Cabinet response to recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee made on 03/03/2020 concerning the Blackbird Leys Development Project.

Response provided by Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing, Councillor Mike Rowley





1)    That the Council asks Catalyst Housing Limited to complete the Council’s social value procurement paperwork and to agree for its undertakings to be included within the Stage Two Gateway proposals.




The Council has asked Catalyst who have agreed in principle and we will work with Catalyst to generate a Social Value strategy moving forward.

2)    That the Council:

a)    consults extensively on the adequacy of its alternative provision for current activities at the Community Centre during the decant period, to ensure that the new centre will continue to support the community as part of a wider healthy place making agenda

b)   invests the time and resources to develop the social capital required to enable community-management of the Community Centre to be a viable operating model.










The Cabinet report identifies this work will be included as detailed in the section on Stakeholder Engagement





Boosting social capital of residents and local organisations is definitely planned for as we move forward however, no decision has been taken on future management options and the final choice of business model will need to be agreed at a later stage

3.  That in the detailed design phase of the project the Council requires that Catalyst Housing Limited includes the following within the Stage Two Gateway proposals:

a)    Passivhaus standards of insulation and air-tightness





b)   Appointing a suitably experience sustainable construction consultant to advise on best practice for  delivering homes at Passivhaus standards at construction prices at or below those for Building Regulations

c)    A ‘comfort payment’ system similar to that from Nottingham City Homes as a means of closing any viability gaps related to the cost of delivering Passivhaus standards

d)   The appointment of a biodiversity partner to advise on and monitor actions to support ecological mitigations to the development.


























Provision has been made for compliance with the emerging Local Plan requirements however we will continue to look at further options to improve standards in line with the overall budget envelope



The Catalyst team already includes a sustainability consultant with Passivhaus experience




Catalyst is unable to agree as they do not have the financial systems to support this and it is not part of the current Development Agreement


Catalyst team already includes an environmental consultant who will advise on biodiversity as part of their environmental impact assessment