Details of UK’s biggest self-build plan go live

Planning
Planning

People wanting to build their own dream home can see proposals for the UK’s largest self-build scheme near Bicester after a new website went live last week.

Graven Hill, just to the south of Bicester, is being touted as the ideal location for self-build projects.

The site, which is almost 1,500 acres in total, is occupied by the MoD but will be largely vacated over the next five years.

Councillor Debbie Pickford, Cherwell District Council’s lead member for housing, said the scheme could become a national or international flagship for self-build developments.

Of the new website, she said: “It gives people the opportunity to see what’s there.

“It’s not going to happen tomorrow, we’re not suddenly going to have houses built, but this will help gauge how much interest we will have.”

Cllr Pickford said the scheme would help local people get on the housing ladder and could provide training opportunities in future.

Housebuilding areas will be arranged in a circle around the hill, with woodland at the centre. Planning permission has been granted for 1,900 new homes, as well as a primary school, businesses, a pub and shops.

A number of options will be available.

Individual plots for detached homes will come in a range of sizes, while semi-detached and terraced self-build homes will be smaller and more affordable.

Self-build apartment blocks could be included for people who need smaller homes or want to work with future neighbours on a communal project.

It may even be possible for residents to select a kit home from a catalogue.

Completely self-building a home might mean 15 to 20 hours a week for more than a year, the website says, while hiring a building contractor would mean intensive work for 12 to 18 months.

Other options for DIY housebuilders could include hiring a custom build developer or project manager to oversee the construction. The website launch comes after Cherwell District Council signed an agreement in March to co-operate with the MoD over the scheme.

Under the plans, the council will take charge of the project and guide development of the land.

The military railway system around Graven Hill could also be incorporated into the project, councillors have said.

Plans for new homes at Graven Hill are linked to a planning application for a 70,000sqm MOD distribution centre on land at Upper Arnott.

Visit the new website at http://gravenhill.org.uk/ to see more detail of the plans and register an interest.