Huntingdon’s Oxmoor estate - shedding its reputation.
OXMOOR. Built in the 1960s to �accommodate the housing overspill from London.
It was deemed to be a “logical, convenient and desirable conception of town planning”, but by 2004 the figures told a different story.
The Index of Multiple Deprivation ranked parts of Oxmoor in the 10 per cent most deprived areas of Cambridgeshire and the East of England.
A lack of investment in facilities and �services in 1970s and 1980s saw the area get a reputation for crime and anti-social �behaviour.
But investment in the area and hard work by some of the people who live there are �turning around the reputation and its �unsavoury image.
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Mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Alan Mackender-Lawrence, who is involved with the Oxmoor Community Association and the Medway Centre, said: “Oxmoor is doing very well considering where it has come from.
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“It has received awards from East Anglia in Bloom and continues to try hard. We now have a lower crime rate in relation to other areas in the county and this has been achieved by a strong partnership between the police, Luminus, who own a lot of the social housing, and the neighbourhood monitoring team.”
Mr Mackender-Lawrence, who lives on Oxmoor, said he agreed with Cambridgeshire County Council leader Nick Clarke, that some areas are victim of appalling prejudice. “My wife feels perfectly safe walking to and from work all year round, and there’s a lot of good work going on here.”
Huntingdon town councillor Patrick Kadewere, who runs the Unity in the Community event, held every year on Oxmoor, felt there was still a long way to go before Oxmoor could really shed its reputation, but said: “It’s changing. Crime was very high at one point and it has definitely started to fall since we’ve been bringing people together through community projects and working more closely with the police.
“But there is still a problem with some people who arrive on the estate and who don’t understand what we are trying to do. They sometimes cause problems.”
Mr Kadawere said he believed it would be another five years before the estate would be entirely problem-free, but said that with the right kind of support it could be achieved.
Long-time Oxmoor resident, Richard Meredith, 56, of Sallowbush Road, whose 85-year-old mother Gladys was one of Oxmoor’s first inhabitants in 1961, said the area had an unjust reputation.
“Just because Oxmoor’s had some problems in the past people think it’s still the same today,” he said.
“I look out of my window and it’s full of green. There’s a lovely community here – a superb social mix of people who get on together.”
Insp Ian Ford, sector inspector of Huntingdon, said: “There is a lot of social housing in the Oxmoor and there are issues associated with that, but there has been a lot of good work done over the past few years.”
n Read Insp Ford’s Hunts Post blog. Go to www.huntspost24.co.uk and click on the Hunts Life tab at the top of the page.