A CASH injection of £4.7m is set to regenerate the heart of Barton.

Oxford City Council has revealed plans to revamp sections of the estate, including the Underhill Circus area.

It is hoped that work can begin as early as next year and be completed in tandem with the council’s flagship housing scheme Barton Park.

A consultancy firm has been hired to draw up options for where the money – which is funded from the capital spending budget – will be spent on the estate.

The announcement comes after work began on Oxford’s biggest housing development in a generation last month. Some 885 homes and a 315-place primary school will be built on the land west of Barton.

Oxford City Council’s head of housing Stephen Clarke said: “We are looking at options as to how we might spend the £4.7m, such as remodelling the area around the community centre and shopping arcade.

“We want to look at all the issues in Barton and make a co-ordinated investment programme of a period of years, as we put the new build [Barton Park] in.

“There will be work on the central area but there will also be work right across the estate.”

Residents will be invited to an exhibition to view plans and put forward their own ideas.

The regeneration of Barton is part of a wider scheme in Oxford, which will also see about £11m spent on improving Blackbird Leys.

This comes as the city council is set to spend £21m bringing more than 7,800 council homes in Oxford up to a modern standard, of which about 800 are in Barton.

Sue Holden, secretary of the Barton Community Association, welcomed the news of the investment.

She said: “We have had this issue of being a poor relative to Barton Park and if the council is going to spend this money, it’s brilliant for us.

“One of the big things is the signage. I would like to see more around the estate letting people know where the school is and the neighbourhood centre.”

Mick Beesley, 63, of Bayswater Road, said he hoped the money would give the estate a “fresh” look.

Martin Scarrott, 50, said: “I’m in a wheelchair and some of the paths are broken up. I feel that needs to be sorted out.”

Mike Rowley, city councillor for Barton, said the the community association had supplied a “wish list” based in what it would like to see be regenerated.

He said: “We are keen to see external and internal improvements to Barton Neighbourhood Centre.

“I think the community would also be keen to make the entrance to Barton look better, improve our green spaces, provide more community facilities in the light of the church hall becoming defunct, and support projects that will bind the old and new parts of the estate together.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “This investment is a big boost for Barton and a great chance to make sure that the new development brings real benefits to the existing estate.

“Barton has a strong community spirit and I’m sure the council will listen carefully and take notice of the views of local people.

“Success will be measured by the pride people have in the improvements put in place, and how well the new and older parts of the estate are knitted together.”