Oxford City Council has announced the acquisition of 111 much-needed affordable homes from award-winning housebuilder The Hill Group at Oxford North’s Canalside development, south of the A40.

The new homes, part of the first 317 energy-efficient new homes that Hill is delivering at Canalside, will bring vital affordable housing to the Oxford market, which currently ranks among the most unaffordable places to live in the UK. Of the 111 homes, 89 will be made available for social rent and 22 on a shared ownership basis. Hill, which has a strong track record of delivering high-quality homes within the Oxford area, secured detailed planning permission at Canalside in September 2022 and commenced work on the new homes in January 2023, with the first homes due to complete in the spring of 2024. The council’s housing company Ox Place are acting as development managers for the acquisition.

Andy Hill OBE, Group Chief Executive Officer of The Hill Group, comments: “Canalside at Oxford North represents a landmark residential development for the City, and we are delighted to agree on the delivery of the project’s affordable housing to Oxford City Council. This agreement ensures local people will have access to sustainable, well-designed homes on an affordable basis, built to the high standards for which The Hill Group is renowned.”

Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing at Oxford City Council, says: “Providing sustainable and affordable homes is one of our key priorities as a council. This agreement is a major boost, enabling us to provide 89 homes at genuinely affordable social rent and helping another 22 households to home ownership.”

Homes at Canalside have a strong emphasis on sustainability, going above and beyond Oxford City Council’s progressive environmental targets thanks to a range of low-carbon features. These include air-source heat pumps, photovoltaic panels, and living green roofs. The development also boasts water consumption reduction measures, electric car charging points, and ample cycle storage.

As part of the wider Oxford North development, Canalside will help deliver a minimum 5% biodiversity net gain, ensuring residents and nature can thrive in harmony. Homes are designed around a large landscaped communal park with play areas, meadow grassland, and an activity lawn. Extensive tree planting of over 200 species is planned across the site, including the introduction of a new orchard. Additionally, an intricate network of pedestrian and cycle paths will be integrated into the development, promoting active lifestyles and sustainable modes of transportation.

The construction phase brings with it local economic benefits through the recently published Oxford North Phase 1 Community Employment Plan (CEP) to maximise the opportunities created for local people and businesses during the next 18 months of construction. The CEP covers local labour, supply chain, and procurement, as well as engagement with educational institutions, youth and apprenticeships, and disadvantaged communities.

Hill is well established in the Oxford area, with a recent portfolio of notable projects that showcase the company’s commitment to quality design, including Mosaics at Barton Park and Newman Place in Littlemore. Later this year, Hill will launch Drayton Village to the south of the city, a collection of 14 beautifully crafted family homes. Hill, together with A2Dominion, is also delivering 125 new homes for key workers at the John Radcliffe Hospital on behalf of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH).