Catalyst and Oxford City Council are launching a new round of consultation on plans to redevelop Blackbird Leys, with both in person and virtual events scheduled this month.
The plans envisage revitalising the district centre with improvements to public spaces and new shops and community facilities. The £100m investment would also see the council’s development partner build 294 new homes on two sites in the district centre and at Knights Road – including 174 homes at social rent and another 46 homes for shared ownership. The remaining 74 homes for market sale will help subsidise construction of the affordable housing.
Social rent is calculated with reference to the size and value of a home and average regional incomes. In Oxford, social rent is typically around 40% of equivalent private rents. Shared ownership gives people the opportunity to get a foot on the property ladder by buying a stake in their homes that they would not otherwise be able to afford.
From Monday 12 July, the project team will be delivering leaflets and consultation packs to residents across Blackbird Leys, and will also be launching the consultation on the website. The team is hosting two drop-in sessions outside Blackbird Leys community centre on Thursday 15 July from 1pm to 5pm and on Saturday 17 July from 11am to 3pm. All local residents and stakeholders are invited and encouraged to visit and find out more about the proposals.
Alongside these drop-sessions, the team is also hosting two online webinars, which people can sign up to by visiting the Blackbird Leys website – the first at 2pm on Tuesday 20 July and the second at 6pm on Wednesday 21 July.
Catalyst and Oxford City Council have been working with the local community since 2019 to develop a new sustainable vision for Blackbird Leys. This is the first time since March 2020 that the team has been able to meet in person with the local community, after hosting a number of consultation events online during lockdown.
The consultation runs until 25 July.
Catalyst is aiming to submit a planning application in the autumn. If approved, construction on a first phase of the development could begin in late 2022.
Joe Marshall, managing director for New Homes (Counties), Catalyst, said: “We’re so pleased to be able to get out and meet people in person again, after spending so much of the past year and meeting people virtually. I hope residents are looking forward to coming down to our drop-in sessions, finding out more about the project and how they can influence and shape our proposals and vision. We want to get this right for local residents, and we can only do that by listening to them. With their input, our proposals have the potential to improve the quality of life for Blackbird Leys residents by providing them with a vibrant and sustainable town centre with healthy green spaces, a new community centre and hundreds of new affordable homes.”
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Oxford City Council cabinet member for planning and housing delivery, said: “We’re approaching an important milestone in the long planned redevelopment of Blackbird Leys. We’d like as many people as possible to have their say and help shape the future of their neighbourhood.
“The latest proposals will benefit people on Blackbird Leys by providing improved, high quality community buildings with better public space, safer, healthier and more sustainable travel, and more jobs and training. They will also deliver much needed homes. If you want us to tackle systemic inequality in our city by building more affordable homes, please take part in our consultation.”
Residents can find out more information about the project by visiting the Blackbird Leys website.