AN OXFORD University college is considering selling off land it owns that neighbours the proposed Barton West estate.

Christ Church owns land north of the Barton West site where Oxford City Council plans to build nearly 900 homes.

The St Aldate’s college wrote to the authority saying that in the long term it would be interested in “exploring potential opportunities to work with the city council to bring forward land that could help serve and support the Barton strategic development site”.

Much of the countryside which Christ Church owns north of the site is working farmland, and college treasurer James Lawrie said he was happy for it to remain so in the short to medium term.

He said: “I would stress that this (development proposal) would be in the longer term. This is a long-term aspiration.

“It is pretty unlikely that the land will be brought forward for development in the short term. We have owned it for a long time and don’t expect to sell it in the foreseeable future.

“But in the long term who knows what is going to happen? Quite how Oxford will expand in the future I really don’t know.”

Last month the city council approved the 885-home estate on land west of Barton.

It will extend the existing Barton estate to the west, and include a new primary school, a park, a hotel, a supermarket and other shops, and community facilities.

Christ Church has not said how much land it owns north of Barton West. It is within the South Oxfordshire district area rather than the city boundary.

Sue Holden, of Barton Community Association, said: “Whether it is a good idea or not depends on what they intend to put there.

“This is not something which is going to happen overnight, but it is not necessarily a bad thing.

“Developments have to happen and if it is for the benefit of local people we would love to know what the college’s plans are.”

As well as building homes at Barton, the city council is also attempting to build on land it owns south of Grenoble Road, to meet the city’s demand for housing.

But this land, like the land owned by Christ Church, is within South Oxfordshire.

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said: “Our medium to long term interest is in developing as much sustainable housing as we can and anything which is in the immediate vicinity of existing parts of the city would be welcome.

“From our point of view this sounds like an interesting proposition.”

South Oxfordshire District Council leader Ann Ducker said: “We do not agree with any building in the Green Belt and nobody has agreed to a review of the Green Belt.

“So until there is a review it will not look as if we would be supporting this.”