Oxfordshire Community Land Trust, Transition by Design and Oxford City Council are working together to identify brownfield sites – like disused council garages – that could be reclaimed for new homes.
The partnership project was funded by the Housing Advisers Programme in early 2021. The project will develop a strategy for reclaiming underused land for affordable and sustainable housing.
Around 600 of the council’s 2,000 garages are vacant. These sites are often small with some barriers to construction, meaning that they are overlooked for larger housing projects. However with housing in Oxford becoming increasingly unaffordable and over 2,850 households on Oxford City Council’s housing list, new and innovative solutions are desperately needed.
As part of the project, a long list of potential sites across Oxford are being mapped and surveyed to test their suitability for housing - including garage sites in the Blackbird Leys area. Each of these brownfield sites could make space for small-scale developments of several new homes, without losing any community green space.
Transition by Design bring their expertise in low-carbon design and will develop initial plans for up to 30 comfortable and sustainable homes across at least five garage sites. The Oxfordshire Community Land Trust aims to ensure that any homes created in future are permanently affordable and owned by the community.
The project is still in the early stages and the partnership have been gathering support and ideas from the Blackbird Leys community.
In September 2021, a community event was held at the Blackbird Leys Community Centre to ask local residents what they thought of the ideas.
A film was made by a local film-maker (Urban Music Foundation) about the event and project.
Further information on the findings of the research will be shared in early 2022.
Watch our film here: