The first phase of affordable housing has become available at Blenheim Estate Homes’ Park View development in Woodstock. Park View will eventually have 150 affordable homes across all of its phases, with 11 of those being occupied this year.
The figure represents half of the total number of properties being built and encompasses both affordable rent homes at 40% below market rent and shared ownership homes, where homeowners have the opportunity to staircase to 100%.
“Blenheim has an absolute commitment to provide high quality, affordable properties for local people which will enable young families to remain and work within the community,” said Blenheim Property Director and COO Roger File.
“Because these residents are our neighbours, we have a dedicated housing officer who works one on one with all tenants and purchasers to provide continued support and find the right homes for people.
“Developments like our site at Park View are designed to address the long-term issue of lack of housing within West Oxfordshire and are part of our goal to build 300 truly affordable homes by 2027.
Typically, affordable rental properties are let at a 20% discount to market rent, but together with West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC), Blenheim Estate Homes has devised a model that enables discounts up to 40% of the current market rent to be offered to tenants.
This means Blenheim can build and manage affordable homes efficiently and without subsidy as part of its existing development and investment operations.
Councillor Merilyn Davies, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “It is so important that as part of new housing developments we build affordable homes that local people can afford to buy and continue to live in the district.
“This development alone means potentially, 150 families can afford to make a home in West Oxfordshire, which is great news.
“That Blenheim has been able to achieve this at 60 per cent of market rent is remarkable. This, coupled with one-to-one support for tenants who need it, means we can help people afford their own homes and reduce homelessness across the district,” she added.
Blenheim Estate Homes is also currently in the planning stages for a major new sustainable community at Hill Rise. If the project is approved, it will become the UK’s largest rural development of homes built to PassivHaus standard, 50% of which will be affordable.
“Achieving PassivHaus standard will further enhance the affordability of our homes, as the exceptional thermal efficiency of the properties will see fuel bills minimised with the addition of air source heat pumps and EV panels, alongside the PassivHaus’s construction methods which reduce the escape of air for each home,” said Roger.
To date, Blenheim and WODC have delivered 51 affordable homes across Hanborough Gate and Park View Developments.
Property is an integral part of Blenheim’s 10-year development programme that includes tripling the Estate’s contribution to the local economy, delivering 300 truly affordable homes for local families and creating a £45m endowment fund to ensure the long-term future of the World Heritage Site.