Graven Hill land secured for mass self-build

Artist's impression of Graven Hill development Image copyright Cherwell District Council
Image caption The scheme to build 1,900 homes on the former Graven Hill MoD site is expected to be the largest of its kind

A council in Oxfordshire has agreed to buy 462 acres (187 hectares) of land where hundreds of people can build their own homes.

Up to 1,900 self-build properties are to be built on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) site in Bicester, following the purchase by Cherwell District Council.

The scheme, at Graven Hill, will include kit homes, group-build schemes and properties designed by the owners but built by contractors.

Construction is due to begin in 2015.

Council leader Barry Wood said it was believed to be the first large-scale self-build project of its kind in the country.

'Community woodland'

The council's executive met on Monday to agree the multimillion-pound purchase, the details of which have not been made public.

A resolution to grant planning permission has already been agreed for the homes as well as a primary school, pub and shops.

The authority said the development would also include a million sq ft of commercial space and create up to 2,000 jobs and apprenticeships.

More than half the site will be set aside as community woodland and open space.

The MoD is to continue running a warehousing operation on the site until 2019 but areas of the site will be vacated to allow roads to be built.

Mr Wood said: "So many people dream of building their own home but are often put off by the complicated process and difficulty in finding a suitable plot of land. Cherwell has done the hard part by finding the land."

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