) development in Rose Hill.
The 43 new homes are in a mix of one-bed and two-bed flats on two previously developed sites in Ashhurst Way and The Oval. Each site is made up of two blocks each, with 18 council homes on the site of the old scout hut and advice centre and 25 shared ownership homes where the 1950s community centre once stood.
The Rose Hill development marks the Oxford City Council housing company’s biggest completed scheme to date. OCHL aims to build around 2,000 new homes for rent and sale over the coming decade.
The homes on Ashhurst Way are let at social rent levels. With service charges added for communal facilities, this varies from £487 to £553 a month for the one-bed flats and from £566 to £631 a month for the two-bed flats.
According to the Office for National Statistics, in the 12 months to the end of September 2021, median monthly private rents in Oxford were £1,000 for one-bed and £1,240 for two-bed homes.
Shared ownership is a low cost option for people to get onto the property ladder by buying a share in a home they couldn’t afford to buy outright.
Enhanced insulation and air tightness standards, together with the use of solar panels, mean that the new homes go 62% beyond carbon reduction requirements in current building regulations.
As part of Project LEO, OCHL is working in partnership with the Low Carbon Hub to trial a new groundbreaking energy offer using electricity generated by the solar panels. The Solar Saver ‘time of use’ offer will offer cheaper electricity at certain times, such as when the solar panels are generating power.
The Solar Saver trial will start next summer, after an initial period of learning how people usually use electricity in their new homes. Participants in the trial will be advised when their electricity will be cheaper.
All 43 homes are built to the Lifetime Homes standard, which means they are fully adaptable to cope with people’s changing needs throughout their lives.
The new homes were designed by Levitt Bernstein Architects and built by Feltham Construction on behalf of OCHL. The development was supported with £1,615,000 in funding from the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal.
“High demand and scarce availability make our city among the least affordable places for housing in the country. And this affects nearly everyone, whether you’re paying high private rents or aspire to own your own home but can’t afford to buy outright. OCHL’s 43 new homes in Rose Hill are an important contribution to tackling Oxford’s housing crisis.”
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery
“It’s a real pleasure to see both tenants and homeowners in their new homes for Christmas. OCHL is committed to delivering high quality, design-led new homes and contributing to Oxford’s journey to zero carbon development by 2030. We’re also pleased to be working with the Low Carbon Hub to deliver the Solar Saver trial next summer.”
Helen Horne, managing director of OCHL
Oxford needs homes
High demand and scarce availability mean that Oxford is among the least affordable places for housing in the UK. People on average outcomes are priced out of the housing market and private rents are nearly double the average for England as a whole.
The cost of housing pushes people into hardship, overcrowded conditions or out of Oxford altogether. Half of Oxford’s workers have to commute into a city they can’t afford to live in – leading to growing unaffordability, increased congestion and carbon emissions across Oxfordshire, as well as difficulties for employers in recruiting and retaining staff.
The cost of housing means that a third of Oxford’s children live below the poverty line and is a key factor behind poor educational outcomes.