Oxford City Council is looking to deliver 2,150 affordable homes in five years to help meet the need for affordable housing in the city.
Last year, the Council delivered 241 new affordable homes – a 52% increase on 2020/21)
Nearly two-thirds of the homes delivered (148 homes) in 2021/22 are being let at genuinely affordable social rent – in Oxford, this is typically around 40% of an equivalent private rent.
Another 85 homes are shared ownership, a low-cost option for people to get onto the property ladder by buying a share in a home they couldn’t afford to buy outright.
This number is set to rise significantly over the next four years, with a further 1,923 homes already forecast in the Council’s affordable housing supply pipeline between now and the end of 2025/26.
This forecast currently includes 1,044 homes (54%) at social rent.
The Council’s target is for 1,600 new affordable homes during these four years, with at least 850 let out at social rent.
Last year saw the Council’s housing company, Oxford City Housing Ltd (OCHL), complete its first 64 homes.
OCHL developments in Harts Close, Sandy Lane, Pauling Road, Edgecombe Road, Cumberlege Close and Rose Hill yielded 35 homes (55%) let at social rent. OCHL’s most significant development of 43 homes in Rose Hill also included 25 shared ownership flats.
The housing company also took ownership of 14 new homes for social rent built by Redrow at Barton Park.
The Council delivered a further 70 affordable homes through its acquisition programme, with 66 of these for social rent.
These 70 homes included 37 homes let at social rent and built by Abbey New Homes in Sandford Road and nine homes – including five let at social rent – built by Cantay Estates in Glanville Road.
A further 12 homes were bought on the open market for letting at social rent, using retained Right to Buy receipts and recycled capital grant funding from Homes England.
Government funding to help people experiencing rough sleeping into more settled housing helped the Council buy 12 one-bedroom properties as part of its Housing First programme.
Work to refurbish these and identify suitable tenants is ongoing. All 12 will be let at social rent.
The Council has also been working closely with housing associations to increase the number of affordable homes in Oxford.
The remaining 93 affordable homes were delivered through two Catalyst Housing developments, with 33 homes for social rent at Wolvercote Paper Mill and 60 shared ownership flats in Newman Place in Littlemore.
“Over the next four years we’re expecting to deliver nearly 2,000 new affordable homes, with more than half of these let at social rent. Affordable housing makes a life-changing difference to people’s lives, particularly in the face of a cost of living crisis that is already forcing people to choose between heating and eating.”
—Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery