A RAFT of plans to brighten up and regenerate East Oxford have been under discussion.

Among the ideas for Cowley Road, Iffley Road and St Clement's Street are to put up street banners, a gateway or archway to the area, a boulevard of the stars, which could focus on Oxford luminaries from the music scene, sculpture and murals.

Nuala Young, who represents the area on Oxford City Council's east area committee, said: "It's looking at creating a sort of upbeat backing for the character that's already there.

"We wanted to bring together the character and make it bloom and just smarten it up. I quite like the nature of the area, in that it is not absolutely polished and we don't want to ruin it by over-smartening it."

She added: "If you think about the Cowley Road ten years ago, it was quite a different place and had a pretty grim feel to it.

"I'd like to have some of the artworks going up straight away but we have to look at our budgets and see what we can afford."

She suggested Manzil Way gardens could be a good place for sculptures or perhaps a fountain.

Selina Godoy, of Galeria Brasil, in Cowley Road, said: "I think it would be very good indeed for the Cowley Road. Anything that enhances and shows the problems that the traders are facing, or showcases the diversity of the road, is very good and positive.

"The council should make an effort to bring more people into here as well. If you have sculptures and things, but you don't have many people to see it, I don't see how it can improve."

Katie Hearne, who lives in Southfield Road, was also in favour of the initiatives - but said it was important for residents to be consulted.

She said: "I can't quite imagine how these things would look but it sounds like it could be quite interesting. I think investing in the area is a good idea."

The east area parliament is set to put £10,000 towards getting the projects off the ground and were due to discuss the proposals last night.

But some traders and local residents expressed doubts about the plans.

Stephen Cooper, who owns Honest Stationery, in Cowley Road, said: "East Oxford doesn't need flags and an entry doorway.

"We don't want to be branded as a happy clappy, 'glad rag' society, living our lovely lives in East Oxford."

And James Attlee, who lives in East Oxford and wrote a book about the Cowley Road, Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey, said the council needed to leave the area alone.

He said: "This kind of urban design is really inappropriate. It's very generic and it crops up in cities all over the place.

"Instead of making somewhere more special, it makes it more of the same - more like every other urban regeneration in every other city.

"Cowley Road has just about avoided becoming like every other High Street so far. It sounds like they want to make it like Disneyland and any individual character that it retains will be erased."