Oxford City Council’s programme to improve its housing estates is making a positive impact on communities, with more residents reporting satisfaction with their neighbourhood.
In the 2015 survey of tenants and residents, 41 per cent believe their estate has improved over the last year and the survey reports a 5-percentage point increase in the number of people who said they were ‘very satisfied’ with their estate. Overall, 83 per cent are satisfied with the housing services provided by the Council, and this is in line with the 2014 findings.
Under the Great Estates programme, the Council is investing £1.2 million per year over the next four years to improve the external environment of its estates. It has also committed substantial resources to fund regeneration projects across the city. In the current financial year, £5.5 million has been set aside for the regeneration of Blackbird Leys estate, while in Rose Hill a £4.7 million community centre was completed and opened its doors to the community in January this year.
In Barton, work will start in the next few months on a £3.9 million regeneration programme to improve the blocks of flats and street environment as well as the neighbourhood centre. Further investment is being planned for the extensive redevelopment of Underhill Circus.
Across the city, the Council has invested £20 million to repair its five tower blocks. Repairs at Evenlode and Windrush towers in Blackbird Leys are now at an advanced stage with Hockmore towers in Cowley scheduled to be the next in line. Plowman towers in Northway and Foresters tower in Wood Farm will follow later this year.
The survey also showed that tenant satisfaction with value for money of rent remained stable at 75 per cent, while four in five residents expressed satisfaction with the quality of their home, rising to 90 per cent among sheltered tenants.
Compared with 2014, there has been a dip in satisfaction overall with how the Council deals with repairs and maintenance, although dissatisfaction is unchanged. Lowest satisfaction is with time taken before work started, work being right first time and speed of completion.
Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said: “Our great estates programme is making a difference to communities and giving people positive views about their neighbourhood. We are committed to improving our estates and will continue to work to ensure that all our regeneration programmes are delivered.
We acknowledge that there were delays in carrying out repairs over the past year, which were caused by the bad weather. The backlogs on fencing in particular were caused by a national shortage of timber, which affected overall time taken to complete repairs. This backlog has been cleared and we’re now operating normally.”