MEMBERS of the public have expressed concerns that they will have to 'bear the burden’ of the Blackbird Leys regeneration plans.

Members of the public and councillors were asked to express concerns about the project at a parish council meeting on Tuesday night.

Oxford City Council and housing association Catalyst are aiming to submit their plans for approval in 2021.

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One resident at the meeting said he was concerned about the number of new residents that would be living in the new flats, which would result in the loss of community space.

He said: “We understand the need for housing in Oxford, you can’t fail to spot that, but it does seem that this estate is asked to bear a large burden and I’d ask what are we getting for it? We get a reduced community space.

“There is something about this being done to us, rather than done for us.”

Roo Humpherson, regeneration manager at Oxford City Council, said he wanted to make it clear that, although some green space was being lost, the nature park would ‘not be touched’.

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He added: “We need to strike a balance between what we would be allowed to do, how we can get support financially for the development and what is right to improve the estate.

“It is a balance. I appreciate some people are unhappy, but I would like to stress this is being done with us taking comments on board whenever I can.”

Another member of the public, Sasha East, said she was concerned that the new housing would not be for local, Blackbird Leys residents.

Ms East said: “We need housing in Oxford but many of my friends who live in Blackbird Leys, their family members have had to move out to places like Didcot or Banbury because we are not able to provide accommodation in our city for local people.”

Another person raised the same point, asking ‘will Blackbird Leys residents who actually need housing get priority over everyone else?’

Mr Humpherson said housing allocation was decided in due course by the council.

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Parish councillor Imade Edosomwan expressed his own concerns about the redevelopment. He said: “The question I keep asking myself is 'what benefit would this new development bring to the community?'

“What exactly can it provide for the younger generation as they grow up on the estate?”

Mr Humpherson said that all these comments would be passed onto the project team, adding that comments made in previous consultations affected the architects' master plan.

In previous consultations, residents expressed concerns about the views from the Evenlode Tower being ‘blocked’ by the new flats.

To tackle this issue the regeneration design was changed. Mr Humpherson added: “We moved the building away from Evenlode and altered the height so no view was obstructed.”