A MASTERPLAN which aims to integrate Oxford’s Barton and Northway estates has been rejected by a community leader.

A regeneration strategy for the two areas has been drawn up by Oxford City Council, setting out plans to create a link between the two communities.

It comes after plans for the 885-home Barton West development were approved by councillors, including a proposal to create a “link road” for buses between the two estates, currently separated by the A40 Northern bypass.

But the strategy has been dismissed by Northway Residents’ Association chairwoman Jane Cox, who accused the council of using the strategy to cover up an intention to use Northway as a “rat-run” to the new development.

Mrs Cox said: “This won’t improve Northway at all. If we wanted to be integrated, which we don’t, we have Old Headington and Old Marston, and Barton has Sandhills and Risinghurst.

“The A40 has always separated Barton from Northway. This is an excuse for the fact they didn’t think properly about how people were going to get out of Barton. They want to use us as a shortcut.”

When complete, Barton West will comprise 885 homes, 40 per cent of which will be affordable, a new primary school, hotel, supermarket, shops and community space.

But concerns were raised during the planning process over the impact of the plans on the Green Road roundabout, where drivers struggle to get out of the Barton estate on to the A40.

If approved, the strategy will see the council identifying new housing sites in the two areas, investing in low carbon initiatives and filling empty shops in Barton.

The council would encourage people from Northway to use new facilities in Barton by improving access to the estate with a new pedestrian crossing over the A40.

It could also see an “integration officer” employed for the Barton area and a community development trust set up.

The authority is also aiming to encourage local people to take advantage of 100 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs created by the Barton West development.

Barton councillor Van Coulter said: “I know of quite a few families who are separated, with some living in Barton and some in Northway.

“To me it’s good for communities to be well-linked together. We haven’t got a post office in Barton so residents are going to have to go to Northway or Risinghurst or into Headington.”

In the strategy document, economic consultant Roland Chain Morris said: “These two estates were constructed as council housing in the 1940s and 1950s and are today home to more than 9,000 people, around half of whom are social tenants.

“While these are strong communities with many long-term residents, they are also two of the most deprived areas in Oxford, with Barton among the most deprived 20 per cent in the country.

“Regeneration in these areas is for Oxford City Council.”

The strategy is to be approved by the city executive board tomorrow at 5pm at the Town Hall, in St Aldate’s.