First Keys Handed Over for Affordable Homes

The first new residents have moved into Blenheim’s ground-breaking affordable housing scheme at Long Hanborough.

Two of the initial phase of 11 homes available for affordable-rented and shared ownership are now occupied, with more people due to move in over the coming weeks.

The initial phase will be followed by a further 48 affordable homes at the site over the next couple of years.

Priority is being given to local residents with urgent housing needs as well as key workers such as teachers and nurses.

Blenheim is working with West Oxfordshire District Council in the partnership which will eventually see them offering at least 300 affordable homes, Blenheim will retain full or part ownership and manage the dwellings.

Matthew Neilson, Blenheim’s Head of Property and Development, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be welcoming the first new residents at Long Hanborough. “There is an urgent need for this type of property throughout the region and we are looking to roll these schemes out at all our developments both now and in the future, allowing them to evolve as housing needs change.

“This initiative forms part of our long-term vision to help and support local communities.

“By retaining ownership and taking a long-term view we’re helping to ensure the housing stays affordable in perpetuity. Rental levels will be set at 60 per cent of the current market rate with a two-bedroom house costing £173 per week and a three-bed house £214 pw.

Shared ownership enables people that can’t buy a property outright, to purchase a share of a home, whilst renting the remaining share. If people buy a 40% share, a Blenheim two-bed affordable home will cost £128,000 and a three-bed will cost £144,000

Cllr Jeff Haine, Cabinet Member for Planning & Housing at West Oxfordshire District Council said: “We fully support Blenheim Estate’s commitment to delivering affordable homes.

“It is a new venture for them, but we believe this exciting new model could be followed by other institutional landowners to help meet the housing need for local people and key workers in our district.”

The initiative is part of Blenheim’s 10-year development programme that includes tripling the Estate’s contribution to the local economy, housing at least 300 families in high quality affordable homes and creating a £45m endowment policy to secure the future of the World Heritage Site.

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