Community Affordable Housing Scheme Gains Planning Consent

Oxfordshire Community Land Trust gained planning consent on Thursday evening (29/05) for its development off Eynsham Rd, Botley, of six apartments for affordable rent by local people priced out of the mainstream housing market.  


Commenting after the Vale of White Horse District Council's planning committee meeting, co-chair Fran Ryan, said "we are very pleased that councillors, planning officers, and, especially, Cumnor Parish Council with whom we have worked closely throughout the process, all strongly supported this, our second application. But we also acknowledge some continuing concerns from local residents, with whom we wish to be good neighbours, and will be working hard to keep them in touch and assuage their concerns as far as possible as the development progresses. Our architect, Chris Askew of Askew Architects, a Bristol firm, has been marvellous at responding to planners' and neighbours' concerns already in this new scheme."


The application was the second submitted by OCLT, after a comprehensive Housing Needs Survey carried out in the area with the support of the Parish Council revealed a demand for below market priced housing in the area, and tenants will be chosen first from amongst those with local connections who will manage the flats once completed as a co-operative with OCLT's supervision. In late 2013 a public consultation attended by over 40 local residents saw an initial application submitted which was withdrawn after recommendations from planners to reduce the impact on neighbouring properties.


Jock Coats, another co-chair of the group, which was formed in 2003 with the aim of introducing this new form of community led development to the county and acquired this first site behind 89-93 Eynsham Rd five years later, also commented, "we feel that keeping the Parish Council so involved at every stage has paid dividends in their enthusiastic support, which was described as a potential model for future affordable housing development in the county. Funding is almost in place, but much depended on the outcome of the planning process to access some sources of finance, so we are now in a position to begin appointing contractors with the hope of having the six flats available for initial tenants in summer 2015."


Included in the conditions for the development is that OCLT will finance a car club vehicle onsite for use by our residents and the local community, which will be the first in the Botley area for a service that has proved popular elsewhere in Oxford and aims to keep car ownership to a minimum amongst the tenants. There will be two each of two bedroom and one bedroom flats and two one bed studio apartments in a building that has been designed from the outset to be as sustainable and energy efficient as practical within the tight budget whilst enabling the housing to remain affordable.


The full application, including drawings and comments, can be found on the Vale of White Horse planning portal at

Further information: Fran Ryan (07889 209448) or Jock Coats (07769 695767) or