In collaboration with our client Peabody, JTP is thrilled to have achieved unanimous planning approval for our estate regeneration at Blackbird Leys in Oxford.
A joint venture between Oxford City Council and Peabody, Blackbird Leys will feature 294 affordable, low-energy homes in a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments, and two and three bedroom houses across two sites. All dwellings are 100% affordable with 59% provided for social and affordable rent and 41% for shared ownership. Overall 92% of apartments benefit from dual or triple aspect outlook and the regeneration also minimises demolition, with only 19 existing flats to be rebuilt.
The new homes knit into the established street structure, repairing the incomplete and fragmented urban grain of the existing sites. In line with Passive House standards and a fabric-first approach, homes are designed to be inherently ultra-low in energy use employing measures to maximise building performance, reduce heating demand and minimise the cost of bills for future residents.
Alongside new affordable homes, the District Centre proposals will house a new community centre, over 1,000m2 of new retail spaces, a large public square, extensive public realm upgrades and road improvements. These improvements include 480m of new dedicated cycle lanes which will create safe and sustainable travel links through Blackbird Leys.
The project rethinks the importance of spaces and redefines spatial priorities – demoting the car, enhancing pedestrian experience, planting trees and introducing greenery – whilst helping to celebrate and recognise the established community. Over 5,000m2 of green public open space will be provided alongside enhancements to Northfield Brook and Spindleberry Nature Reserve.
Pairing JTP’s pioneering community engagement approach with Peabody’s established presence in the community, the Blackbird Leys proposals were developed with continuous and active engagement spanning across several years. From March 2019, JTP commenced an extensive community engagement and outreach programme to encourage participation from all members of the community to shape the proposals and regeneration every step of the way.
This process also targeted hard to reach groups with the design team holding Young People’s Workshops with local schools – Mabel Pritchard School and Windale Primary School – to work with schoolchildren to encourage them to bring their ideas and vision into the design proposals. In total, over 15 events were held with the wider community, with over 2,000 people attending or providing written feedback throughout the process.
In the next steps for the project, JTP will be designing the Blackbird Leys Community Centre for which the detailed planning application will be submitted in January 2024.
Our team is incredibly proud to celebrate Blackbird Leys securing unanimous approval which is a fantastic accomplishment for everyone involved. The project has been on a tremendous journey over the last five years including a truly extensive community engagement process which has been fundamental in guiding the design process. The proposals will deliver huge physical, social and economic change to Blackbird Leys, benefitting both existing and future residents and we look forward to the seeing the project come to life.
Ian Fenn, Partner at JTP