What on earth is going on at Blackbird Leys Park?

The pile of soil removed for construction of a swimming pool at Blackbird Leys. Picture: OX66272 Damian Halliwell

The pile of soil removed for construction of a swimming pool at Blackbird Leys. Picture: OX66272 Damian Halliwell Buy this photo

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

BLACKBIRD Leys Park will be given a new look under plans to be considered by councillors tomorrow.

Oxford City Council’s proposals include new trees, picnic area and pathway across the park and a fitness trail with exercise stations.

Four small mounds of up to 75cm in height, which will be built using earth excavated from a swimming pool extension to Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre, are also planned.

Two will be at the south west of the park by the new pool and the others to the north west boundary by Oxford and Cherwell Valley College.

Already, 2,500 tonnes have been transferred to create a new green at Hinksey outdoor pool off Abingdon Road in South Oxford.

The trail and other improvements are part of a £160,000 programme in partnership with Groundwork South to deliver five fitness trails across the city. Planning officers said in the report: “The mounds would help screen the park from the college buildings. Similarly they would also have some benefit in terms of providing features for the proposed fitness trail and exercise stations that are to be located within the park.”

The mounds are to “improve the general landscape framework and infrastructure of Blackbird Leys Park”.

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Cowley Marsh Park has already undergone a transformationwith a 1km fitness trail and exercise stations, which were unveiled in January.

Each station has signs showing people how to use the equipment and distance markers along the routes help to measure a run.

Chairman of Blackbird Leys Parish Council Gordon Roper said: “It sounds like a good idea but I haven’t seen the plans. We’ve got to get rid of the dirt somehow, it’s all about sustainability.”

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Gordon Roper

Only the mounds need planning permission but the other proposals will be discussed by councillors.

Planning officers have recommended the plans be approved by the city council’s east area planning committee. Members will meet at 6pm in the town hall in St Aldate’s.

Work on the £7.2m swimming pool and leisure centre is continuing and is expected to be completed in December.

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