'Tired' East Oxford community centre to be redeveloped

Image source, Oxford City Council
Image caption,
An artist impression of the new buildings at East Oxford Community Centre, with the current building towards on the left

Plans to redevelop an "exhausted" community centre and build new homes have been approved.

Oxford city councillors voted to extend and refurbish East Oxford Community Centre off Cowley Road.

The £3.8m project includes demolishing a neighbouring Chinese Advice Centre and the Fusion Arts building for block of 12 flats in Princes Street.

Plans were also passed to demolish nearby East Oxford Games Hall for a four-storey block of 14 flats.

Council officer Hagan Lewisman said at the decision meeting on Tuesday the council had "worked very hard to make sure the plans are inclusive and that they respect the local architecture and heritage".

Image source, Nick Macneill
Image caption,
Old extensions to the original building will be demolished for new flats to be built

During a consultation on the community centre plans, the Chinese Advice Centre, East Oxford Community Association and Fusion Arts all submitted objections.

The community association said the consultation process was "inadequate, unrepresentative and incomplete" and raised concerns the development would "marginalise community and campaigning groups".

The council said while the advice centre and arts building would be demolished, the redeveloped community centre would be able to house the businesses.

Oxford Civic Society said the scheme would solve "two major issues" in refurbishing the "tired community centre" and making sure the original school building, built in 1866, was retained.

At the community centre site, 12 one and two-bedroom flats will be rented out as new council homes, while the 14 flats on the land of the disused games hall in Collins Street will be sold under a shared-ownership scheme, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.