RESIDENTS claim they were not consulted on plans to build 84 homes next to the Kassam Stadium.

Land behind Knights Road is earmarked for housing as part of Oxford City Council's £100.6m redevelopment of Blackbird Leys, which includes a new community centre, shops and improved green space.

The area has been allocated for new homes since 2013, but Jane Lacey, who lives in Knights Road, has submitted a Freedom of Information request to the city council asking for proof the community was consulted.

The lifelong Blackbird Leys resident, 59, said: “They say it was agreed in 2013 – I’ve asked for the meeting minutes several times but I’m still waiting.

“There’s not one person here that thinks it’s a good idea.

“People send their kids over there to play, because it's away from the road and it’s safe.”

The site currently houses a children's football pitch and lies next to Spindleberry Nature Park, which will be protected from development.

Oxford Mail:

It is often used by football supporters to get to and from the Kassam on matchdays and pedestrian access will remain, while Knights Road residents will continue to have access through their back gardens.

There has been confusion over whether the park includes the pitch, but the city council confirmed they are separate.

The issue was raised at Blackbird Leys Parish Council's meeting on June 30, where Sian Taylor, city councillor for Northfield Brook ward, agreed to seek advice and was waiting for further information from the planning department.

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Ms Taylor has not heard back, but insisted residents would be benefitted by the development.

She said: “We’re desperately short of housing, particularly in the Leys area.

“I’ve been involved with case work with families and women who are literally sofa-surfing at their mums’ houses. That’s not acceptable.

“We have to find a way to listen to everybody and reassure those who are less happy.

“This is going to be advantageous to this area.”

The redevelopment includes 275 homes, with 74.2 per cent social rent or shared ownership.

But the Knights Road site gets just ten of these, with the other 74 available for market sale and the income used for new community and public spaces in Blackbird Leys Road.

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Several consultation events were held prior to the coronavirus lockdown, with the £100m project approved by city council chief executive Gordon Mitchell on March 31 after that month's full council meeting was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The council's development partner Catalyst Housing will announce the details for further consultation events shortly.

A planning application for the Knights Road site is set to be submitted next spring, with the aim to begin work in 2022.

Oxford is the least affordable place to live in the country, with 2,645 families on the waiting list for new social housing.