AN OLD swimming pool in Blackbird Leys could be knocked down to make way for a new community centre.

In August, a land deal was brokered which meant that Oxfordshire County Council would sell three plots to Oxford City Council.

The city council plans to build houses on two of the plots of land, and signed off the funding for this in early October.

READ AGAIN about that £31m land deal here

But the third plot of land, the old swimming pool building in Blackbird Leys, was not mentioned when the land deal was agreed.

Now, a spokesman for the council has confirmed it is still planning to buy the building from the county.

They said: "Terms have been agreed with county for the swimming pool site, which is being acquired as part of the Blackbird Leys regeneration and will form part of the site for the new community centre."

A scheme to regenerate Blackbird Leys has been in the offing for years, with its most recent incarnation beginning in 2017.

The city council wants to knock down part of the district's 'top shops' area, alongside flats and an existing community centre.


Blackbird Leys shops, taken from the roof of the Evenlode Tower. Picture: Cliff Hide

These would then be replaced by 203 affordable homes built, as well as shops and community buildings in the same place.

A further 74 homes would be built on the western edge of Blackbird Leys at Knights Road on land currently used as a playing field.

It agreed an extra £21.5m towards this project earlier this year during the lockdown.

ALSO READ: New traffic wardens could soon stop Oxfordshire's bad parking offenders

But now, the old swimming pools could be added to the scheme to regenerate the district centre.

The pools building is currently used by the Oxfordshire Scouts as a base, but could be cleared alongside the current community centre to make way for a much larger facility.


Outline drawings of some of the Blackbird Leys regeneration work. Picture: Oxford City Council.

The council-backed regeneration scheme is not the only plan which could transform the centre of Blackbird Leys in coming years.

Next door to the community centre and old pool building is the Church of the Holy Family, which is also set to be knocked down.

The 1960s-built church is due to be demolished and replaced with flats and a community-use hall despite outcry from a group of campaigners who wanted to see the building saved.

The other two sites which Oxford City Council has agreed to buy from the county council are plots of land in Littlemore.

These plots: an old depot on Lanham Way and a playing field next to the Northfield House hostel, could provide room for as many as 66 homes.

The city council agreed to buy them both as part of a £31m revision to its housing budget earlier this month, with most of the costs covered by borrowing money from public lenders.