A GROUP of Oxfordshire residents has taken a step towards building the county’s first community housing development.

Oxford Cohousing worked with agency Transition by Design to create an artist’s impression of how the site will look and claims it could solve the housing crisis.

Each person will have their own home but there is a central house with shared eating and work space, plus a guest bedroom and laundry.

Car-free spaces for children to play in are dotted between eco-friendly buildings, designed to be warm and cheap to run.

Blocks of flats will include south-facing roof tops covered in solar panels to harness the sun’s power. Other ideas include polytunnels to grow vegetables and fruit, and chickens for eggs, while equipment such as lawnmowers, washing machines and cars will be shared.

There are similar cohousing developments in Dorset and Gloucestershire and the idea is popular in Scandinavian countries.

The group was set up four years ago. It wants to build between 20 and 40 houses on a one-and-a-half-acre site within the ring road but must raise £10m to buy land and build.

Many members say they will sell their own homes to put towards the cost.

Grandmother and occupational psychologist Fran Ryan, of Oxford Cohousing, said: “It’s been a great exercise in starting to think through what we want to build.

“And we look forward to a time, hopefully later this year or early next, when we are doing the exercise for a real site.”