Oxford City Council has appointed Catalyst Housing Ltd to take forward the master-planning and development of council-owned sites in Blackbird Leys and deliver a new district centre, new homes – including affordable homes – and new community facilities.
The Council and Catalyst Housing Ltd will now enter into a development agreement. The first task for Catalyst Housing Ltd will be to lead a master-planning process with the local community and local stakeholders. This work will shape the appropriate scheme and determine suitable investment levels. A planning application will then be brought forward, after which Catalyst Housing Ltd will take the project into the delivery phase.
Previous feasibility work has highlighted the opportunity for the council-owned sites at the district centre and at Knights Road to provide improved community and retail facilities, upgrades to the public realm and also provide about 300 new homes. In line with the council’s planning policy, 50 per cent of the homes will be affordable, including some for social rent.
Councillor Linda Smith, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council, said:
“I’m delighted to welcome Catalyst Housing Ltd as the council’s development partner to take forward this much anticipated regeneration project. In the first instance, they will start the process of engaging community and resident groups to determine the best ways to speak with the local community and make sure everyone is given a chance to be heard. We’d like to establish community and resident groups who will work with us and the development partner to contribute design ideas and inform this project.
“As the landlord to the retail tenants at the district centre, the Council will lead the discussions with businesses as to their needs in the new development. We will also engage residential tenants and leaseholders in one to one meetings to understand their housing needs and ensure they are not adversely affected by any proposals. The Council offers its reassurance that no proposals will come forward until concerns have been listened to and fully taken into account in the planning process.”
Rod Cahill, Chief Executive of Catalyst, said:
“We are delighted to have been selected as the city council’s development partner on this exciting project, and are committed to working with them and the local community to deliver more, much-needed, housing in Oxford.
“Catalyst has a long history of working in Oxford. We already own and manage over 600 homes in Blackbird Leys and support a range of community initiatives, and are looking forward to using our regeneration skills and experience to provide new homes, shops and community facilities there.”
The Council is inviting locals who want to get involved to contact its project team by email on bblregen(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)oxford.gov.uk.