Oxfordshire Community Land Trust launches £500k fundraiser for affordable homes

The trust has been hit by rising interest rates on the project’s financing and is appealing for social investors to finish construction

Oxfordshire Community Land Trust (OCLT) is looking to raise half a million pounds to support a new affordable housing development in west Oxford.

Construction is in progress on its first development, Crofts Court, which will offer eight co-operatively managed apartments at affordable rents for people in the Dean Court area of West Oxford in Cumnor Parish.

But the trust says it is “vulnerable to increasing bank interest rates that are part financing the scheme” and is looking for social investors to take a stake in the scheme.

“We’re really excited about our new tenants from the Vale of White Horse’s Housing Register moving in by June 2023,” it says, “but we need your help to access more affordable finance and successfully complete the homes.”

OCLT says the homes, which will be “sustainable and energy-efficient”, are vitally needed in Oxford, “the second least-affordable city in the UK”.

“Oxford’s affordability ratio is 15.3,” it adds, “meaning that average house prices are 15.3 times that of average salaries. Amongst other factors this has been fuelled by over 900 houses in the city being second homes (nearly 3,000 in the county) alongside a surge in the number of holiday lets.

“As the cost-of-living crisis bites for families and key workers, many are finding themselves priced out of rental homes in the area, having a negative effect on the local community. OCLT is on a mission to start fixing the broken housing system.

“Our approach is to provide sustainable and genuinely affordable housing using a community land trust model meaning that housing remains affordable in perpetuity and available to those in need. It also means greater involvement and ownership in decision making by those who live there.”

It says the funding will allow construction work to be completed, support local people on the housing waiting list, abd provide “a blueprint for the future of affordable housing developments” which can be replicated around the country.

The forecast annual return for investments in the share offer is 3%, it adds, and the closing date is 28 February 2023.

Click here for details of the investment, which is being run through Ethex