Housing Minister Christopher Pincher visits Graven Hill development

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher has promised infrastructure will be a top priority when it comes to new developments.

He spoke during a visit to Graven Hill, the UK’s largest custom development and self-build site in Bicester.

It follows the government’s launch of a 12-week consultation to create a vision for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc space framework, which aims to guide the region’s growth through 2050.

The framework is a long-term strategic plan to stimulate long-term economic growth in the Oxford-Cambridge arc.

Mr Pincher said: “We are leveling the whole country and unleashing the enormous potential of the entire Oxford-Cambridge arc.

“Places like Graven Hill show how we can build new, high-quality, well-designed homes and ensure that this working-class area continues to be a great place to live, work and visit.

Mr Pitcher told the Mail that developers should keep their promises of proper infrastructure.

He said: “In the past we have seen large estates built without proper infrastructure. It’s changing. So here in Graven Hill an elementary school is being built, allotments are being provided, there is going to be a renewable energy center – a pub is also being put on this site for those who want to go out and have a pint in the sun. summer.

“So we have to make sure that the right infrastructure is available and in places like Graven Hill, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

“It’s not about planning reforms. We want to make sure that the infrastructure is in place sooner rather than later. This is what local councils and local people want and expect rather than seeing the plans changed or watered down down the line. ”

When asked if he felt there had been enough responses on which to base such major policy decisions, he said: “Well, we get a lot of feedback and we need to get more of it. is why the consultation is always weeks and I encourage as many people as possible to get involved, to give us their feedback.

“We can then generate from these ideas about where people want to live, what kind of housing they want, what kind of transport infrastructure they want, what kind of jobs they want. go, we can then come up with political ideas that we can then test again with people.

“So it’s not the end of the road, so to speak, it’s the beginning of the road.”

He said the government would work with local authorities to identify potential development sites.

He added: “We want to work with the local councils. They remain the fundamental constitutive elements of the development policy and they will remain the fundamental constitutive elements of the development policy. We will work with them, based on the feedback we receive, to identify where there may be good opportunities to develop new jobs, new homes, new infrastructure, but we want to work with local people to make sure they are incorporated into this proposal as an asset. ”

And he said the country needs more affordable housing.

“We need to make sure there is affordable housing across our country, but here in Arc Ox-Cam there are real challenges. If you go to Cambridge, property prices are 12 times the average wage. You have to make sure that we have houses that people can afford. This is one of the reasons we are bringing in a new proposition which is First Homes, which are affordable homes for people to buy for at least 30 percent of their market value.

“This is why we have spent around £ 12 billion on our affordable housing program building 180,000 new homes across the country, including 4,000 in Oxfordshire.

“We want to make sure we’re building more affordable homes for people and here in Graven Hill 30% of the homes will be affordable.”

He said the government would prioritize brownfield sites.

The ministerial visit included a tour of the site.

Mr Pincher and Cllr Barry Wood, Chief of Cherwell District Council, were also on hand to cut the ribbon for the next residential phase in Graven Hill, which will see 18 new plots go up for sale this weekend as part of the Build It Live event in Bicester. .

Cllr Wood said: “The UK is moving in the right direction when it comes to pushing for free-standing and custom-built construction as an alternative to traditional housing.

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