Next phase of East Oxford Community Centre redevelopment begins

Published: Friday, 28th October 2022

Work on the East Oxford Community Centre redevelopment is stepping up a gear, with the next stage of works beginning at the start of November.

Asbestos removal in early November will prepare the site for the demolition of the modern buildings and extension. Demolition contractors will be on site by the end of November, with the old school building staying as the historic heart of the site.

Behind the scenes, work has been progressing since May to carry out structural surveys and work with the utility companies to make the buildings safe for this phase, which will include asbestos removal.

Every wall has been sampled and analysed to check for asbestos in all the buildings, from the 19th century school house to the separate mid-century blocks. The surveys found a small amount of asbestos, which will be removed by specialist contractors starting from 7 November.

Following asbestos removal, the utility companies will disconnect the site to make it safe for the demolition phase, expected at the end of the month.

The old school house building will get internal renovations this winter, keeping the same external building but beginning the work to transform the Victorian school rooms into flexible, bright, tech-friendly spaces. The modern buildings and extensions will be demolished to make space for the new expanded community facilities on the site.

The £5.4m redevelopment of east Oxford’s community spaces is a major investment in the area. It will create a modern, accessible, purpose-built centre with a lower carbon footprint and there will also be 12 energy efficient flats for social rent located alongside the Community Centre at Princes Street. . A key aim of the redevelopment is to create a sustainable, cultural hub that supports current users and attracts a broader range of the community, helping celebrate local diversity, heritage and cultural identity.

The former games hall at Collins Street is also part of the East Oxford Community project, this building will be demolished following the completion of the demolition at Princes Street. The site will be converted to provide 14 new affordable homes for shared ownership will be built on the site, which will help fund the ambitious community centre redevelopment. The improved and more flexible new community centre will provide alternative space for activities.

“This is a long-term investment in east Oxford and a really exciting redevelopment for all communities in the area. The design brings together ideas and technologies around flexible space design, natural light, energy efficiency and low carbon technologies to create a centre that’s ready for the future.  It’s taken many steps to get to this stage, and now residents will start to see the new development taking shape.”

Councillor Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities and Culture