MORE members are desperately needed by Blackbird Leys Parish Council to prevent it being shut down.

The parish councillors are elected representatives who volunteer to meet regularly to discuss issues of concern for the residents of the Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys estates.

The council has space for 14 members, but currently only eight seats are filled.

The six vacancies include three councillors from Northfield Brook ward and three from Blackbird Leys ward.

If the number of councillors drops to five, there will no longer be a quorum, and the council will have to disband.

Chairman Gordon Roper is concerned that the group has been made up of the same people for too long, and that if any choose to step down the council will be in danger.

He said: “We’re getting too old – everybody’s getting on a bit.

“It’s quite worrying. If we can’t get some of the youngsters to come on with fresh ideas and help out the community we may not make it.”

Mr Roper, 75, who now lives in Garsington but still has family on the Leys, said: “We need more people.

“We want younger people to come, with different views, and shake things up a bit.

“It’s always been the same.

“The only time we had a full complement is when there were city councillors on the team, which we don’t do any more.

“Considering how many people there are on the estates and how much we do for the estates, I’m surprised there’s so few people involved.”

In February 2012, the parish council reduced its official numbers from 16 to 14 as it struggled to get new people interested in the role.

In 2007, former chairman Brian Lester resigned because of “apathy,” but returned to the council after three years, saying he had more to give to the community.

He said: “People still think that the parish council means it’s something to do with the church, which it’s not.

“It’s a real shame that people are reluctant to participate.”

Mr Lester, 66, said he understood why people did not get involved, but said they should make the effort.

He added “People work hard during the day, they come home, shut the door, and they can’t be bothered.”

The Pegasus Road resident added: “It’s about two hours a month when you have to attend meetings.

“There’s so much that could be done if we had a full complement.

“I believe that people on the estates are missing a golden opportunity to get involved.

“We’re pursuing a better lifestyle for the residents of the estates.”

He agreed with former chairman Gerry Webb, who said in 2010: “We have got a lot of ethnic groups on the estate and I would like to see representatives from them supporting the community.”

Official nominations for Thursday’s elections have closed, but new members could be co-opted with “no problem”.

Parish council meetings are held on the last Tuesday of the month at 7pm in the Blackbird Leys Community Centre in Blackbird Leys Road.

For more information, contact the parish clerk on 07754 271831 or email

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