Three Oxford housing developments have been granted £19.84m of funding from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF).
The funding will help bring forward the projects that will boost the city’s knowledge economy and provide affordable housing to residents.
The successful bids, awarded under the Marginal Viability Fund (MVF) section of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund will allow the City Council to proceed with partners on three key housing developments across Oxford by 2025.
Leys Regeneration Project
£3.75m awarded to assist in the delivery of at least 300 homes, in Blackbird Leys, and enable wider regeneration of the area through the Leys Regeneration Project.
The regeneration scheme aims to link much needed physical redevelopment with social aspects, embedding community needs directly into the process. It will see a more efficient use of land to address the housing shortage; with the council and local community working together to develop detailed plans to improve the area.
The regeneration aims to provide 300 homes by 2025, a significant proportion of which will be affordable and some will be specifically targeted at key workers.
Alongside housing, the plans also aim to modernise the central area shopping parade, provide a new community centre, and create a more attractive public space on Blackbird Leys Road, in the heart of the community.
The project is currently in the process of selecting a development partner to explore how to maximise housing delivery in line with the draft Local Plan.
The district centre of Blackbird Leys was developed in the 1950s and '60s with many of the buildings now showing the signs of age. The area has already seen investment of over £20 million, including a new sports complex, a competition-sized swimming pool, and a range of housing, environmental and transport improvements.
Northern Gateway/Oxford North
£10 million awarded to support development of the Northern Gateway (also referred to as Oxford North).
The project, which will see the development of a large scale 44 hectare employment site north of Wolvercote, proposes 480 homes- a 90,000 square metre commercial innovation quarter - 180 hotel bed spaces – vehicle, pedestrian and cycle access points – and highway works, including roads providing access to the site from the A40 and A44.
The funding will enable projected delivery for housing of 480 homes by 2025, a significant number of these being affordable. The land is owned by Thomas White Oxford (TWO), a company wholly owned by St John’s College, Oxford.
The development aims to strengthen Oxford’s knowledge based economy, provide more housing, improve the local and strategic road network, and create a new business gateway to the city.
Osney Mead Innovation Quarter
£6.09m awarded to fund infrastructure that will enable development of the Osney Mead Innovation Quarter.
The Quarter will be transformed into an innovative mixed use commercial and residential development. The site, which is in the majority ownership of the University of Oxford, will see the creation of 600 homes by 2025 for key university staff and students, supporting the expansion of Oxford University research and development activity through postgraduates and early career post-doctoral researchers.
The plans aim to ensure that the number of University of Oxford students that live within Oxford’s private housing market does not exceed 3,000.
The development is in collaboration with Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, and the Environment Agency.
Over the past four years, the council has spent £17 million to deliver a range of affordable homes including social rented, affordable rented and shared ownership homes.
Councillor Bob Price, Board Member for Corporate Strategy and Economic Development said: “We are very pleased that the City Council’s three bids have been approved for funding through the Housing Infrastructure Fund. We will be working with Homes England and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to deliver the required infrastructure to boost the number of affordable and market homes that will be available for the people of the city by 2025.
"Oxford has huge backlog of pent up housing demand and these three projects will make a big contribution to tackling the problems that we face. In order to move closer to resolving the crisis of unavailability and unaffordability, we will be working with our colleagues in the neighbouring districts over the next ten years to expand house building close to the city boundaries”
County Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Securing funding for these three bids across Oxford is fantastic news. This money will ensure that necessary infrastructure is provided at the early stage of development helping to unlock key housing sites.
“It will deliver much needed housing provision across the city and provide infrastructure that benefits the wider county.”