When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Former dump becomes pride of Blackbird Leys
5:50pm Thursday 14th February 2013 in News
IT HAS transformed from forgotten dump to the pride of the Leys. Spindlebury Nature Reserve’s rebirth continues and the park could soon welcome a new path and lighting.
Blackbird Leys Parish Council is hoping to install the fixtures to give better access from Greater Leys and make the area safer at night.
Efforts to clean up the park over the last two years have coincided with a drop in recorded crime at the park and connecting streets.
According to police statistics, in December 2010 there were three recorded instances of antisocial behaviour and two instances of criminal damage near the entrances of the park.
Before then, the park was a magnet for antisocial behaviour, according to local people, with stolen cars often dumped and set alight.
Residents also complained that the pond at the nature reserve was full of dead fish, birds and junk dumped in the water.
In december 2011 there were two instances of criminal damage and arson and two incidents of anti-social behaviour.
And statistics, for last December show only two recorded crimes at or near the park.
Parish council chairman Gordon Roper said: “There is no path out of the nature reserve but a lot of people use it to get to Greater Leys. It is currently nothing but mud, so the parish council is looking at seeing if we can get something in to continue clearing it up.
“It’s early stages, and we don’t know if it will go with the work of the Prince’s Foundation but we thought we’d just get on with it and see.”
The Princes Foundation charity is planning to extend the park and make other improvements as part of a multi-million pound overhaul of Oxford’s largest estate.
Mr Roper said: “There have been problems of antisocial behaviour before, the lights could help, although we recognise that because it is a nature reserve we will have to be careful with the kind of lighting installed.
“It’s another way to make people crossing through a little easier.”
Last year the nature reserve featured in Love Parks Week as residents worked to clean it up with the assistance of qualified gardeners.
Founded by national parks charity GreenSpace in 2006, the scheme encourages people to do voluntary work improving countryside sites.