A housing minister who was asked to step down in a cabinet reshuffle was invited for a visit to a self-build housing development in Bicester.

Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch, was invited by Cherwell District Council for a viewing around the Graven Hill housing development on Monday, November 6.

The politician was shown around one of the self-builds on the site and described Graven Hill as a “phenomenal visionary development.”

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Councillor Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “We were very pleased to invite Housing Minister Rachel Maclean MP to visit our Graven Hill development.

"Since its inception, Graven Hill has been the UK’s largest site for people who want to build their own homes.

“We’re proud to be at the forefront of fresh and innovative approaches to housing development and were delighted to showcase the progress we have made.

“It was especially pleasing to hear Rachel Maclean describe our work as, ‘a phenomenal visionary development’ that has potential to be used across the UK.

"This shows the high bar we have set with developing innovative housing solutions and communities.”

Oxford Mail: MP Rachel MacleanMP Rachel Maclean (Image: Unknown)Ms Maclean was asked to step down from her ministerial role in Monday's cabinet reshuffle, which saw former Home Secretary Suella Braverman sacked and former Prime Minister David Cameron take the role of Foreign Secretary.

In a video released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in which Ms Maclean is stood with North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis, the former housing minister said: “It’s fantastic to be here today in Graven Hill in Bicester with Victoria Prentis.

“We’ve been having a look around this absolutely phenomenal visionary development. It’s the largest self and custom-built project in the whole of the UK.

“And it’s really well worth seeing it. I’ve been so impressed and inspired. I had the privilege of being shown around someone’s home that they built for themselves.

“I think this has potential to be rolled out everywhere across the UK. And it really is worth putting the energy and effort into this kind of project.”

Earlier this year disappointed self-builders wrote an open letter to Cherwell District Council saying its private development company, Graven Hill Village Development Company, which owns Graven Hill, had parted from its original vision.

In the letter, householders at Graven Hill accused the council-owned development company of allowing the site to become “just another volume build development of energy inefficient, identikit houses”.

Stating further that the developer had “abandoned its commitment to build to the high energy performance standard set out at the beginning of the project”.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1