Have you taken a walk over Magdalen Bridge recently? Did it feel as though you were crossing into a different place?
We live in an international city with world famous education, health and technology sectors. But we are also a starkly unequal city. Areas of Oxford are among the most deprived in the UK.
Roughly speaking, Magdalen Bridge is the dividing line between these two Oxfords. We want to bring them together.
We’re starting to think about what Oxford will look like in 2040 and we’re looking for your views on how we should tackle inequality in our city.
Our Local Plan 2040 will set out a framework for how and where we deliver new homes, jobs and community facilities.
In recent years, we’ve invested millions of pounds in our most deprived areas, particularly Barton, Rose Hill and The Leys. This has included £15m on community and leisure facilities and refurbishing all five of our tower blocks.
We provide £1.4m of grant funding annually, largely targeted at our most deprived communities. We also organise or fund job clubs, open access to computers, IT training, free swimming sessions, reduced admission to leisure centres, health walks and activities, and youth clubs.
This has helped to narrow the gap. But challenges remain.
We have an acute need for more affordable housing. The housing crisis prices key workers out of the city and the cost of housing means that nearly a third of Oxford’s children live below the poverty line.
While there have been recent improvements, educational attainment in schools remains a concern. And more than 6% of working age people have no qualifications at all.
The Local Plan 2040 will help shape the future of our city by guiding the development of homes and sustainable jobs that will be available for everyone.
We want you to tell us what our priorities should be in tackling inequality in Oxford.
Please, have your say and take part in our consultation: www.oxford.gov.uk/localplan2040