SO MUCH money has been spent on Blackbird Leys that residents could each ‘have a gold plated front door,’ a councillor has claimed.

Conservative county councillor Pete Handley, who represents Carterton South and West, said he was tired of the estate being given funding while other deprived areas – particularly in the countryside – miss out.

He was speaking after £3.75million in Government funding was promised for Blackbird Leys for infrastructure to help regenerate the centre of the estate.

The total cost of the project, which will build new houses, shops and a community centre, is estimated to be £20million.

Mr Handley said: “There is a culture of hold your hand out and the funding will be delivered.

“With the amount of money that has gone to the estate, all the houses could have a gold-plated front door.

“All councillors have areas where people are poor, even more so since 2010 [when the coalition government's austerity programme began].

“I have nothing against the people of Blackbird Leys but the money that has been put in to it is hard to take, I don’t think they are even grateful for it."

Blackbird Leys is one of the most deprived areas of Oxford.

The most recent child poverty statistics, released last month, found an estimated 37 per cent of children in the ward live in households below the poverty line, with a household income 60 per cent below average.

According to the 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation, the estate is in the top 20 per cent of the most deprived areas in England.

Mr Handley said his ward, in which nine per cent of children live in poverty, needed major improvements.

He added: “We have Brize Norton, a major air base, and you can only get there on B roads.

“We need money for roundabouts, for road improvements, there are all sorts of issues that need sorting.

“But Oxford seems to take precedence over everything and people in rural areas are continually left short of anything.”

Paul Brackett, who has lived in Blackbird Leys all his life, said he didn't own anything gold, except a ring which he thinks may actually be plastic.

The 58-year-old said: "I don't know what you would want with a golden door anyway.

"If Mr Handley wants to come to the estate and walk around with me I will show him the rubbish and the things that need to be done.

"We have had a lot of money over the years but we had to build everything up from nothing, we have a great human spirit, there's no other estate like it.

"It's not about the money, we are a very close community and we look after each other, a lot of us don't feel we need to be regenerated."

Mr Handley said he had visited Blackbird Leys many times during his time working as a gas engineer and didn't feel it was any different to any other housing estate.

He admitted his opinions were controversial and said he will be 'labelled a rebel' but claimed many other councillors agree with him.

He added: “There are lots of other places that are in need but they do not get a look in, there is nobody out there sorting out the rural areas.

“We should be looking out for people all over, not just in Blackbird Leys.

"If the money is available for them it should be available for other areas as well.

But city councillor for Blackbird Leys, Linda Smith, called the comments ‘a complete joke’.

She said: “I would love to know what he is talking about.

“We certainly haven’t seen much county council money coming our way.

“In fact they have closed our children’s centre and we have extremely hazardous potholes on our streets.

“As a city council we have a policy of investing in areas in the city that have the greatest needs.

“Blackbird Leys and Northfield Brook are always near the top for scales of deprivation and children are living in poverty so there is a very good reason why our resources are targeted there."