Renewal project for Leys area launched

The Oxford Times: Executive director of city regeneration David Edwards Executive director of city regeneration David Edwards

A MULTI-million pound regeneration project to transform Blackbird Leys has been launched.

For the first time, Oxford City Council has brought in specialist help to ask residents what improvements they would most like to see on Oxford’s biggest estate.

The Prince’s Foundation charity will work with the council and local community groups for the next year to help produce a blueprint for the estate, which will involve changes to housing, transport, parking and parks.

Despite a history of council consultations on the Leys, yesterday the council’s regeneration boss promised “action rather than words”.

Executive director of city regeneration David Edwards said: “We think now is the right time to invest in Blackbird Leys.

“We see the regeneration of the estate as a priority and it is something we want to do properly.

“So instead of coming in and saying ‘this is what we are doing’, we are asking people what they want and making sure we get smaller projects done quickly, to gain credibility and momentum for the larger projects.”

Mr Edwards said a “significant amount of money” would be set aside for the regeneration from the council’s budget, including £2m for the refurbishment of the two tower blocks Windrush and Evenlode.

Funding will then be allocated on a project-by-project basis, subject to the results of the consultations.

Initial ideas include an overhaul of parking on the estate, tackling match day parking issues and parking on verges, and the opening up of the entrances to Greater Leys for better access. This could mean changes to Frys Hill and Brake Hill.

The first in a three-day process of workshops started yesterday, attended by city and parish councillors, groups from the Blackbird Leys Community Centre and the Church of the Holy Family.

Prince’s Foundation urban programme manager Biljana Savic said: “The buildings around there were built in the 1950s and it needs work. In the 1990s, Greater Leys was built and the centre doesn’t reflect that the estate doubled in size.”

Members of the Prince’s Foundation will return in early December to draw up more detailed plans.

The Blackbird Leys Parish Council said they backed the plans, but expressed some scepticism.

Vice-chairman Brian Lester said: “We could fill the Bodleian Library with all the consultations we’ve had on this estate.

“It’s action we want to see.”

WORKSHOPS, DROP-IN SESSIONS

A public session will be held at the Leys Leisure Centre from 4pm-7pm tomorrow.

Members of the city council and Prince’s Foundation will be at the Church of the Holy Family today from 1.30pm until 3.30pm  and at the leisure centre all day tomorrow.
People are welcome to drop in between these times.

THE PRINCE'S FOUNDATION

The foundation started in 1987 when Prince Charles outlined a ‘Vision for Britain’ in a BBC documentary.

It now works across the world, creating projects to reflect what local people want.
The foundation helps communities create plans for the area, putting them in touch with planners, builders, designs and local authorities.

It is separate from the Prince’s Trust which is a charity which works with young people.

Comments (24)

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11:33am Thu 11 Oct 12

Myron Blatz says...

Every £1 spent on Blackbird Leys means less money invested in the rest of Oxford. So why this on-going emphasis on the people in the Leys area, at the expenses of everyone else? One reason is that it has become the eco-political focus for Labour in Oxford - not just where the local MP lives, but a key area for votes to maintain a Labour MP, and Labour's powerbase in Oxford - at all cost. The issue about Temple Cowley Pool wasn't so much about a clapped-out and very poorly maintained public facility, as Labour's desire to geographically relocate major investment of such a key facility. As for Blackbird Leys Parish Council, this has no historical relevance to Oxford, and was established to 'soften' the image of one of Europe's larger public housing estates. It has no real 'teeth' from a local governnent perspective, and doesn't even maintain the public recreation spaces - though through the 'Precept' it receives from City Council moneys, it does act a funding channel for community needs - that's when it can find the 15 or so people yo act as unpaid Parish Councillors each year. from a population in Blackbird Leys in excess of 12,000.
Every £1 spent on Blackbird Leys means less money invested in the rest of Oxford. So why this on-going emphasis on the people in the Leys area, at the expenses of everyone else? One reason is that it has become the eco-political focus for Labour in Oxford - not just where the local MP lives, but a key area for votes to maintain a Labour MP, and Labour's powerbase in Oxford - at all cost. The issue about Temple Cowley Pool wasn't so much about a clapped-out and very poorly maintained public facility, as Labour's desire to geographically relocate major investment of such a key facility. As for Blackbird Leys Parish Council, this has no historical relevance to Oxford, and was established to 'soften' the image of one of Europe's larger public housing estates. It has no real 'teeth' from a local governnent perspective, and doesn't even maintain the public recreation spaces - though through the 'Precept' it receives from City Council moneys, it does act a funding channel for community needs - that's when it can find the 15 or so people yo act as unpaid Parish Councillors each year. from a population in Blackbird Leys in excess of 12,000. Myron Blatz

11:48am Thu 11 Oct 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

£2m does sound rather a lot to spend on two tower blocks - a fairly large number of detached homes (ideal for key workers who work night-shift) could be built for that.

Planning on improving vehicular passage between Heritage Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys is likely to result in vigorous campaigning by the CPRE who will no doubt be concerned about the loss of a narrow strip of "greenbelt".

If it does happen, a bus gate and railway bridge/underpass would probably be useful near the Kassam - potentially allowing the X39 or X40 to route via the Science Park and then through Littlemore, Cowley Centre, Iffley Road. Opening up employment opportunities for people living in East Oxford in Reading - the financial and retail power-house of the area.
£2m does sound rather a lot to spend on two tower blocks - a fairly large number of detached homes (ideal for key workers who work night-shift) could be built for that. Planning on improving vehicular passage between Heritage Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys is likely to result in vigorous campaigning by the CPRE who will no doubt be concerned about the loss of a narrow strip of "greenbelt". If it does happen, a bus gate and railway bridge/underpass would probably be useful near the Kassam - potentially allowing the X39 or X40 to route via the Science Park and then through Littlemore, Cowley Centre, Iffley Road. Opening up employment opportunities for people living in East Oxford in Reading - the financial and retail power-house of the area. Andrew:Oxford

11:59am Thu 11 Oct 12

Robin Hood Tax says...

This is welcome news.
Any investment at this time is welcomed to regenerate our poorer areas of the city. Is Myron Blatz requesting that we need more investment in North Oxford.
Maybe we need some Qualified Investment Bankers to monitor the project as they seem so good at making investment for our country.
This is welcome news. Any investment at this time is welcomed to regenerate our poorer areas of the city. Is Myron Blatz requesting that we need more investment in North Oxford. Maybe we need some Qualified Investment Bankers to monitor the project as they seem so good at making investment for our country. Robin Hood Tax

1:06pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Robin Hood Tax wrote:
This is welcome news. Any investment at this time is welcomed to regenerate our poorer areas of the city. Is Myron Blatz requesting that we need more investment in North Oxford. Maybe we need some Qualified Investment Bankers to monitor the project as they seem so good at making investment for our country.
As long as they are qualified.

We know what happened when unqualified politicians and civils servants were monitoring the financial markets.
[quote][p][bold]Robin Hood Tax[/bold] wrote: This is welcome news. Any investment at this time is welcomed to regenerate our poorer areas of the city. Is Myron Blatz requesting that we need more investment in North Oxford. Maybe we need some Qualified Investment Bankers to monitor the project as they seem so good at making investment for our country.[/p][/quote]As long as they are qualified. We know what happened when unqualified politicians and civils servants were monitoring the financial markets. Andrew:Oxford

2:40pm Thu 11 Oct 12

mlsbats says...

Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.
Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill. mlsbats

3:43pm Thu 11 Oct 12

chavster says...

mlsbats wrote:
Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.
Yes, and spare a thought for us in Iffley Village - only a tiny shop which we have to staff ourselves and absolutely no facilities. No parks, swimming pools, etc etc.
[quote][p][bold]mlsbats[/bold] wrote: Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.[/p][/quote]Yes, and spare a thought for us in Iffley Village - only a tiny shop which we have to staff ourselves and absolutely no facilities. No parks, swimming pools, etc etc. chavster

3:52pm Thu 11 Oct 12

paul from Kennington says...

mlsbats wrote:
Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.
Actually you will find that Jericho has had massive funding from new pavements and road calming measures, through to practically every shop, pub and restaurant, being renewed, that is not to mention the brand new state of the art health centre (and when you can afford to pay £500,000 for a two up two down and over £10 for a pie and a pint) it is hardly a deprived area. Summertown and Headington have brand new shopping areas, yet the Leys still has a rather grubby looking row of shops. And as for the flats it works out at only £10,000 per home, not including work needed on the blocks themselves. So although it sounds a lot of money when you consider the population involved, nearly 20% of the permanent residents within the City boundary, it is not a massive amount.
[quote][p][bold]mlsbats[/bold] wrote: Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.[/p][/quote]Actually you will find that Jericho has had massive funding from new pavements and road calming measures, through to practically every shop, pub and restaurant, being renewed, that is not to mention the brand new state of the art health centre (and when you can afford to pay £500,000 for a two up two down and over £10 for a pie and a pint) it is hardly a deprived area. Summertown and Headington have brand new shopping areas, yet the Leys still has a rather grubby looking row of shops. And as for the flats it works out at only £10,000 per home, not including work needed on the blocks themselves. So although it sounds a lot of money when you consider the population involved, nearly 20% of the permanent residents within the City boundary, it is not a massive amount. paul from Kennington

6:08pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

mlsbats wrote:
Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.
The people of Jericho campaigned against a Tesco opening!

From "The Oxford Mail" and "The Oxford Times":-

http://www.oxfordmai
l.co.uk/news/9302308
._We_don_t_want_Tesc
o_in_Jericho_/

http://www.oxfordtim
es.co.uk/forum/lette
rs/9122455.Tesco__no
t_needed_/
[quote][p][bold]mlsbats[/bold] wrote: Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.[/p][/quote]The people of Jericho campaigned against a Tesco opening! From "The Oxford Mail" and "The Oxford Times":- http://www.oxfordmai l.co.uk/news/9302308 ._We_don_t_want_Tesc o_in_Jericho_/ http://www.oxfordtim es.co.uk/forum/lette rs/9122455.Tesco__no t_needed_/ Andrew:Oxford

6:41pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Robin Hood Tax says...

With all these cuts at the moment I guess we are lucky to get any investment at all for anywhere. All the local councils will suffer I guess.
With regards to the above comments. Will the Qualified bankers take huge bonuses for delivering poor perfomance also.
With all these cuts at the moment I guess we are lucky to get any investment at all for anywhere. All the local councils will suffer I guess. With regards to the above comments. Will the Qualified bankers take huge bonuses for delivering poor perfomance also. Robin Hood Tax

6:51pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Robin Hood Tax says...

The politicians had to bale out the banks they didn't bankrupt them.
The politicians had to bale out the banks they didn't bankrupt them. Robin Hood Tax

8:43pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Richie24 says...

mlsbats wrote:
Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.
Ridiculous comment from misbats, BBL is primarily a council estate and the tower blocks do need attention. Jericho on the other hand is walking distance of the city centre and has a large majority of private homes, it is one of the most expensive parts of the city and has little deprivation. Its about time other parts of Oxford get some attention, North Oxford & Jericho certainly don't!
[quote][p][bold]mlsbats[/bold] wrote: Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.[/p][/quote]Ridiculous comment from misbats, BBL is primarily a council estate and the tower blocks do need attention. Jericho on the other hand is walking distance of the city centre and has a large majority of private homes, it is one of the most expensive parts of the city and has little deprivation. Its about time other parts of Oxford get some attention, North Oxford & Jericho certainly don't! Richie24

8:49pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Cluck79 says...

Jericho, has no community facilities for the community. There are plenty of council properties there as well, not everyone owns a £500k house. Yes there is a new health centre, but thats not a facility for the young or old people to go. Traffic calming where? or are you referring to a couple of speed bumps which do nothing. We have a drugs problem needles being left everywhere and no community police pressence.
Jericho, has no community facilities for the community. There are plenty of council properties there as well, not everyone owns a £500k house. Yes there is a new health centre, but thats not a facility for the young or old people to go. Traffic calming where? or are you referring to a couple of speed bumps which do nothing. We have a drugs problem needles being left everywhere and no community police pressence. Cluck79

8:55pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Robin Hood Tax says...

Its ok I am sure the "Free Market" and the "New Society" with the endless supply of volunteers will come to the rescue.
Its ok I am sure the "Free Market" and the "New Society" with the endless supply of volunteers will come to the rescue. Robin Hood Tax

8:56pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Richie24 says...

No area of Oxford is perfect. However Jericho has a smart new health centre, shops, pubs (yes if you can afford them) the only busy road is Walton Street and you'd struggle to get over 20 mph most of the time, bus services, walking distance of the city centre, walks along the canal, close to Port Meadow, good state primary school.
It can hardly be compared to the issues in the outlying estates such as Rose Hill, BBL, Barton etc.
No area of Oxford is perfect. However Jericho has a smart new health centre, shops, pubs (yes if you can afford them) the only busy road is Walton Street and you'd struggle to get over 20 mph most of the time, bus services, walking distance of the city centre, walks along the canal, close to Port Meadow, good state primary school. It can hardly be compared to the issues in the outlying estates such as Rose Hill, BBL, Barton etc. Richie24

9:57pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Robin Hood Tax wrote:
With all these cuts at the moment I guess we are lucky to get any investment at all for anywhere. All the local councils will suffer I guess.
With regards to the above comments. Will the Qualified bankers take huge bonuses for delivering poor perfomance also.
Only if you agree to tax the bonuses at 45% or more.

The politicians and civil servants failed miserably in their role of monitoring the financial services industry.

Far too busy threatening cashiers on £12k with jail if they don't interrogate the pensioner who is depositing or withdrawing more than £500 in cash - then ignoring what's going on with the large city trades because they simply don't have the brains to understand and regulate.
[quote][p][bold]Robin Hood Tax[/bold] wrote: With all these cuts at the moment I guess we are lucky to get any investment at all for anywhere. All the local councils will suffer I guess. With regards to the above comments. Will the Qualified bankers take huge bonuses for delivering poor perfomance also.[/p][/quote]Only if you agree to tax the bonuses at 45% or more. The politicians and civil servants failed miserably in their role of monitoring the financial services industry. Far too busy threatening cashiers on £12k with jail if they don't interrogate the pensioner who is depositing or withdrawing more than £500 in cash - then ignoring what's going on with the large city trades because they simply don't have the brains to understand and regulate. Andrew:Oxford

10:09pm Thu 11 Oct 12

Robin Hood Tax says...

At the end of the day when a kid steels a pair of trainers he goes to prison but when a banks effectively steel from the tax payer because they are propped up with billions of tax payers money they just walk away. That's why we have the cuts and the social problems will get worse as a result.
At the end of the day when a kid steels a pair of trainers he goes to prison but when a banks effectively steel from the tax payer because they are propped up with billions of tax payers money they just walk away. That's why we have the cuts and the social problems will get worse as a result. Robin Hood Tax

9:00am Fri 12 Oct 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

chavster wrote:
mlsbats wrote:
Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.
Yes, and spare a thought for us in Iffley Village - only a tiny shop which we have to staff ourselves and absolutely no facilities. No parks, swimming pools, etc etc.
If it's so bad, why did you move there, and why are you still there?
[quote][p][bold]chavster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mlsbats[/bold] wrote: Once again Blackbird Leys gets all the money! Same pigging story. Take a proper look around Jericho, huge parts of it are falling into neglect,there's dog mess everywhere and the best we have for shopping is an expensive Co-op local.When was the last time we had any funding?No,it's boo-hoo always poor BL,Barton,Rose Hill.[/p][/quote]Yes, and spare a thought for us in Iffley Village - only a tiny shop which we have to staff ourselves and absolutely no facilities. No parks, swimming pools, etc etc.[/p][/quote]If it's so bad, why did you move there, and why are you still there? Dilligaf2010

10:05am Fri 12 Oct 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Robin Hood Tax wrote:
At the end of the day when a kid steels a pair of trainers he goes to prison but when a banks effectively steel from the tax payer because they are propped up with billions of tax payers money they just walk away. That's why we have the cuts and the social problems will get worse as a result.
The money went somewhere, often straight into the hands of the general public... Often encouraged by the media.

Maybe people who made massive capital gains on residential property between 2000 & 2007 should be subject to a backdated windfall tax?

In effect, when a house has plummetted in value, they "stole" from the bank who "stole" from the taxpayer.

That should sort it all out.
[quote][p][bold]Robin Hood Tax[/bold] wrote: At the end of the day when a kid steels a pair of trainers he goes to prison but when a banks effectively steel from the tax payer because they are propped up with billions of tax payers money they just walk away. That's why we have the cuts and the social problems will get worse as a result.[/p][/quote]The money went somewhere, often straight into the hands of the general public... Often encouraged by the media. Maybe people who made massive capital gains on residential property between 2000 & 2007 should be subject to a backdated windfall tax? In effect, when a house has plummetted in value, they "stole" from the bank who "stole" from the taxpayer. That should sort it all out. Andrew:Oxford

5:42pm Fri 12 Oct 12

boagongrui says...

It's all good news for Blackbird Leys,
Last ten years,
No joyriding ,
A decent swimming pool,
A great bowls club,
A great bus service,
Two good locals,
Black and White mix together,
Close to BMW for work,
Now money too,
Hip Hip Hooray Henry.
It's all good news for Blackbird Leys, Last ten years, No joyriding , A decent swimming pool, A great bowls club, A great bus service, Two good locals, Black and White mix together, Close to BMW for work, Now money too, Hip Hip Hooray Henry. boagongrui

10:45pm Fri 12 Oct 12

Budowaah says...

So long as they keep voting Labour and don't riot it's money well spent, right?
So long as they keep voting Labour and don't riot it's money well spent, right? Budowaah

12:10am Sat 13 Oct 12

boagongrui says...

Budowaah wrote:
So long as they keep voting Labour and don't riot it's money well spent, right?
I live on Blackbird Ley's And I'am a tory
[quote][p][bold]Budowaah[/bold] wrote: So long as they keep voting Labour and don't riot it's money well spent, right?[/p][/quote]I live on Blackbird Ley's And I'am a tory boagongrui

3:31pm Sat 13 Oct 12

Abartonresident says...

Anyone who thinks there is money being spent here should come and have a look.They may have built a new centre some years ago and a swimming pool that residents had fund-raised for years for and which is mostly used by the schools, but on the whole the estate is neglected.The fences around people's houses are still the same old broken down wire that has been there as long as I can remember. There are massive weeds growing through the pavements and on the verges that have been there all summer and will only die down and resurface next spring. Nothing is ever done around the estate.
Anyone who thinks there is money being spent here should come and have a look.They may have built a new centre some years ago and a swimming pool that residents had fund-raised for years for and which is mostly used by the schools, but on the whole the estate is neglected.The fences around people's houses are still the same old broken down wire that has been there as long as I can remember. There are massive weeds growing through the pavements and on the verges that have been there all summer and will only die down and resurface next spring. Nothing is ever done around the estate. Abartonresident

11:58pm Sat 13 Oct 12

lfcaware says...

Barton is a terrible place to live. God help them.
Barton is a terrible place to live. God help them. lfcaware

6:52am Sun 14 Oct 12

Robin Hood Tax says...

Barton is the only place in Oxford where a three bedroom house is for sale at under 250000 pounds. In North Oxford the prices are double and the rents must be double also. So I guess the dogs will be bigger too that explains all the dog mess in Jerico.
Barton is the only place in Oxford where a three bedroom house is for sale at under 250000 pounds. In North Oxford the prices are double and the rents must be double also. So I guess the dogs will be bigger too that explains all the dog mess in Jerico. Robin Hood Tax

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