Green light given for affordable sustainable, community housing project in Hook Norton

Dozen new homes to be built in Hook Norton Community Led Housing Project

By Matt Elofson
Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 1:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 1:52 pm
Artist's impression of the affordable, sustainable, community housingproject in Hook Norton that recently received planning permission
Artist's impression of the affordable, sustainable, community housingproject in Hook Norton that recently received planning permission

With planning permission recently approved the Hook Norton Community Land Trust can now start preparing for the build phase in the Hook Norton Community Led Housing Project.

Cherwell District Council voting unanimously in favour of the scheme at planning committee in May.

Cllr Hugo Brown, ward councillor for Deddington, Cherwell District Council spoke in support of the application and said: “This small development of 12 homes, of which eight are affordable (almost twice the standard requirement), is an exemplar of great design, sympathetic to its host community and, most importantly, it directly answers a local need in allowing those with a genuine connection to Hook Norton to remain living in their village when otherwise it might have proved difficult for them to do so.

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A "journey map" for the Hook Norton Community Land Trust from Lisa Curtis, a local visual artist

"All developments attract comment, but that so few objections were received for this one is testament to the care and consideration that HNCLT took to engage with villagers and to develop a new community of lasting value to Hook Norton and to those residents lucky enough to call it home.”

The decision represents a huge step forward for the project and gives the green light to explore some exciting funding options and to start planning for the build phase.

The project is an inspiring example of what can be achieved by a strong community working together with a supportive council to build the homes the community needs that will be fit for the future.

Cllr John Donaldson, Cherwell's lead member for housing, said: “It is great to see this community-led housing project progressing in partnership with Cherwell District Council. We need more affordable housing like this to help meet our community’s housing needs.

“This particular project shows initiative and a strong commitment to the delivery of good quality, zero-carbon homes for local people. We look forward to seeing these homes being delivered in Hook Norton.”

The Low Carbon Hub in Oxford are currently working out the details of the sustainable and renewable energy elements of the site which will be part of a micro grid that could provide a decentralised system of locally generated energy.

With solar panels, electric vehicle charging points, energy efficient heating and shared facilities in the communal building the project encourages an affordable way of living that could both lower carbon emissions and increase neighbourliness.

Cathy Ryan, chair of HNCLT said: “The recent period has shown how vital it is to support each other and I believe the ethos of the community housing project here in Hooky, with its affordable and sustainable facilities shared with the whole village, will enrich the sense of community spirit.”

The Section 106 agreement is currently being drawn up and the new HNCLT website will soon be up and running where people will be able to find out about the latest developments and how to apply for the homes.