Work is due to start imminently on a major regeneration project at the Blackbird Leys estate in Oxford.

A total of 294 homes will be built along with retail and community spaces in a Homes England-funded scheme, first consulted on in 2019.

The plans by housing association Peabody (formerly Catalyst) and development partner Oxford City Council are across two sites. 

A new district centre will include 210 homes, 174 of them affordable, which will be for social or affordable rent and 36 homes for shared ownership. A further 84 houses for shared ownership will be built at Knights Road.   

The district centre will include green spaces, shops and a community centre, as well as improved roads with a segregated cycle route. 

Contractor Hill has begun preparation work on site and demolition of the existing community centre and Evenlode Tower parking and garages will begin shortly.

Simon Barry, managing director, development for Peabody said: “We’ve come a long way since we first engaged with the community in 2019 about our proposals for Blackbird Leys, so I’m delighted to now see work beginning on site. This marks a critical step forward in our programme to rejuvenate this area with much-needed affordable homes and purpose-built high-quality public spaces.    

“The next stage is to finalise our plans for the community centre, and we’ve had brilliant conversations with local residents and organisations over the past few months – that’s thanks to the fantastic energy of this community.  We’re looking forward to building on this as we move through the final design stage.”  

Cllr Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing for Oxford City Council, said: “The start of construction work on site is a major milestone in the long history of this project. Some people believed we’d never get to this stage, and the current difficulties in construction and property development mean it’s taken more time and lots of hard work to get here.  

“I’d like to thank local people for bearing with us over the years as the scheme was paused and re-started and the vision for a new district centre for Blackbird Leys was developed. We now have work commencing on a scheme which will deliver nearly 300 much-needed new affordable homes, modern shops and a brand new community centre, which will be a big boost for residents of Blackbird Leys.” 

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