The £100m masterplan to redevelop Blackbird Leys has come under fire from residents over plans to build homes on green space.

Nearly 300 houses are planned for fields as part of the Oxford City Council’s scheme.

Now the council has invited people to share their concerns ahead of a series of online ‘webinar’ consultation events next week – and they have.

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The redevelopment plan proposes 281 new homes, including 167 for social rent and 74 for sale.

In total, 210 homes are planned in new blocks in the district centre, 13 of which would replace flats currently above the ‘top shops’, making 197 new homes.

The other 84 new homes would be built on a field between Knights Road and the Kassam Stadium, next to Spindleberry Nature Park, and it is this site that many are upset about.

Residents say this development would destroy precious green space, which is where many youngsters play football.

Oxford Mail:

Jane Lacey, 59, who lives near Knights Road, said: “It is totally the wrong place to build houses and I find it disgusting.

“There is a football pitch and exercise equipment. The council is calling it wasteland, but it is not.

“When my kids were little, they would go play over there because there are no busy roads, it is safe.

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“Asking children to cross major roads to access parks is unacceptable. We also have no need for private housing, social housing yes, but not private.”

Jenny Symonds, 60, said: “We don’t want these houses behind our houses because of the park.

“The people with the new houses will have all the views of green areas which we have now.

“The council does not listen to us. Every time we go to a pop-up there is a different representative, so there is no continuation.”

Oxford Mail:

Former Blackbird Leys parish councillor Mark Franks said the council had not proposed alternative recreation areas to replace the green space being lost.

He added: "If coronavirus has shown us anything it is that we need green spaces more than ever, there is a reason poor people are more likely to get coronavirus – they live in smaller houses and have smaller or no garden space at all."

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Blackbird Leys Parish Council chairman Robert Davies urged residents to take part in next week’s consultation events.

He went on: “Several residents I have spoken to have great concerns over the proposed 10-storey tower block of apartments in front of Evenlode Tower.

“Some commented that another high-rising tower could be a sight sore for the eyes.”

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Another Blackbird Leys resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "I do feel there does need to be regeneration, but not the massive tower block they want. It will look terrible.

"I know these concerns when Covid is about is not a priority, but if we don't say anything non-priorities go ahead and it's then too late to comment."

City councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery, said: "Oxford needs homes and the masterplan for Blackbird Leys would see the building of 281 new homes.

"Oxford needs homes and the masterplan for Blackbird Leys would see the building of 281 new homes. This includes 167 homes for social rent which will be genuinely affordable as they will be let at around 40 per cent of private rent levels in Oxford. Another 40 homes are expected to be shared ownership.

"In 2019 the median house price in Oxford was 12.55 times median earnings, and shared ownership provides people with a stake in their homes they would not be able to afford otherwise.

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"The proposed masterplan has been designed to enhance local biodiversity, green networks and green spaces across Blackbird Leys. We will deliver new accessible public spaces for play and recreation, and promote active and healthy lifestyles for residents of Blackbird Leys. The plan also includes indoor and outdoor public spaces that will offer the community high quality shared facilities that meet local need, including play space for children and young people. We are also improving the access and quality of existing spaces.

"These proposals do not include any demolition or destruction of the Spindleberry Park nature reserve. There may need to be some low impact work just inside the boundary together with improvements to Northfield Brook. This may involve some additional planting, and any work will be carefully planned with ecological consultants and council officers to ensure it does not harm the existing plants and wildlife.

"We have worked with Catalyst and their design team to listen to and act on the views of Blackbird Leys residents, community groups and businesses throughout the development process. The masterplan we are now consulting on is based on a year’s worth of engagement with the local community and includes changes made in response to initial feedback. Together we will continue to make further improvements as a result of the feedback we are getting now.

"Early next year we will launch another round of consultation on proposals for retail spaces and the community centre. Catalyst expects to submit a planning application next spring and there will be further consultation with local residents when this happens."

Next week's online 'webinar' events will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

To find out more and register to take part, go to