Oxford is still a “tale of two cities” said councillors after a damning survey exposed stark inequalities between the poorest and wealthiest areas.

In the first residents' survey since 2016/17, respondents from the most deprived area of Oxford - the South East - were more pessimistic about where they live, anti-social behaviour, and the economy than people from other parts of the city.

The Oxford City Council survey, which has been exclusively shared with the Oxford Mail, has prompted calls for greater investment in the city's poorest areas.

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The city council has ploughed millions into the South East, which includes Blackbird Leys, Littlemore, Northfield Brook, Rose Hill and Iffley.

But councillors said the new survey showed more should be done to "level up" the city.

Oxford Mail: Blackbird Leys and other areas of South East Oxford are among the most deprived areas in EnglandBlackbird Leys and other areas of South East Oxford are among the most deprived areas in England (Image: Ed Nix)

Oxford Mail: Blackbird Leys and other areas of South East Oxford are among the most deprived areas in England

Oxford Mail: Blackbird Leys and other areas of South East Oxford are among the most deprived areas in England

“The difference between the north of the city and the south is shocking,” said Shaista Aziz, a city councillor for Rose Hill and Iffley.

“This information should not come as a surprise, but it should act as a further catalyst for this inequality to be tackled.

“A lot of work needs to be done on this and we can’t have continuing inequality for our residents.

“It shows that Oxford is still a tale of two cities.”

The city council has invested millions into the city’s most deprived communities, including Barton, Rose Hill, Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys.

This included £9m on the Leys Pools and Leisure Centre, which opened in 2015, £5m on Rose Hill Community Centre, which opened in 2016, and £1m on Barton Neighbourhood Centre, which Prince Harry opened in 2019.

But less than half of South East folk are satisfied with where they live, according to the new survey, compared to 84 per cent in North Oxford, one of the city’s most affluent areas.

They had the most negative view on the state of the economy and the least confidence in the police and council’s ability to tackle anti-social behaviour.

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And a lower percentage believed that people from different ethnic backgrounds get on well.

Ms Aziz said the latter figure was “really troubling especially as there is an international crisis at the moment in Gaza.

"That is something that needs to be focused on.”

She said the city council needed to invest more funds into these deprived communities, and her calls were echoed by other councillors in the area.

Oxford Mail: Councillor Rae Humberstone said there were 'major concerns' in Blackbird Leys

Rae Humberstone said Blackbird Leys, the ward he represents on the city council, had been “disproportionately affected” by the cost of living crisis.

He said: “The ever increasing rises in energy bills is one of the effects of the crisis that is causing major concerns in our community.”

Trish Elphinstone, an Oxfordshire county councillor for Rose Hill and Littlemore, said people in her ward were “struggling to make ends meet”.

She added that police presence needed to improve to discourage anti-social behaviour.

“It’s having enough police to match the problems in the area,” she said. “There needs to be more presence on our streets.

“There are issues around drug taking and anti-social motorbike usage.

"It’s the feeling of wanting to be safe that needs to improve.”

The city council said the results of its survey would be used to help develop council services in the future.

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Cabinet member Nigel Chapman said: “Our residents panel survey shows that overall Oxford’s residents are satisfied with Oxford as a place to live and our work as the council.

“However, we can clearly see that Oxford remains a city of two halves, with residents reporting key differences in experiences across the city.

“These latest survey results allow us to understand these differences and how we can continue to work to address them in the future.

“The council’s policies to build more genuinely affordable housing (council housing and shared ownership housing), help local residents impacted by the cost of living and to do more to tackle climate change are in line with residents’ responses.

“It is not surprising that residents who are most impacted by the cost of living are most pessimistic about the city’s economy.

“However, the city’s economy is doing remarkably well, particularly in comparison with other parts of the county, region and country.”

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