OXFORD’S largest development in a generation could get under way as early as this year, it has been revealed.
The number of homes on the development has been reduced from an initial plan for 1,200, but 40 per cent will be affordable.
A new primary school, park, retail space, a potential hotel, community sports pavilion, two children’s play areas, communal gardens, allotments, and an adult sports pitch will also be included in the long-awaited development.
A controversial crossing across the A40 into Northway has also been included, though it will only be for buses and emergency vehicles.
City council leader Bob Price said: “This is a major step towards the creation of an enlarged Barton community, providing much-needed homes for rent and for purchase, together with the social, retail and community facilities that will complement existing Barton facilities.
“Great care is being taken with the design of the new homes and their link to the parks and green areas within and at the edge of the development.”
A government planning inspector gave her approval to the 38-hectare site west of Barton after an inquiry last year.
Developer Grosvenor has been working with the city council on designing the new development.
Barton West, which is described as a “garden suburb”, will be made up of three “neighbourhoods”; a high density one near the shop made up of apartments and townhouses; a “central core” of medium density; and a low density neighbourhood of detached family homes.
Ed Skeates, Grosvenor’s project director, said: “What we are aiming for in Barton is a traditional form in the shape of the houses, with pitched roofs and chimneys, but with a contemporary style to them.
“There have been some changes through the consultation process such as how the school and sports pavilion link into existing Barton.”
He said the suburb had been inspired by developments in European cities such as Freiburg and as a result would look “verdant and green”.
Mr Skeats said that preparation work on the site could begin this year with house building starting early in 2014 and people moving in in 2015.
Barton resident Rachael Peace, 35, said: “It would be good if they could get in place some kind of local job training scheme to benefit residents while they are building there so they can do on-the-job training. We hope it is all going to be one community and nothing that is built or planned makes life difficult for the current population.”
Sue Holden, of Barton Community Association, said: “We fully support the building of new homes.
“We are looking to work in partnership with the city council so we can get the best deal for everybody, both the existing residents and the new residents.”
But city councillor Mick Haines, who represents Marston, said: “The traffic situation is horrific with the rat-running through Old Marston and Marsh Lane and this development is going to make Marston a lot worse.”
The city council had hoped to transform the A40 into a “boulevard” by having homes face onto it and reducing the speed limit to 40mph.
However, planning inspector Shelagh Bussey put a halt to these plans on safety grounds, following concerns from Thames Valley Police.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW
Oxford City Council expects to make a decision on the Barton West planning application in September.
Parts of the site will then be sold to developers who will have to stick to the design code drawn up by Grosvenor and the city council.
This design code will dictate what the homes can look like and what materials they can be made from.
Developers will have to seek more detailed planning permission for each of their plots before they can built.
People are expected to move into Barton West from 2015.
May 2009: Land west of Barton is earmarked for 1,000 homes as part of the South East Plan, a blueprint for development in the region over the next two decades
June 2010: Oxford City Council begins consulting on the proposal
November 2010: Transforming the A40 into a “boulevard” is first suggested
April 2011: The city council unveils the details of the proposals including homes facing on to the ring road, which would have reduced speed limits
June 2011: A consultation into the plans begins
December 2011: Oxford City Council formally agrees to go ahead with the development at a full council meeting, paving the way for a government inspector to look into it
May 2012: A date for the Barton West inquiry is set, with Dr Shelagh Bussey the government inspector looking into the plans
July 2012: As the inquiry approaches, Thames Valley Police warns the council’s bid to lower the speed limit on the A40 to 40mph would be dangerous
July 2012: The Barton West inquiry takes place but the city council has to drop its “boulevard” plans after Dr Bussey expresses concerns
November 2012: Dr Bussey approves the Barton West scheme