COUNCILLOR Linda Smith, responsible for the Blackbird Leys ward, has shared her thoughts on the Blackbird Leys regeneration project.

The project is a £100 million redevelopment that will bring new shop and community facilities to ‘the heart’ of Blackbird Leys.

The redevelopment will also bring at least 250 new homes to the area.

Read also: Where is the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine made?

Councillor Smith said the project was ‘absolutely’ a positive for Blackbird Leys.

She said: “The main reason why I think it is needed, in my opinion, is for the new homes we are providing.

“It is not actually accurate to be described as a regeneration scheme as most of Blackbird Leys won’t change; the district centre will change and there will be the new absolutely fantastic community centre, that will do so much, but we also need affordable homes.

“There will be 300 homes on the estate that will be genuinely affordable to those on the council’s waiting list, and this is why I want to see this progress as soon as possible.”

Read here: When should schools open?

The redevelopment is part of the The Strategic Economic Plan for Oxfordshire, to help with growth across the county.

Councillor Smith added: “There are too many grown-ups living at home with their parents who can’t afford to move out.

“We need to sort this.”

A lot of the concerns raised about the housing project are to do with the loss of green spaces around Knights Road and in Spindleberry Park.

Councillor Smith said on this matter: “I don’t think there is widespread concern about the project, but people who live on Knights Road, are worried about the grass surrounding them where the houses will be built.

“They are concerned, and I totally understand that, when you build a new development where there is open land it is not unusual for neighbours to be concerned.

“So the job the council has to do is try to make sure the development is the best it can be from their point of view and that is what has been happening at the consultations.”

The councillor reinforced that several changes have already been made since previous consultations, including changing the proposed four-story flat blocks into two story houses.

She added: “I think there is a bit of lack of understanding about what is proposed.

“The area where the pond is, the wooded area, is unaffected.

“Residents will be able to walk through the development to get to Fry’s Hill park, which is a great park, and is only moments away.

“There is talk of putting bridges across the brook as well, which will make the park even closer.”

Another cause for concern residents have mentioned is the redevelopment of the community centre.

Locals are particularly concerned about the ‘reduced size’ of the centre.

Councillor Smith said: “I’m hearing more and more, people worried about the size of the new community centre, saying it’s going to be smaller than the existing community centre, but there is a lot of space in the community centre that is not used at the moment, it’s used as offices.

“We don’t need to provide that office space or the sports hall on the top floor as we now have the amazing leisure centre in Blackbird Leys.”

The councillor said the council is working specifically with clubs still using the community centre sportshall. Questions can be emailed to

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or 01865 425 445.