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Building work starts on redevelopment of East Oxford Community Centre

Construction work to deliver a new community centre and social housing in East Oxford began this week (12 March). 

The £5.4m redevelopment of East Oxford Community Centre will create a modern, accessible, purpose-built centre with a lower carbon footprint. 

The project will see: 

The Old School building on the corner of Cowley Road and Princes Street completely refurbished, improving the performance of the building itself, to create a new kitchen, new toilets and more flexible community spaces 

The Fusion Arts buildings demolished, making space for a low-carbon three-storey building that will house these groups and future users 

Over recent months, contractor ODS has been clearing and preparing the site for work, including removing asbestos and demolishing ageing buildings that were no longer safe. ODS will construct the new community centre. 

New council homes 

The site will also see OX Place, on behalf of the Council, develop 12 energy efficient flats for social rent next door to the community centre in Princes Street.  

This will provide one- and two-bedroom council flats in a great location, with a hub of activities and community support on their doorstep.  

In Oxford, social rent is typically around 40% of equivalent private rents. 

Collins Street 

In April, work will also start at the related site in Collins Street. The work will see OX Place build 14 new homes for shared ownership. 

The sale of the new homes on both sites will help fund the East Oxford Community Centre redevelopment. 

Next steps 

The East Oxford Community Centre redevelopment and new council homes are expected to be completed by summer 2025. 

The new shared ownership homes in Collins Street will also be completed by summer 2025. 

Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member Housing and Community Centres, said:  

 “I’m so proud to see this project to deliver new, modern facilities for east Oxford’s communities kick off. East Oxford is one of the most diverse areas of our city, and the community centre is such an important hub at its heart. The new centre will bring a number of great facilities and benefits for the community, and we look forward to welcoming existing and new users.” 

Simon Howick, Managing Director, ODS said: 

“ODS is pleased to lead on the redevelopment of East Oxford Community Centre, which will make a real difference for the community. Through careful planning and execution, we are enhancing the existing infrastructure and adapting the building to make the most of communal spaces where the community can gather, connect, and thrive.  

With a focus on sustainability, modern amenities and flexible spaces, ODS is set to construct a vibrant hub that will enrich the local community and stand as a testament to our commitment to excellence.” 

Helen Horne, Managing Director, OX Place, said:

“Our mission is to deliver design-led, sustainable and most of all affordable homes for the people of Oxford. Cowley Road is the beating heart of East Oxford and it’s an honour to be helping Oxford City Council deliver 12 new council homes and 14 shared ownership homes here. We can't wait to get started.”