‘IT’s time to make Oxford’s estates great again’ according to the city council.

Oxford City Council will start work on four projects making improvements to council estates as part of its Great Estates programme in coming weeks.

Great Estates sees the council working with tenants to identify and make improvements to blocks of flats and communal areas.

In the last four years the council has invested £1.2 million a year on making great estates and is planning on spending an extra £0.75 million on top of this in the remainder of 2020/21.

The four schemes mark the resumption of the programme following lockdown and will involve work at Morris House, Barns House, 54-112 Barns Road, Wolsley and Riley House.

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All four projects will be carried out by ODS, a company owned by the council which carries out construction and maintenance work.

'Making estates great' can include upgrading doors to blocks, creating new communal outdoor spaces and making a neighbourhood safer by designing out anti-social behaviour.

Work will begin first at Morris House on July 6.

This project will take around four weeks and involves the installation of high-security doors and improvements to an outdoor communal area.

Oxford Mail:

Mike Rowley, the Oxford City Council who oversees affordable housing work

The second project at Barns House will bring a neglected walled area – once used for drying clothes – back into use as a space for relaxation.

The council is still consulting residents about design plans for the two remaining schemes at 54-112 Barns Road and Wolsley and Riley House – a process delayed because of the coronavirus lockdown.

The 54-112 Barns Road project will feature new security doors on all blocks, the replacement and relocation of sheds to make more space for a redesigned garden area and secure fencing with fob access gates.

Work at Wolsley and Riley House will involve opening up and redesigning communal garden spaces and making the neighbourhood safer through improvements to fencing and boundary areas.

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Mike Rowley, city council cabinet member for affordable housing and housing the homeless, said: “Great Estates works on the principle that tenants and leaseholders on our estates deserve access to safe, high-quality communal spaces and are best placed to tell us what will improve their neighbourhood.

"I’m really pleased that we are now resuming work on making our estates great and investing an extra £0.75 million in the programme this year.

“Every neighbourhood is unique and Great Estates aims to change the look and feel of our estates by delivering the improvements residents tell us they need.

"This could mean opening up spaces by moving bin areas and sheds, improved security and making over garden areas with new paths, seating and planting – or indeed, all of these.

"If you’re a council tenant and would like to suggest improvements to your neighbourhood, please contact your tenancy management officer.”

The Great Estates programme has also led to improvements on roads and parking around neighbourhoods like Blackbird Leys.