PLANS to open a new secondary school in Oxford by September 2018 have been thrown into doubt after an MP raised new concerns.

The Swan School – which would have 880 pupils – is reportedly earmarked for the Harlow Centre in Marston.

But Oxford East MP Andrew Smith has written to Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to urge them not to allow any application that would increase traffic around nearby St Nicholas Primary School.

City councillor Mary Clarkson said she has been told planning officers at the local authority also have worries.

Mr Smith said: "There is a lot of concern in Old Marston about the traffic impact on any school provision on this site, as residents already suffer enormous traffic pressure.

"I have taken up these concerns with the highway and planning authorities [the county council and city council respectively].

"A number of parents in the area are also very concerned to see more secondary school provision, as they are no longer able to get places at Cherwell or Cheney, but the right site needs to be found for it."

Osney Mead was previously pegged as a possibly location for he school but it is believed uncertainty surrounding its proposed redevelopment has ruled it out.

County councillor and education expert Professor John Howson said the concerns raised by Mr Smith and others made it extremely unlikely the school would be ready by its proposed opening date of September 2018.

He said: "The problem is that we are now moving towards a point where the city needs a new school.

"But it seems to me that we are running out of options.

"I cannot see it opening in 2018.

"If that is the site where it is going to go then the Education Funding Agency and everybody else must get together and make sure it is ready to go by 2019 by the absolute latest."

The Swan School would be a free school run by The River Learning Trust –formerly The Cherwell School Academy Trust.

Its original opening date was September 2017 but this was pushed back by a year because a suitable site could not be found.

City councillor for Marston Mary Clarkson and Old Marston parish councillor Tony Greenfield said they both understood the preferred site was now at the Harlow Centre.

Ms Clarkson added: "The Education Funding Agency has made it quite clear that the site at the Harlow Centre is their preferred one.

"Our planners have seen the site and they have quite a few concerns about it, not least with access.

"They could come up with something that works better for all pupils and parents, it is very frustrating.

"Residents are genuinely worried and have every right to be."

Mr Greenfield added: "The school would have a big impact on the whole area but nobody has any idea about what it will entail.

"The roads are already horrendous around here and to build a school possibly bringing hundreds of cars will be even worse."

The River Learning Trust didn't respond to requests for a comment.