Oxford Cohousing is at an exciting stage: we have a site in view and are preparing to put in a bid when its owners put it on the market. The site was a former outdoor education centre owned by Birmingham City Council – yes, that’s Birmingham, not Oxford, who have owned this 7 hectare site within the Oxford ring road since the 1930s.
The site is mainly secondary woodland which we want to keep available for outdoor learning, but we are looking to replace the old buildings of the education centre with cohousing. As a result of having a definite site to work on, we have made big progress: both in terms of financial planning and in considering the number of homes we could build in line with our ideals of affordability and sustainability.
Our recent AGM attracted 30 people, many of them new faces, including a number of young families, which was very encouraging.
We are still faced with the challenges of land and house prices in Oxford and how to help younger people and families participate in our project, when it’s nationally known that Oxford is one of the most expensive places to buy a home. But we are determined to make this project a reality and we are holding onto the hope that the city planners will back our vision when we obtain a site – maybe this one!