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Concern grows over 'stalled' plan for Leys
CONCERNS have been raised over the apparent stalling of a plan to transform Blackbird Leys.
But Oxford City Council has insisted work is under way and it is set to appoint a specialist to tackle the estate’s parking problems.
A multi-million pound project overseen by the Prince’s Foundation charity began with a flurry of activity in October, but has since tailed off.
Curing parking problems and better green spaces topped a residents’ wish list but many have become worried by a lack of movement.
A no-show from the charity at the last meeting of Blackbird Leys Parish Council when an update was due has caused further concern.
Parking has been a major problem for people living near the Kassam Stadium in Grenoble Road for many years.
Churned up verges have also irritated residents as drivers struggle to find somewhere to park.
The charity promised solutions to these and other problems but scepticism lingers over whether the blueprints will ever come to life.
Blackbird Leys Parish Councillor Brian Lester said: “There is a big problem with parking here, that is something that should be addressed straight away before some of the grander plans come in.
“The problem is, in Blackbird Leys we have seen it all before.
“The honest answer is, I don’t know what is happening.
“There were lots of meetings, and presentations showing what they were going to do and what they weren’t going to do.
“They need to start showing it is a little bit more than a paper exercise or people will start to think they have promised and won’t deliver.”
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, who lives on the estate, added: “The ‘experts’ need to listen to Blackbird Leys residents to get it right.”
A city council spokesman said: “The council is set to appoint a specialist to look at the parking arrangements in Blackbird Leys with a view to making improvements for residents and freeing up space for community use, such as play areas.
“Oxford City Council will continue to work with the Prince’s Foundation to look at how these ideas can be developed in further consultation with the local community.”
Nunnery Close resident Liz Brandon, 72, who has lived on the estate for 52 years, said: “We are losing things so quickly, like the greyhound stadium, but nothing seems to appear in their place.
“We were promised a swimming pool too which never appeared, which is a shame.
She added: “There are so many good and wonderful things in the estate it would be terrible for us to keep losing things and not have them replaced.”