26 August 2014

The sale of land earmarked for the UK’s first large-scale self build community has been completed, with an Oxfordshire council taking ownership of the site from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).


Bicester’s 462-acre Graven Hill site has been purchased by Cherwell District Council and will boast up to 1,900 self build homes, delivered in various forms including a number of kit homes, watertight shells, group/community self build schemes and custom build.

Councillors first agreed to proceed with negotiations for the acquisition of the site in October 2012 and earlier this year voted to purchase the land from the MoD. Contracts between Cherwell and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, which is the MoD’s property and services provider, were exchanged in March and have now been completed.

The properties are likely to include detached, semi-detached and terraced homes of differing sizes, apartment blocks and bungalows – all available on a range of tenures including outright ownership, shared ownership and renting, with 30 per cent of the homes being classed as affordable.

The Graven Hill project will adhere to the ethos of the ‘Eco Bicester – One Shared Vision’ policy, which aims to promote sustainable development through measures including a low carbon energy strategy.

Planning consent has also been granted for a primary school, employment space, pub/restaurant and a small number of local shops. More than half of the site will be set aside for community woodland with public access, parks and open spaces.

Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “The sale of this site is representative of several years’ work behind the scenes to secure this purchase and completes the first stage of our vision to deliver the UK’s largest self build community. The next phase of this innovative project is to start undertaking the practical steps to prepare the site for the delivery of these new homes and jobs.

“From then on the focus will be on residents as they start to choose, design and build their dream homes to put Bicester firmly on the map.”

More information on the Graven Hill project can be obtained by emailing info@gravenhill.org.uk, or by calling 01295 221615 to register an interest in a plot.

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