‘ANNOYED’ residents who battled to save treasured green space from city council expansion have been forced to relaunch their fight two years on.

Oxford City Council first revealed its plans to fence off a slice of Cowley Marsh Recreational Ground to extend its direct services depot and create 2,400sq m of temporary storage space in 2015.

But residents were taken aback after discovering the council had revived its proposals for the Marsh Road site this year.

Judith Harley, of the Old Temple Cowley Residents’ Association, said the group united to deliver 1,500 leaflets calling on families to fight proposals to stretch out the depot into the park’s wildflower meadow and former children’s play area, as well expand an existing car park into the playing field.

She urged supporters to voice concerns before the May 18 deadline, adding: “Much to our annoyance, it’s come back again. The loss of protected open space just shouldn’t happen. Even for a temporary period, that is just not acceptable.”

More than 110 people have already aired their views about the plans, which the council claims is needed to cope with increasing demand for services.

The depot is the ‘operational hub’ for recycling and refuse, street scene, highways and engineering, motor transport and is the central fuelling point for all city council vehicles.

The temporary measure, for up to five years, would see storage for extra wheelie bins for garden waste and dry recycling, as well as emergency response equipment and vehicles, the council said in its design and access statement.

Executive director for sustainable city Tim Sadler said the council must respond to the ‘changing and growing needs’ of the city. He added: “The depot was opened in the 1970s when households had one bin for refuse collection compared to the three bins for refuse, food waste and recycling that they have now.

“We have to keep stocks of each. On top of this, the city has developed with an increasing number of homes and businesses, meaning the depot is under pressure for space to accommodate the increased demand for our services.”

Mr Sadler went on to say there has been a ‘substantial increase’ in storage required for equipment and materials to keep the city moving in adverse weather, such as floods and plummeting temperatures.

He added: “We have looked at a number of potential sites but this is the most cost effective for our operations and takes up a small and under-used portion of the park.

“The planning application goes further than previous applications as we propose some enhancements to the park including the car parking facilities to allow greater accessibility to residents at peak time.” To comment, search 17/00617/CT3 on the city council’s planning website.