Plans submitted for redevelopment of Blackbird Leys

Catalyst and Oxford City Council logos Published: Friday, 24th February 2023

Catalyst (part of the Peabody Group) and Oxford City Council have submitted plans to build high quality affordable homes, retail space, and new community facilities in the heart of Blackbird Leys.

The planning application contains detailed plans for 294 new rented and shared ownership homes across two sites, the district centre and Knights Road. It also contains outline plans for a new community centre and community square.

The plans for a new district centre include 210 new homes, 83% of which will be for rent and 17% shared ownership. The site will also provide:

  • green open spaces including community gardens
  • new and improved shops
  • a new community centre
  • improved road infrastructure and a safe, segregated cycle route

The application also includes 84 new houses on Knights Road that will be 100% shared ownership.

The submission follows extensive engagement with the local community since April 2019. Catalyst and the council have held a series of events, workshops, and one-to-one conversations with local people and stakeholders to shape the design of the redevelopment.

Catalyst has pledged to create a sustainable and eco-friendly neighbourhood, with a focus on boosting wildlife and healthy living. The design includes a new central green space for natural informal play and a nature trail.  

Catalyst has also committed to creating community space including a residential roof terrace to help promote intergenerational living.

Oxford City Council is working with the community to develop the detailed designs for the new community centre, which will be energy efficient and adaptable to support a wider range of community uses.

The submission of the planning application is a big step forward. However, given the huge rises in construction costs there are still financial challenges to resolve to bring the scheme forward. Catalyst will continue to work through these while the planning application is being considered.

Catalyst and Oxford City Council aim to start work on the first phase of the development late this year. Consultation on future phases of the development is likely to take place in 2024.

The council is now validating the planning application, which will be available for viewing and comments on its planning portal in the next few weeks.

“The redevelopment of Blackbird Leys will see hundreds of much-needed new affordable homes, improved biodiversity in the area and the creation of a new community hub for local people. We want to deliver long-term sustainable and inclusive growth for Oxford and look forward to working with the local community as the plans progress”.

Joe Marshall, regional managing director for North Counties at Peabody

“A lot of work remains to be done before construction can begin but this is a positive step forward in realising our longstanding ambition to revitalise Blackbird Leys. Oxford needs affordable homes and the planning application envisages nearly 300 homes for rent and shared ownership, together with new and improved shops and community facilities.”

Councillor Linda Smith, Oxford City Council cabinet member for housing

Drawing of new social housing block in Blackbird Leys

Image: JTP Architects & Atelier 78