Spotlight on rural housing in Cherwell

Sanctuary Group is celebrating this year’s Rural Housing Week (30 June – 6 July), an initiative organised by the National Housing Federation to highlight the need for more affordable housing in rural locations across the UK.

As part of this, the leading housing and care provider invited the Charter Committee in Cherwell along to see some of its rural developments in the district, including two sites nearing completion in the village of Milcombe, near Banbury.

Sanctuary’s Portland Road development was the first port of call in this whistle-stop tour, and members of the Charter Committee, comprising a mix of councillors, tenant and independent representatives, saw the progress being made with the seven affordable new homes under construction.

The £1.3 million scheme, part-funded by the Homes and Communities Agency, is being built by Sanctuary’s construction partner Leadbitter, part of Bouygues UK. The development is helping transform the local area, with four run-down properties at the Portland Road site demolished and replaced with five 3-bedroom and two 2-bedroom houses, due for completion in September of this year.

Charter Committee members then moved on to the Oak Farm development in Milcombe, where Carey Homes are building a total of 36 new homes, including nine affordable homes for Sanctuary Group as part of the Section 106 agreement.

The £1.3 million scheme includes a mix of two and three-bedroom cottage style houses, due to complete late summer. Again, the HCA has invested in the affordable homes element of the Oak Farm scheme, and six of these properties will be made available for affordable rent while three will be offered for sale on a shared ownership basis.

The Charter Committee continued on to Banbury where they saw two more housing developments – the 10 flats in Miller Road built in a joint project between Habitat For Humanity and Cherwell District Council, and the 15 properties in Middleton Road completed last November.

From Banbury, they headed to Bicester, where they saw the 23 energy efficient homes built at Bryan House in Chapel Street. The tour closed in Arncott, where committee members saw the 19 affordable new homes at Murcott Road, completed in June, and the former garage site at Buchanan Court transformed to create six affordable new homes in the village in 2011.

Jonathan Mullins, Sanctuary’s head of development for the Midlands, said:

“Sanctuary Group has worked closely with Cherwell District Council and members of the Charter Committee in recent years to ensure that a range of high quality affordable housing is provided in this part of Oxfordshire. The tour proved an excellent way to showcase these projects and give group members a chance to see each of the schemes first-hand.

“We were also able to highlight our commitment to providing affordable new homes in village locations such as Milcombe ahead of this year’s Rural Housing Week. High property prices in such locations make it difficult for local people to stay living near their families, but the provision of affordable housing can help safeguard these local communities.”

David Simms, Charter Committee member, thanked Sanctuary Group for arranging the guided tour. He said:

“The mix and blend of affordable houses into the communities is quite amazing and certainly enhances all of the development sites we visited. The quality of life for those residents lucky enough to live in any one of these properties will also be greatly enhanced by such an opportunity.

“Well done to Sanctuary Group, its construction partners and also the National Housing Association for this initiative. Each development is an example of affordable housing in a rural location at its very best.”