A resident involved in one of Cherwell District Council’s award-winning Build! projects in Banbury has described the opportunity as ‘like winning the lottery’.
Anthony Flint, 48, has moved into one of 15 new affordable rent apartments at Calthorpe House in Calthorpe Street at the site of Oxfordshire County Council’s former offices.
The site was purchased by the district council in 2013 and since then the redundant building has been demolished and replaced with 15 one and two-bedroom apartments, which were completed to a watertight shell standard for residents to finish themselves.
Mr Flint, who had previously been staying with a friend prior to moving into his new apartment, said: “It’s been fantastic and a brilliant way to get housed; I’m really chuffed with it all. I’ve got my own place with my own front door and it’s the stuff of dreams; it’s like winning the lottery.
“I’ve done all the skirting board, doors and decorating amongst other things but it’s been worth the trouble and it’s been nice to do it myself. I’ve really been able to put my stamp on it which is really unique and I’m proud of it; it’s been a really good experience.”
After the site was purchased by Cherwell in 2013, the building was demolished the following year ahead of Banbury-based contractors Art Contracts Limited arriving on site to construct the new building.
In exchange for completing the interior works, such as fitting kitchen units, decorating and hanging doors, residents will receive a discount if they wish to purchase their home in future.
All were offered the opportunity to attend free training sessions with ACE Training of Kidlington and received support from site staff and apprentices.
Councillor John Donaldson, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said: “The completion of this project demonstrates how the Build! scheme is not only working to transform redundant sites and street scenes, but also the lives of the people who live there.
“It is giving people access to unique opportunities and providing them with the chance to create a home they can be proud of.
“Calthorpe House was a prominent building in a key location which had been left redundant and forgotten. This initiative has brought that site back into use, providing much-needed affordable homes within walking distance of the town centre.”
The Build! project works to deliver affordable housing opportunities across the district. For more information or to register for an opportunity visit www.cherwell.gov.uk/build or call 01295 221615.