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Derby community-led housing scheme secures funding

Published date : 22 October 2012

A resident-led organisation in Derby has secured almost £1.1 million of government money to build much needed homes on their estate.

OSCAR (Osmaston Community Association of Residents) was formed by local residents in January 2011 to help regenerate their neighbourhood following the closure and demolition of several large factory sites formerly occupied by Rolls Royce.

Residents established OSCAR after the council-led regeneration scheme stalled. The group ensured that local residents themselves led the new regeneration scheme and that their views were at the heart of all the decisions made about the area.

The announcement of the £1.08 million investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) signifies 12 months of hard work by the residents to provide new homes on the ‘Elton Road Quadrant’ site. 

The development will create 80 new properties for the area, including 40 affordable rented properties that will be owned by OSCAR. The project will be one of the largest community-led schemes in the country.

The scheme has been approved by Derby City Council's Cabinet so land will be transferred to OSCAR on a 125 year long lease at a peppercorn rent. There is also an option for OSCAR to purchase the freehold in 30 years' time, once they have repaid the council the additional low-cost loan to build the new homes.

Derby City Council has also committed to pay towards remedial work to the site in preparation for the development and OSCAR will now be working with developers to submit their planning permission for the scheme by December 2012 as well as registering as a housing provider themselves.

OSCAR aim to start work on site in April 2013 and complete the first phase of the development by February 2014 and the second phase in June 2014.

Anthony Slater, Chair of OSCAR, said:

“Derby City Council had made a similar application to the HCA back in 2011 for just 50 properties on part of the site but were unsuccessful, however we were aware of the HCA’s Community-Led Programme and that if residents led the scheme and we worked together with our partners, we could achieve a larger development for the area and create more homes for local people.”

OSCAR has now appointed Derby Homes, the City Council’s arms length management organisation (ALMO) as their development agent for the scheme, and will employ Derby Homes to manage the rented properties once built. Anthony continued:

"This shows a shift change in power to local people in deciding what’s best for our community. The unique status of Derby Homes as an ALMO means they have been able to work with local residents to help establish and support us to the stage where we are now employing them to act as our development agent and manage our affordable homes in line with our local lettings and management policy”.

Jane Tricker from the Homes and Communities Agency said:

"We are really pleased to be working with OSCAR to enable them to deliver new homes in their local area. Our community-led investment has been conditional upon community groups taking a leading role in the development of  affordable homes and OSCAR are a great example of this."

The new homes are just one of many projects and schemes that OSCAR has achieved in the area, including running the UK’s largest Neighbourhood Watch Scheme; delivering the new £100k ‘OSCAR Playground’; as well as a range of other environmental, social and youth projects.

OSCAR is now looking ahead to working with the City Council, Derby Homes and a developer to regenerate the former Rolls Royce sites and bring back into community use, the Grade 2 listed Marble Hall among many others community-led projects.

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