Council struggling to get its information to people, claim residents of the Leys

Liz Helliwell

Liz Helliwell

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

OXFORD City Council is trying to find a way to connect with residents of the Leys, after a recent meeting about the estate’s community plan attracted just three residents.

The meeting last week was supposed to be an opportunity for people who live on the estate to give their thoughts on what is needed for the area.

The plan will be built on working with residents and local groups to focus on several problem areas for the estate, including health and wellbeing, community safety, housing, the environment and education.

David Growcott is the council’s neighbourhood locality officer responsible for the Leys Community Plan. He said: “We need to increase engagement.

“It’s great that these people came along, but the fact we’re talking in single digits as a ‘successful’ leap for participation is an indication of how poorly we’re doing.”

Dena Hillis, from Sorrell Road, was one of the residents who attended the meeting. She said that – while there are a lot of projects aimed at children and the elderly – there is little for the working people of the estate.

She said: “People don’t know what’s going on, there are people who fall between age categories.

“I’m not a young person and I’m not elderly, and I don’t know what’s going on in my own community.

“You just don’t get to be part of it unless you come into one of those two categories.”

One suggestion to make it easier for people to get involved with community activities was to reintroduce community notice boards across the estate.

Kestrel Crescent resident Liz Helliwell said: “I hate the council surveys that come through my door. I just put them in the bin.

“There needs to be an easier way for people to talk about their problems and issues.”

Blackbird Leys’ Oxfordshire county councillor Val Smith said: “Information needs to be available all the time for people to know what’s going on.

“There used to be community notice boards which were vandalised, but we could bring them back to the Leys.”

There is a notice board of Leys Children’s Centre’s activities on Cuddesdon Way, but Mrs Smith said there should be ones the public can use for any kind of community notice.

She said: “It’s not where you go if you want to find out what’s going on.

“We need to do something at the Top Shops – the row of shops on Blackbird Leys Road – and make use of the fact that people do all of their shopping there.

“We need to find some way of letting people know what’s going on.

“There are some good trendy notice boards in Littlemore and Rose Hill. Maybe we should get ones like that.”

Oxford city councillor for Northfield Brook, Steve Curran, said: “People get information in different ways and we need to make sure we use all of those different ways.”

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Comments (3)

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10:29pm Tue 22 Jul 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

The problem is with the council. No one believes they listen to residents. They carry out surveys and consultations then go against the wishes of the residents, so what's the point. 93% of residents on Blackbird Leys opposed the parking permit scheme, and what did the council do, they went and implemented it.
The problem is with the council. No one believes they listen to residents. They carry out surveys and consultations then go against the wishes of the residents, so what's the point. 93% of residents on Blackbird Leys opposed the parking permit scheme, and what did the council do, they went and implemented it. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -7

10:45pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Perhaps a community noticeboard outside the beautiful pool that will be opening soon?

Other than that most "normal" people get community information from internet resources and "The Oxford Mail".

Apparently the South Oxon council rag is also widely distributed on the Leys. This is due to the economy of scale of blanket distribution by Royal Mail and overlapping postcodes rather than Aspiration.
Perhaps a community noticeboard outside the beautiful pool that will be opening soon? Other than that most "normal" people get community information from internet resources and "The Oxford Mail". Apparently the South Oxon council rag is also widely distributed on the Leys. This is due to the economy of scale of blanket distribution by Royal Mail and overlapping postcodes rather than Aspiration. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

2:39pm Wed 23 Jul 14

MrSooty says...

I can imagine the headline in a couple of years being "Council struggling to get customers for new swimming pool".
I can imagine the headline in a couple of years being "Council struggling to get customers for new swimming pool". MrSooty
  • Score: 0

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