Oxfordshire will play host to the UK’s first self build community, after the purchase of 187 hectares of surplus land at MoD Bicester moved plans for a 1,900 home scheme closer.
Cherwell District Council will also provide one million square metres of commercial space on the site at Graven Hill, while still retaining more than half of the allotted space for parks, woodland and recreational use.
The scheme makes provision for varying styles and forms of self build, from catalogue-style kit homes to owner-designed bespoke properties built by local contractors. The homes will be a mix of detached, semi-detached, apartments and bungalows according to residents’ needs.
Leader of Cherwell District Council, Cllr Barry Wood, said that the purchase marked “the first stage in delivering the country’s first self-build community”.
He added: “This is the first-ever large-scale project of its kind in the UK, trailblazing a new way of customising homes and empowering communities. For many, the fantasy of building a dream home can now become a reality and we are looking forward to leading this pioneering development.”
Prior to completion of the deal, Cllr Wood had previously said that “many people dream of building their own home but are often put off by the complicated process and difficulty in finding a suitable plot of land. However the Graven Hill Self Build scheme makes the process easier as Cherwell has done the hard part by finding the land; all people have to do now is start deciding how they want to use it.”
The path so far has not been an easy one, with an extensive due diligence process undertaken to ensure the site’s suitability for what will be a flagship project, but now both both Cherwell District Council and self build enthusiasts in the Bicester area hope that this is the start of something special.