Graven Hill FAQ’s

Graven Hill FAQ’s

Build It Live Bicester takes place in association with Graven Hill, the UK’s first large-scale self and custom build project for up to 1900 homes.

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about this fascinating self and custom-build opportunity; more information can also be found at the Graven Hill Zone at Build It Live Bicester and on the Graven Hill website at

To hear more about Graven Hill, attend Build It Live in Bicester and hear real self builder’s Susan, Terry and Olwen speak about their projects. Click here for more info.

Where is Graven Hill?

The Graven Hill site lies just to the south of Bicester and extends to 188 hectares. Graven Hill is well connected to the road and rail network (just 1 hour from London and Birmingham) and it lies approximately three miles from junction nine of the M40. Although in close proximity to Bicester, the site feels quiet and rural with an ancient woodland, breath-taking scenery and vast open spaces which all combine to create a great place to live.

Can I visit Graven Hill?

Yes! At Build It Live Bicester you can attend a tour of the site. Below is the timetable.

Saturday Bus tours: 11am, 12pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm

Sunday bus tours: 11am, 12pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm

What is the vision for Graven Hill?

Graven Hill is currently the largest and most exciting opportunity in the UK for people who want to build their own home or move into a custom-built new home. The development is designed to suit projects, budgets and households of all sizes and will include opportunities for people to build as individuals or share skills and build as groups.

Whether you are upsizing, downsizing, planning for later life or a first-time buyer, Graven Hill has something for you

A beautiful development with extensive open space including woodland, allotments, a network of cycle and footpaths and amenity spaces, Graven Hill will have a primary school, a community centre and a pre-school nursery. There will also be premises available for shops and a local pub. The site also provides a strategic location for new employment space, creating jobs and training for local people and attracting new investment into Bicester.

What is Grand Designs: The Street?

Grand Designs is following 10 of the new residents of Graven Hill on their new programme, Grand Designs: The Street. The programme will capture these self builders’ projects from start to finish, giving viewers a flavour of what it’s really like to build on the Graven Hill site. If you want to learn more about the programme, click here.

Why is Cherwell District Council involved in this?

As a local authority Cherwell District Council is eager to promote a range of housing options in the district, with self and custom build opportunities amongst them. The council is also keen to ‘play its part’ in delivering new housing and developing brownfield sites such as Graven Hill. Cherwell District Council also sees the wider benefits, such as the introduction of new open space areas and the creation of local employment.

Why should I get involved in this?

This is a unique opportunity, not only locally but nationally. The key benefits are:

Location: Graven Hill is on the edge of Bicester, a growing town with fantastic local amenities, beautiful countryside and excellent road and rail links(Marylebone and Paddington are under an hour away).

Open Space. Graven Hill is an attractive site, with extensive open space, including the hill itself with its amazing woodland. The great news is – it’s going to get even better. There will be at least eight play areas, wonderful landscaping, sports amenities, allotments and a network of cycle and footpaths. Some of the existing heritage of the site is also being made into features.

Opportunity to build your own home. This is currently the largest and most exciting opportunity to build your own home in the UK. You will be able to design your new dream home around your family, lifestyle and needs, working in line with your budget and your architectural preferences. For many this will be something that comes along only once in a lifetime’.

How do I sign-up?

If you are looking to sign-up to buy a plot or home straight away, you can speak to a member of the sales team at Build It Live Bicester. On the day, book your 1-to-1 appointment slot with an expert from the Graven Hill team. Alternatively, email or call them on 01869 396 070.

Will I have to be financially qualified?

No. You do not have to be assessed to register your interest or talk to the team at Graven Hill about the various opportunities, but in order for you to reserve a plot you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds (or can access them through raising a mortgage) to acquire the land and build a home.

Can I buy the land and hire someone to build my house for me? If so, who could I hire?

Yes, absolutely. For self-build properties built upon one of Graven Hill’s serviced self-build plots, we recommend that you do some research and establish your budget. We can help you with this – just ask the team.

There are many options: you can hire a local builder or contractor to build a home for you in the traditional way, providing that your design and materials meet the energy efficiency criteria of the site. Alternatively, you can use offsite construction, as this can often prove the most effective and efficient way of delivering the home you want, with the cost certainty that many people need. We’re her to help and to give you all the advice you need and answer your questions?

When will the land be available to buy?

Land for your home is available now. We release plots of different sizes and in different character areas every year and will do until the whole of Graven Hill is built out. To find out what plots are available, visit the Find Your Home (/map/index) section of this site or talk to the Graven Hill team.

How much Affordable housing will be involved and where will it be?

As with most major development sites, 30 per cent of the homes at Graven Hill will be designated as Affordable. Affordable housing will be available across the whole site.

I’m not a builder, architect or an ‘expert’ – could I really do this?

Absolutely! If you are not ‘in the trade’ then you could approach this in a number of ways: You could engage with the manufacturers of a kit home who can design and build your home for you. You could appoint your own design team and a project manager to procure the contractors on your behalf. We definitely suggest that you do as much research as you can. Talk to the Graven Hill team about what would best suit you.

How long does it take to build a home?

There is no ‘one size fits all’. Build time considerably depending on a range of factors including: Whether you do the work yourself or engage others (friends or paid contractors) to help you; the size of your home; the complexity of your design.; your construction approach (for example a kit home may be quicker on site, but may require a longer lead in time before you start on site). Talk to us about your plans and we can advise you.

What kind of house could I build?

One of the great things about building at Graven Hill is that you are in control and you can build a home that is totally configured to your lifestyle and your taste.

What else will be built at the site?

There will also be a primary school, a community centre, a pre-school nursery, amenity spaces (including sports pitches and allotments), space provided for businesses interested in running local shops and offices and a public house.

Can we visit the site?

Yes, absolutely. We will be running coach tours up to the Graven Hill site from Build It Live Bicester 2020. Head over to the Graven Hill zone to book your seats on one of our buses. The tours will run hourly from 11am to 3pm on Saturday 19 September and from 11am to 2pm on Sunday 20 September.