IT could be a close call for a vote to choose the colour of two Blackbird Leys tower blocks that are getting a makeover.

Windrush and Evenlode Tower residents got to choose from red, green and blue schemes for the outside of the tower blocks on Thursday. The chosen colours will go on the balconies, while the main towers will be painted white and grey.

It was part Oxford City Council's final consultation meeting for the £18.36m redesign of the city’s five blocks.

The results of the votes will be collected by the end of August, when the council will submit a planning application for the five towers.

Work will begin next spring, but it is not yet known in what order the towers will be worked on.


  • The three options

They are the final designs after residents disapproved of the original purple and green colour schemes.

Evenlode Tower’s Noreen Scott, 75 said: “I’m choosing the red one, because I think it’s nice and bright.

“We could do with a bit of cheering up around here.”

But neighbour Pamela Hurn, 76, said: “I don’t like the yellow on that option.

“Blue is the best because its a nicer colour."”

Windrush Tower’s Jan McKay, a retired cook, said: “I like the blues. I think they’re lovely because they’re the council’s colours.”

Visitors also got to see a small-scale model of the windows that will be installed on the balconies.

The large glass panes will fill the space between the coloured metal panel and the ceiling, creating a conservatory-like space.

As well as being able to open the windows outwards, residents will also be able to pull all of the panes to one side and open them inwards.

This will expose the balcony to the elements and makes the windows easy to clean.

The glass exterior will also feature in the new lobbies, which will also have bike racks inside.

Windrush Tower resident Michael Hesmer, 65, said: “I don’t like that. I don’t want my guests traipsing past a load of bikes.

“They should just keep on using the sheds for the bikes. I doubt it will stay nice and neat like that forever.”

Andrew Loader, business development manager at Windoor UK, which will install the new balconies, said: “Most balconies in the UK are under used because of the climate.

“This means they will be used a lot more because you can keep out the wind and rain and pigeons.

“It’s totally flexible. It means you can get ventilation in the summer, which is vital.”

Final designs were unveiled last week for Oxford’s other three towers, Plowman Tower, Headington; Foresters Tower, Wood Farm and Hockmore Tower in Cowley.

They will also get new exteriors, lobbies and balconies. All five towers will get new roofs, insulation, fire safety systems, and improved parking and bin facilities.

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