Under the scheme, which is being trialled at the Oxfordshire stately home’s Long Hanborough housing development, 35% of the properties will be made available, either for rent or shared ownership.
Typically, affordable rental properties are let on at 20% discount to market rent but Blenheim have devised a model that enables them to offer discounts up to 40% of the current market rent.
Fifty-nine of the new homes being built at the Long Hanborough site will be set aside for the new programme with Blenheim working with West Oxfordshire District Council to identify potential occupiers.
These will be sourced from those already on the council’s Homeseeker Plus housing allocations system, with priority given to local residents as well as key workers important to the local community such as teachers and nurses.
As part of its 10-year development plan Blenheim Palace has committed to housing at least 300 families in inspirationally good and truly affordable housing as part of its developments at Long Hanborough and Woodstock.
“This is a wholly new approach to the concept of truly affordable housing,” said Blenheim’s Chief Executive Dominic Hare.
“Our aim is to provide high quality homes at prices which will enable people to live and work locally.
“The housing market is now reaching a point where it is virtually impossible for many people to be able to live and work in the same area. Unless we look at radical solutions we will be faced with a potentially catastrophic outcome for our local communities and the local economy.
“One of the biggest issues facing this region is that young people growing up here have little meaningful prospects of being able to afford to live here.
“We would like to thank Pye Homes and West Oxfordshire District Council for their help and assistance and we hope this will be the catalyst for change and encourage other developers to look again at what is possible,” he added.
As part of the new development Blenheim will retain ownership of the properties to ensure they remain affordable in the future.
The Long Hanborough development, which is due to be completed by the middle of 2020, will incorporate 169 new properties as well as a new doctors’ surgery and a variety of other local amenities.
“We are also looking at ways to encourage a multi-generational mix of residents so extended families can potentially remain close to each other,” said Dominic.
The initiative is part of Blenheim’s 10-year development programme that includes tripling the Estate’s contribution to the local economy, training over 100 new apprentices, becoming a net generator of green energy, and completing a £40m restoration programme.