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Wolvercote Paper Mill

A bid to buy land from Oxford University for a 260-home eco-village in Wolvercote
 Past project 

Taking inspiration from Amsterdam, Freiburg, and other innovative developments in the UK, Homes for Oxford offered a vision worthy of the city of dreaming spires: a new neighbourhood that would have been beautiful, equitable and sustainable.


We aimed to secure this key site for homes for local people that will be genuinely affordable in perpetuity, alongside market housing - all configured to promote green lifestyles and neighbourly support. We believe this proposal offered a good financial return to the University of Oxford and unparalleled social value to Wolvercote and the wider community.

The Guardian article read:


“There is massive local support for this proposal: Homes for Oxford received pledges of donations and investments of more than £500,000 in the five days prior to bidding.”


We worked in conjunction with the charity Bioregional to make a highly innovative and sustainable bid for the Wolvercote Paper Mill (WPM) site. ​HfO intended to build at least 190 mixed tenure homes with at least half to be permanently affordable. In addition, we intended to build a further 70 intermediate market permanently affordable homes for key workers (subject to planning). All the homes would have been built in clusters to ensure neighbourliness and mutual support, each having a variety of mixed tenure leasehold homes. The site would have been largely pedestrianised with cars kept to a minimum (significantly less than 1 per household) and parked on the edges of the site. There would have been office space and a regular bus service. Once the homes were built the land would have been transferred to and managed by a Community Land Trust. The Land Trust will be run by a mix of residents, local villagers and others with professional expertise.


There was massive support for this proposal back in 2016 from local people in the village and the city. Deborah Glass Woodin, of Homes for Oxford on said:


“This is an historic opportunity for the university to do something unprecedented in the country […] Together we can address some of the challenging problems of our time with innovative housing solutions.”


You can read the full bid brochure here


A sketch of the possible Wolvercote development
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