New Rural Housing Enabling Service for Oxfordshire

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New Rural Housing Enabling Service for Oxfordshire

Community First Oxfordshire (CFO) has been successful in bidding for new funds for Rural Housing, from DEFRA, which are being delivered through Action with Communities in Rural England (Acre) as part of new national programme.

This funding will enable CFO to provide a rural housing enabling service, supporting communities who want to deliver affordable housing for their residents. The funding will provide a new member of staff who can work with communities to identify local housing need, find a suitable site, get a planning permission and build out the site. The funding will also be able to fund some local housing needs surveys which are the first step for communities wanting to deliver affordable housing.

CFO is working in partnership with the Oxfordshire Local Authorities and specialist rural housing associations who can act as the developer on behalf of communities. We are holding two launch events where local communities can come along and find out about the support available (click on the links to book a place).

27 November 7.30 at the Civic Hall, Didcot

6 December 7.30 at Exeter Hall, Kidlington

CFO has a long history in supporting communities on housing issues and previously provided the rural housing enabling service before funding was cut in 2010.

In Oxfordshire’s rural communities, the market for housing has become divorced from local people and their incomes and often serves retirees or second and holiday homeowners, who have far more to spend on housing than local workers. With more intense competition for these homes, young people and families are priced out of rural communities entirely – forced to move away from friends, families, and jobs. Many rural communities struggle to fill vacancies and many communities struggle to maintain services such as local schools, pubs and shops.  Lack of affordable homes threatens the social fabric of rural life.

However, if communities can identify a site that may not usually get planning permission but could be utilised for affordable housing to meet local needs (known as a Rural Exception site) this can allow small rural housing schemes to be delivered at a reduced land cost. The new homes will be prioritised for those with a strong local connection to the area.

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