Oxford City Council has announced it expects to deliver around 300 new homes as part of the regeneration of Blackbird Leys district centre, a significant proportion of which will be affordable.
A process to select a developer for the project has now commenced. The council and the chosen developer will explore options to maximise housing delivery at the district centre in line with the new Local Plan, which proposes higher density schemes within the city. In the first instance, the development partner will bring forward proposals for the council-owned sites at the district centre and at Knights Road.
Many of the buildings in the central area of Blackbird Leys, which were developed in the 1950s and '60s, are now suffering from significant deterioration. The developer will work with the council and the local community to develop detailed plans to improve the central area shopping parade and public space on Blackbird Leys Road, and also deliver a new community centre.
There will also be the potential for this development partner to work with the council and partners to bring forward other sites in the Blackbird Leys area. Residents and local ward councillors have influenced the regeneration proposals over the years, starting with a series of workshops undertaken with the Prince’s Foundation. Feedback from these workshops and the community meetings continues to influence development proposals.
Property consultants CBRE, who were earlier this year appointed by the council to help find a development partner, are leading the selection process, which is subject to EU procurement rules. Accordingly, it is anticipated that the chosen partner will be in place early in 2018.
In recent years, the council has invested significantly in the regeneration of the Blackbird Leys area. In 2015, the newly built £9.2m Leys Pools and Leisure Centre opened its doors to the community and beyond.
Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said: “I’m pleased we are taking the next steps to get a development partner to help deliver this scheme. We have shared this update with residents and stakeholders and contacted individual residents of the district centre who may be affected by the future redevelopment of the area.
“We will have one to one meetings with them to share the plans, including alternative accommodation arrangements for the duration of the redevelopment, and address any concerns that they might have. We are also inviting anyone with concerns to approach us so that we can address them. The project is at an early stage, so there is still a way to go to a final design. When we have a development partner then plans will be worked up in detail and we will seek views from the local community. We do hope you will take the opportunity to get involved as the project moves forward.”