Willmott Dixon proposed as contractor for Oxford tower blocks refurbishment

Published: Tuesday, 18th August 2015

Oxford City Council is proposing to appoint Willmott Dixon Energy Services Ltd to undertake the £20m refurbishment of its five high rise residential tower blocks.

The towers were built in the 1960’s and comprise a total of 348 flats housing around 900 people. They include Evenlode and Windrush in Blackbird Leys, Foresters in Wood Farm, Hockmore in Cowley, and Plowman in Northway.

The proposed works include repairs to the communal structure; over-cladding and additional insulation; replacement of windows; new heating systems; upgrading of the communal electrics and fire safety systems, and refurbishment of lifts. There will also be work to improve the grounds, car parks, fencing, landscaping and front entrances.

When completed the work will extend the life of the flats by a minimum of 30 years, improve energy efficiency by reducing heat loss, cut fuel bills, and reduce fire risk. The quality of life for residents will also increase with the improved look and feel of the tower blocks.

Willmott Dixon were selected through a rigorous tender process that included interviews with residents, City Council officers and expert external consultants. The contractor will be formally appointed after a 30 day consultation of leaseholders as required by law.

Out of the total number of flats in the tower blocks, 51 are privately owned. Under the terms of their lease, leaseholders will have to pay for their share of the repair and refurbishment work.

Councillor Scott Seamons, Board Member for Housing and Property Services, says: "This is a very important and much awaited project for the Council and the residents in the blocks. We welcome the proposed appointment of Willmott Dixon as the principal contractor for the scheme. They are world class developers whose capabilities can be seen in the impressive Leys Pools and Leisure Centre which they recently completed in Blackbird Leys.

"We'll now be consulting tenants and leaseholders on the proposed contractor as well as the programme of works. Works are due to start on the first two blocks at Blackbird Leys in early 2016."