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Work underway on Blackbird Leys district redevelopment

Construction is officially underway to deliver hundreds of affordable homes, retail spaces, and community facilities across Blackbird Leys, Oxford, following a recent ground breaking ceremony.  

Housing association Peabody (formerly Catalyst) is delivering The Blackbird Leys district redevelopment, with development partners Oxford City Council and award-winning housebuilder The Hill Group. The project, which will provide 294 new homes across two sites, will also deliver a district centre with high-quality facilities including green spaces, shops, and a community centre, as well as improved roads with a segregated cycle route.

In January, preparation work began at the site, led by Hill, which saw the installation of hoardings following the successful securing of planning permission and the finalisation of planning agreements.

Now, work at the site is well underway, with the demolition of the old community centre and garages near Evenlode Tower enabling Hill to start construction of the new homes. 

About the redevelopment

The new district centre will include 210 homes, 83 per cent (174 homes) of which will be for social or affordable rent and 17 per cent (36 homes) for shared ownership. A further 84 houses for shared ownership will be built at Knights Road – helping to tackle Oxford’s housing shortage.   

Peabody and the council have been working with local communities to understand their views about the new Blackbird Leys Community Centre and the public space surrounding it, which will be delivered as part of the first phase of the redevelopment.

The Council has carried out over four years of engagement with the Blackbird Leys community and gathered more than 1,500 pieces of feedback from local residents and stakeholders, which informed the decision to allocate planning permission to the site.

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Along with events, meetings and consultations, the Leys Community Review Panel – made up of local residents – has been set up to communicate the community’s needs to the design team. 

Planning consent for the community centre has been granted in ‘outline’, and there will be further opportunities for local residents to influence plans until the submission of a detailed planning application in the spring. 

Peabody and Oxford City Council will soon set out further information about how local people can access opportunities to work on the Blackbird Leys redevelopment project, learn skills in construction, and get involved with artwork on construction hoarding. 

Comment

Simon Barry, Managing Director, Development at Peabody Simon Barry, “This groundbreaking event marks an important step forward in the redevelopment of Blackbird Leys – as we start building hundreds of much-needed affordable homes for the community.  

“Oxford is a world-class city, but it’s also one of the most expensive places to live outside London, and this makes the delivery of affordable homes challenging. Together with Oxford City Council, we’ve been working closely with the community since 2019. So it’s great to see the hard work paying off and the plans coming together.”

Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, Oxford City Council, “I am delighted that work is now underway on the new district centre for Blackbird Leys. This is a major milestone in the long history of this project. 

“We could not have reached this point without the support and involvement of local residents, and know many in the local community are as excited as I am about this development which will breathe new life into the centre of Blackbird Leys. It will also deliver a stunning new community centre and provide a new affordable home for 174 local families currently on the council’s housing register and further opportunities for local people to get on the housing ladder with shared ownership.”

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Ryan Harris, Regional Director at The Hill Group comments: “The ground breaking ceremony for this significant project at Blackbird Leys, marks an important milestone in delivering high-quality, affordable homes, retail space, and community facilities with our partners, Peabody and Oxford City Council.  With work now underway, we look forward to this scheme bringing a wide range of benefits to the local community for many generations to come.”

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