In a landmark agreement, Oxford City Council is set to acquire 111 affordable homes from The Hill Group, a reputable housebuilder, at the Canalside development located south of the A40. This move aims to address the severe housing affordability crisis in Oxford, one of the most expensive places to live in the UK.
The 111 homes are part of The Hill Group’s commitment to deliver 317 energy-efficient residences at Canalside. Of these, 89 will be available for social rent, while 22 homes will be allocated for shared ownership. The Hill Group commenced construction in January 2023, following the grant of detailed planning permission last September. The first wave of these affordable homes is expected to be ready by spring 2024.
OX Place, the council’s housing company, will oversee the development and acquisition process.
Andy Hill OBE, Group Chief Executive Officer of The Hill Group, remarked, “Canalside at Oxford North is a pivotal residential project for the city. This agreement with Oxford City Council ensures that local residents will have access to sustainably built, well-designed, and affordable homes, a standard we are proud to uphold.”
Councillor Linda Smith, Oxford City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, added, “Securing affordable, sustainable housing is a top priority for us. This deal allows us to offer 89 homes at genuinely affordable social rent rates, and helps another 22 households step onto the property ladder.”
Sustainability Features and Amenities
The Canalside homes come equipped with an array of eco-friendly features that exceed Oxford City Council’s progressive environmental targets. These include air-source heat pumps, solar panels, and living green roofs. Additionally, the development will incorporate water-saving mechanisms, electric vehicle charging stations, and expansive bike storage.
In alignment with the broader Oxford North project, Canalside will also contribute to a minimum 5% net gain in biodiversity. The development is designed around a communal park that includes play areas, meadow grassland, and an activity lawn. An ambitious tree-planting scheme is in the works, featuring over 200 different species and the addition of a new orchard.
Community and Economic Benefits
The construction phase is projected to have a significant economic impact on the local community. According to the recently published Oxford North Phase 1 Community Employment Plan, the project aims to maximize opportunities for local labor, supply chain, education, youth apprenticeships, and disadvantaged communities.
The Hill Group has previously contributed to the Oxford community through other high-quality projects, including Mosaics at Barton Park and Newman Place in Littlemore. The company will soon unveil Drayton Village, a collection of 14 family homes to the south of the city. In partnership with A2Dominion, they are also delivering 125 new homes for key workers at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
How to Apply
For those interested in social rent homes, bidding will be open through Oxford City Council’s choice-based letting scheme. To register interest in the shared ownership homes, please visit the OX Place website for more information.
Written by: Hamish Law
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