TENANTS from Barton, Headington, Northway and Marston could be given priority to move into social housing on the new Barton Park estate, it has emerged.

The new estate with 885 homes, will also feature a new primary school, shops, sports pitches and a community hub.

Barton residents expressed fears last month that the name Barton Park was an attempt to distinguish it from the current estate.

But a way of improving integration between the two estates was highlighted at a briefing for city councillors on Tuesday.

Development company Gros-venor is working on the plans with Oxford City Council. Cllr Colin Cook, executive member for city development, said people in housing need from the Barton estate could be given priority for homes in Barton Park, with at least 40 per cent of the new homes designated as social housing.

He said: “The social housing is going to be seeded with people in housing need both from Barton and Northway.”

Mr Cook told the Oxford Mail that the idea of giving Barton people in housing need priority for new homes on Barton Park was “do-able”.

He added: “The formal policy has not yet been sorted but we do have some discretion regarding the housing list.

“If you have someone from the Barton estate and someone from Cutteslowe with the same housing need, then the person from Barton would be given priority for a home on the new estate.

“But if the person from the Cutteslowe estate has the greater housing need they would get priority.

“We have an allocations policy and we would have to tweak that.

“If we free up a house in Barton then someone else from the Barton estate could move in.”

Van Coulter, city councillor for Barton, said: “People are still very much concerned and as the first homes will be built nearer Northway and Marston then the natural integration will be with Northway and Marston.”

Outline planning permission for Barton Park was granted last year and now reserved matters are to be considered on access, the planned community hub, sports pitches, and allotments.

The public will be consulted in April on what they would like on Barton Park’s green spaces.

Building work on new homes could start in the summer next year with families moving in by 2016.

A public inquiry is to take place on July 7 into whether land at Foxwell Drive could become a town green. Access to Barton Park is planned via a bridge over the A40 into Northway that would cut through green space at Foxwell Drive.