THE city council showed off one of its council houses at Barton Park as the first homes are handed over to tenants.

The authority’s housing company, Oxford City Housing Limited, will own 40 per cent of the 885 homes that will be built at Barton Park.

Over recent weeks it has allocated a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes to families on its social housing register.

Journalists joined councillors and council officers on a tour of a three-bedroom home built as part of the first stage of the development. It will be allocated over the next few weeks.

Mike Rowley, the council’s executive board member for housing, said the work was ‘brilliant’ and had been ‘many years in the making’.

Noise-blocking windows have been used to prevent out any trace of traffic from the nearby A40 when windows are shut, the authority’s officers said.

Mr Rowley said: “I’m pleased to see the first council tenants moving into their new homes, which marks a proud achievement for the council and our partners in delivering these much needed social homes.

“It is a huge challenge for local authorities to deliver large-scale housing projects, but here in Oxford we have forged a successful partnership with the private sector, bringing our land and expertise together with Grosvenor’s capacity and capital to deliver the homes people need faster and to a higher design.”

Council officers said blinds would be provided in authority homes as standard so residents are given privacy from the moment they move in.

Cookers and washing machines will also be installed by the council for free for 28 days after residents move into one of the new properties.

The other 60 per cent of the estate – or 531 homes – will be market housing, with some critical of how expensive they will be.

Oxford Mail:

The cheapest two-bedroom flat in Bexley House, on the edge of Barton Park, will set buyers back £377,500.

But Alex Robinson, director of development for Grosvenor, said: “Ensuring that Barton Park directly meets Oxford’s housing need has always been central to the partnership’s vision for the development.

“The handover of these social homes to residents marks the turning of this ambition into reality.”