A new company is created to oversee the UK’s largest self-build housing project.

A new company is to be created to oversee a self-build development of 1,900 homes


The Graven Hill Village Holding Company will be responsible for providing housing at the former Ministry of Defence (MoD) site, near Bicester.

The company will be owned by Cherwell District Council and its subsidiary, the Graven Hill Village Development Company.

The council will be allowed to lawfully carry out commercial trading activity via them whilst retaining control of the site instead of selling it to a private developer.

The 187 hectare site will provides enough space for 1,900 self build homes, creating up to 2,000 new jobs and apprenticeships, a primary school, pub/restaurant and local shops.

Contracts exchanged with the MoD have allowed for the council to purchase the site which following completion, will be transferred to the development company.

Cherwell District Council leader, Barry Wood, said:

“Under the Localism Act 2011, local authorities can only carry out commercial trading activity through a company.

“As such, we had to consider numerous options including selling to a private developer, appointing a partner or forming our own company.

“After putting together an extensive business case, councillors have agreed the latter is the best option to ensure our vision is achieved.

“By following the company formation route we will be meeting the requirements of the Localism Act while retaining control of the site.

“Delivery through a company gives the council the independence to ensure the vision is achieved yet offers the flexibility to bring in additional investment and development partners who want to work with the council to realise its vision.

“In turn, it will also allow the council to use the profits from developing this site and reinvest them throughout the district.”

The development company will feed into the holding company which will report to Cherwell, its executive councillors and a partnering board comprising elected members, holding company directors and council officers.

The boards of the holding and delivery company will be consist of council officers and elected members in unpaid roles.


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