A pioneering project to transform redundant properties into affordable housing opportunities has welcomed the first residents to its latest completion.
A total of eight new flats have been created at 44 and 46 Broughton Road in Banbury as part of Cherwell District Council’s Build! project, which encourages residents to undertake some of the cosmetic work themselves in exchange for cheaper rental or purchase prices.
The four-storey adjoining properties each underwent an extension and refurbishment to create four one-bedroom flats which have now been let on an affordable rent basis.
Resident James Myles, who moved into one of the flats with his wife Margaret, said: “We had been on the waiting list for a property when the council got in touch about Broughton Road.
“We had to bid for it but feel very lucky to have got it. It’s a fantastic flat; very comfortable and we are really pleased. We are ever so happy here.”
The properties date back to the start of the 20th Century and had been empty for several years until Cherwell approached their owner, Co-op Homes, and offered to lease the site and renovate the buildings.
Banbury-based contractor Greenwood Builders was appointed to undertake the work. Managing directors Steven Heywood and Mark Gilkes said: “It has been a great pleasure to be part of this project from start to finish and to see these lovely old buildings being renovated for people to occupy rather than standing empty.”
All of the eight flats have now been rented. As part of the conditions of the Build! project, tenants took the opportunity to decorate the flats in order to obtain discounted rental agreements.
Cllr Debbie Pickford, lead member for housing, said: “It is great to be able to welcome the first residents to these newly renovated flats. Within walking distance of Banbury town centre, these properties are in a great location and it was a shame to see them going to waste and sitting empty.
“This refurbishment has brought these buildings back into use, provided fantastic housing opportunities for our residents and supported the local economy by using a contractor from Banbury.
“All in all this is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”