Published: Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Oxford City Council is beginning detailed site investigations on a project that will see more than 200 new homes – including vital new council homes – in Abingdon Road.

Details of the development, in 8.9 acres of council-owned land opposite Redbridge Park and Ride, will emerge in the coming months as a masterplan is produced.

The site, which is known as Redbridge Paddock, is included in the new Oxford Local Plan 2036 and will meet the plan’s requirements. These include:

  • 50% affordable housing on developments of 10 or more homes, with at least 40% of the total being social rented homes. This means the site will create more than 80 new social rented homes
  • new developments are required to go 40% further than government targets on carbon emissions. This will be achieved through energy efficient and airtight buildings, low energy lighting and solar panels across the new homes

The site backs on to a loop off the River Thames and the council is aiming to install new permanent moorings for boaters.

The council is also planning high quality landscaping throughout the new development, including nature trails, cycle paths, new trees and outdoor areas. The aim will be to build on the lessons of Barton Healthy New Town, which saw healthy lifestyles and active travel built into the fabric of the new neighbourhood.

The development will be carried out by the council’s housing company, Oxford City Housing Limited (OCHL).

Oxford has few large development sites left within its boundaries, and this will be the largest housing development in the city since the 885 home development in Barton Park.

Site investigations have started

As is normal for such large developments, a significant amount of ground investigation work needs to be carried out to understand precisely what could be built on the site. This is now underway. The council aims to apply for planning permission early next year.

The site is not on the floodplain.

Residential moorings

The current tenant of the site has a lease that enables one leisure mooring along the riverbank within the site. The council is looking to install new permanent moorings for boaters as part of the development. The exact number of mooring spots will be decided during the masterplan, but it is expected to be more than the current single mooring site.

“Oxford needs more affordable housing and we’re now taking the first steps that will enable us to deliver over 200 new homes on the Redbridge Paddock site. More than 80 of these will be genuinely affordable homes for families on our housing register.

“Last year the council declared a climate emergency in Oxford and Redbridge Paddock will help us to meet our carbon reduction targets by building greener and promoting biodiversity and active travel. These measures will also help draw on the lessons of our Barton Healthy New Town project by designing healthy living into the new development.”

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery

Delivering much needed homes

Oxford is regularly listed as being the least affordable place to buy a house in the country. Last year, Lloyds Bank found that average house prices in Oxford are £460,184 – 12 times the average annual earnings in the city.

There are currently about 3,000 families on the waiting list for social housing in Oxford.

The council set up OCHL as one of its responses to the city’s acute housing crisis. The main aims of the housing company are to increase the supply of new housing and social housing, and to provide a financial return to the council to help protect frontline services.

OCHL is currently building scores of new homes across Oxford, including two sites in Rose Hill, Bracegirdle Road, Mortimer Drive and Broad Oak, Between Towns Road, Elsfield Way and Cumberlege Close. Further projects will be announced soon.

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