Up to 300 affordable homes are to be provided in West Oxfordshire thanks to a groundbreaking scheme.
West Oxfordshire District Council has joined forces with the Blenheim Estate in a partnership which will see the Estate offering affordable housing either for rent or shared ownership on its schemes in Long Hanborough and Woodstock East as well as future developments.
The aim of the scheme, believed to be the first of its kind, is to offer rent levels significantly below those currently provided by housing associations. Prospective occupiers will be sourced from those on the council’s Homeseeker Plus waiting list with priority given to local residents and key workers such as teachers and nurses.
Cllr Colin Dingwall, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Affordable housing is a top priority for West Oxfordshire District Council – it is essential for the long-term wellbeing of residents and our local economy that we provide answers to this issue.
“This is one of a range of new models I am working on to provide more affordable homes.
“I would like to thank Blenheim and our officers at WODC for their vision in supporting this innovative new model and look forward to promoting it across the District with other institutional landowners.”
The initiative is part of Blenheim’s 10-year development programme that includes tripling the Estate’s contribution to the local economy, housing at least 300 families in high quality affordable homes and completing a £40m restoration programme of the World Heritage Site.
Roger File, Chief Operating Officer and Property Director of Blenheim Estates, said: “Existing affordable housing in West Oxfordshire is still not really affordable. If we can provide housing for local people including vital key workers such as teachers and nurses, then it will help our communities both socially and economically.
“This initiative forms part of one of our long terms aims to help and support local communities and we are looking to roll these schemes out at all our developments both now and in the future, allowing them to evolve as housing needs change. We will retain ownership and do all we can to ensure the housing stays affordable in perpetuity.”
Councillors gave their approval for the relationship at a Cabinet meeting on 18 October.