PLANS to spend almost £1million to revamp Barton's Neighbourhood Centre and GP surgery are set to be approved by senior councillors next week.

Oxford City Council proposes to expand the estate's current GP surgery as the 885-home Barton Park development continues to take shape.

Other plans include a complete revamp of the centre in Underhill Circus, including modernising the sports hall, upgrading lighting, creating a new entrance and foyer, as well as refurbishing the existing toilets, fixtures and fittings.

Since it opened more than two decades ago the Neighbourhood Centre has been a focal point in the estate.

Oxford City Councillor for Barton Mike Rowley, who also is the local authority's lead member on housing, said the improvements were an 'excellent thing for Barton'.

He added: "It's an excellent thing for Barton, improving the centre for the whole community, and also expanding the GP surgery so they can provide more services to the people of all of Barton, old and new."

The scheme, which is scheduled to start in autumn this year, is part of a £3.7m regeneration project to help integrate the community of the new Barton Park development with existing Barton residents.

The total cost of the works total £950,000, with £370,000 being funded through Barton Park developer contributions, £150,000 from the Barton regeneration fund and a further £430,000 being provided from the community centre improvement budget.

The city council said it was also in talks with Barton Community Association to agree a 25-year lease for the centre.

Ian Brooke, head of community services for the city council, wrote a report which will be read by councillors in the Town Hall tomorrow before they vote on the plans.

He said Barton was one the council's 'three priority areas' and the improvements would make the centre 'more vibrant, welcoming and user friendly'.

Mr Brooke added: "Extensive consultation has taken place with residents and other stakeholders to

understand their aspirations for the existing estate.

"Improvements to the existing neighbourhood centre featured as a high priority.

"The centre undoubtedly has potential to increase its usage, especially from new and emerging communities and work is ongoing with the community association to facilitate this."

Work is well under way to refurbish flats, shops and roads in other areas of the estate.

In total, 46 blocks of flats will get a facelift over the next four years and so far, the porches in some flats have been rendered and three car parks in Stowford Road have been levelled and resurfaced.

Floodlights for the multi-use games area of the neighbourhood centre have been installed which now allows the area to be used until 9pm every day.