LAND that was once the hub of an Oxford community will soon be cleared to make way for 'genuinely affordable' flats.

Work is due to begin in October to demolish the old scout hut and advice centre at The Oval in Rose Hill, and construct 18 flats for social rent in their place.

A further 25 shared ownership flats will be built next to it as part of the same development, at Desborough Crescent, in place of the old Rose Hill Community Centre.

The centre was replaced with a new £4.7m building in Ashhurst Way in 2016, which is now the core location for activities, sports and events on the estate.

In January 2017, the old community centre was demolished.

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A planning application for the redevelopment was passed in January, and landowner Oxford City Council has now announced that work will begin on October 14.

Mike Rowley, the council's cabinet member for affordable housing, said: "The 43 social housing flats we’re now building in Rose Hill are part of our ambition to deliver more genuinely affordable housing – whether this is low cost home ownership or homes for social rent.

"Work has now started on the site of the old community centre and will start soon in Ashhurst Way - what Oxford really needs is more genuinely affordable housing."

Mr Rowley will attend a turf cutting ceremony at the Desborough Crescent site this morning, along with representatives from Feltham Construction, the contractor assigned to the development, and Oxford City Housing Limited.

Each of the two sites will consist of two blocks with a mix of one and two-bedroom flats.

They will all be built to meet 16 criteria called the Lifetime Homes standard.

ALSO READ: Take £4.7m Rose Hill community centre

In a report prepared in January, ahead of the scheme being passed, council officers said: "The proposed [25-home] development would bring about the positive reuse of a brownfield site, for the purposes of providing much-needed affordable housing for the city and would assist in the aims of delivering housing led regeneration in Rose Hill.

"When taken together the proposals significantly exceed the overall requirement for 50 per cent provision of affordable housing, with 100 per cent affordable housing being provided on both sites."

The proposal went ahead despite an objection from Oxford Civic Society, which described the 25-home plan as 'flawed and lacking in imagination in a number of respects regarding the design.'

Initial work on the Desborough Crescent site before foundations can be laid will include temporary road surfacing, altering kerbs and diverting existing sewer pipes.

The flats on that site are due for completion in early 2021.

Oxford City Council will own and manage the homes at both sites, and anyone with an interest in either site will need to be on the council’s housing register.

Anyone interested specifically in the shared ownership flats need to register with Help to Buy South and ask to be included on the council’s shared ownership list.