Published: Wednesday, 16 August 2023

Plans to build hundreds of affordable homes, retail spaces and community facilities in the heart of Oxford’s Blackbird Leys were given the green light by the council’s planning committee last night.

The plans by housing association Peabody (formerly Catalyst) and development partner Oxford City Council include 294 homes across two sites.

A new district centre will include 210 homes, 83 percent (174 homes) of which will be for social or affordable rent and 17 percent (36 homes) for shared ownership. A further 84 houses for shared ownership will be built in Knights Road. The district centre is also set to provide new green spaces, shops and a community centre, as well as improved roads with a segregated cycle route.

It will be a sustainable and eco-friendly neighbourhood. There are plans for a new central green space for natural informal play, a nature trail and a community space with residential roof terrace to help promote intergenerational living.

The redevelopment will take place in phases, with work set to begin on the first of the new homes and shops later this year. The community centre will also be delivered as part of the first phase, and Oxford City Council and Peabody are working with the community to develop detailed designs. It will be energy efficient and adaptable to support a wider range of community uses. More homes will follow in a second phase, expected to get underway in 2025.

The plans were first announced in April 2019. Since then, Peabody and the council have held a series of events, workshops and one-to-one conversations with residents and businesses to shape the design of the redevelopment.

“This is an incredible milestone both for the scheme and for the future of Blackbird Leys. We’re pleased that the committee recognised the benefits of the plans, which will deliver much-needed homes for local residents, high-quality public open space, and purpose-built community and retail spaces to meet the future needs of this area.

“Every home at Blackbird Leys will be affordable, helping to tackle Oxford’s housing shortage, and we’re proud to be enhancing green spaces, delivering new active travel routes and creating a modern civic heart for this community.  We look forward to continuing our work with Oxford City Council and local residents to bring our vision and ambition for this regeneration to life.”

Simon Barry, Managing Director, Development at Peabody

“This is a big leap forward in realising our longstanding ambition to breathe renewed life into Blackbird Leys. As a former ward councillor for Blackbird Leys, I’m particularly pleased we’ve got the green light for nearly 300 affordable homes for rent and shared ownership, with new and improved shops and community facilities. I’m looking forward to work on the redevelopment starting soon.”

Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing at Oxford City Council

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