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Largest Self-Scheme To Launch in Bicester

Bicester is about to attain the attention of the television cameras as it starts the largest self-build scheme in the country.

Presenter Kevin McCloud, the man behind the Channel 4 programme Grand Designs, is headed to Graven Hill where he will record a six-part documentary. The series will spotlight the first 10 self-build properties built at the site near the town.

The Ministry of Defence sold off the land to Cherwell District Council, which promptly put it to use as a large-scale self-build project. Once complete, it will provide around 1,900 homes.

Mr McCloud said that for years, self-build in the UK has been the domain of the wealthy and influential. The scheme under way at Graven Hill is a revolution in self-building, and one that will make custom-designed homes available to anyone who aspires to own one.

The programme, My Grand Design, will follow as ten people design and construct their own homes from the bottom up. According to Mr McCloud, individual households and groups of self-builders will be working side by side, building their houses with assistance from contractors and construction experts. In the process, they will also be building a new community.

Production company Boundless called the project exciting and ground-breaking. The show is likely to attract viewers who are interested in creating their own home in the future as it follows the plans of an entire street of self-builders and home designers working to create their own Grand Designs on comparatively modest budgets. The programme will chart the build stories of ten unique British households from the initial design plans to the actual moving day.

The 187-hectare build site, which is located around three miles from junction 9 of the M40, is set to contain 1,900 self-build properties, shops, a primary school, and a pub. An estimated 2,000 jobs will be created in the process.

Cherwell District Council stated that hundreds of aspiring homeowners have expressed their interest in the self-build scheme.


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The council also said that Kevin McCloud has become celebrated as a champion of the self-build path to home ownership, and that the council is delighted to have him come to Graven Hill to document the construction and completion of the first ten homes.

The development is not only historic for Bicester. It will also be recognised in the world of self-build as the largest project of its kind to ever be delivered in the UK.

HAB Housing, which is Mr McCloud’s company, has participated in several Oxfordshire projects, such as the Cowley Community Centre redevelopment in Barns Road.

Last September, after months of delays brought on by planning problems and issues that arose from building costs, work began on the project to build 40 flats and community rooms.

Mr. McCloud’s company has also received planning permission for 47 homes and 21 flats in Northway and is arranging to make Cumnor Hill the site of six luxury properties.


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