A TEAM racing to keep the Swan School on track for 2019 opening face a make-or-break hurdle tonight.

The future of the 1,260-pupil Oxford secondary school now rests with a council committee, which will reconsider plans tonight to build the academy on a controversial site in Marston.

It is a second chance for the River Learning Trust, which will run the school, to gain planning permission after it was refused last month.

Marston parents gave in a petition at Oxford Town Hall on Friday, which has gained almost 1,100 signatures, pushing for its approval.

One supporter who signed on the petition, Sarah Newey, wrote: "Oxford families desperately need this school and it is a travesty that the committee went against the advice of the planning and education experts."

Supporters believe the Swan School is the only solution to a shortfall in secondary places from next September, but some Marston residents argue the location will cause traffic chaos.

Last month an Oxford City Council planning committee turned down plans to build the Swan School in place of the Harlow Centre, off Marston Ferry Road, citing Green Belt and safety concerns about the access road.

The decision defied advice from the council's own planning officers and was consequently 'called in'.

At 6pm tonight at Oxford Town Hall, the council's planning review committee will either uphold or overturn that decision.

Opposers of the Swan School site have gathered 400 signatures on their own petition, arguing that the location is unsuitable.

Key concerns include congestion, parking on nearby roads, and the fact that the vehicular access cuts across the much-used Marston Ferry Road cycle track.

Residents carried out their own survey on July 18 which counted 584 cyclists and pedestrians using the track near the proposed site, between 7.30am and 9.15am.

On October 2 they recorded, between 8.10am and 9.05am, almost 1,000 cars travelling in either direction on the road near the school site.

Marston resident Tony Greenfield said he is not against a school, but believes there must be a better site.

He added that Marston is forecast much fewer new homes than neighbouring areas such as Barton.

He said: "Building a school in Marston to address the short term demand of local’s first choice in secondary school would not solve Oxford’s need for more secondary school places where housing growth is planned, and future need will be."

Tomorrow Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet is set to agree 'a revised programme of transfer of assets' to the Government, to ensure the creation of more school places in 2019.

Delivery of places hinges on the Swan School opening on time, and the group responsible for overseeing and funding free schools - the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) - has requested that the council amends its agreement to keep delivery on track.

Public documents circulated ahead of the cabinet meeting state: "The [Swan School] project programme has slipped considerably but the stated aim is still to provide the required basic need places required for September 2019 in Oxford.

"The ESFA team leading the project have indicated that a revised programme of transfer of assets from the council will be required to ensure the need for places in 2019 can be met."

Details of the amended transfer have been deemed 'commercially sensitive' and will be discussed and decided by councillors in private.

In February 2017, the cabinet agreed to sell the Harlow Centre site to the Department for Education for £1 and contribute up to £2m towards construction of the school, subject to conditions.