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‘UK’s largest self-build community’ gets go-ahead

Words: Laura Chubb
Graven Hill
Cherwell District Council has agreed to buy 187 hectares of land from the Ministry of Defence to develop what is believed to be the UK's first large-scale self-build community.

Graven Hill in Bicester will be purchased for a multi-million-pound sum, the details of which have not been disclosed. Up to 1,900 self-build properties are to be built on the site, along with 1 million sq ft of commercial space and the creation of up to 2,000 jobs and apprenticeships.

A resolution to grant planning permission has been agreed for the homes, as well as a primary school, pub and shops.

The self-build community will include group-build schemes, and properties designed by the owners but built by contractors. They will vary in size and design, but are expected to range from detached and semi-detached to terraced homes, plus apartment blocks and bungalows.

According to reports, 30 per cent of the homes would be classed as affordable.

"Cherwell has done the hard part by finding the land"

Building is due to begin in 2015. More than half of the site will be given over to community woodland and open space.

Council leader Barry Wood commented: "So many people dream of building their own home but are often put off by the complicated process and difficulty in finding a suitable plot of land.

"Cherwell has done the hard part by finding the land."

He added that project was "trailblazing a new way of customising homes and empowering communities".

The council will be developing detailed plans for the site over the next few months.