A PIONEERING trial that uses poles to indicate the height of controversial building plans is set to go ahead in Oxford.

A trial of the Swiss-style system for proposed homes in Cutteslowe – a UK first – has been success, an Oxford City Council planning officer said.

The technique – using poles topped with horizontal markers – was suggested in the wake of a row over student flats.

Controversy was sparked over Oxford University’s student blocks in Roger Dudman Way when it emerged that they had blocked views of “dreaming spires” from Port Meadow.

Since then, the city council has carried out an independent review into its planning processes and been taken – unsuccessfully – to the High Court.

The poles were tested on plans for six houses and 11 flats at a former TA cadets building at Elsfield Hall, in Elsfield Way, Cutteslowe.

A council planning officer said: “The pilot in this case was successful.

“The use of poles would depend on the circumstances of the site, the proposal. and the willingness of applicants.”

The Cutteslowe plan will be put to the west area planning committee for a decision tomorrow at the Town Hall in St Aldate’s at 6.30pm.

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