WORK on Oxford’s biggest housing development in a generation is set to start this year if plans are approved next week.

About £16.6m of developer funding has been allocated for schools, roads and other services, including £7m for a new 315-place primary school and £4m for road improvements at Barton Park.

The development, which is due to start in spring, will feature 885 homes.

And Oxford City Council confirmed yesterday that at least 354 homes – 40 per cent – would be council-owned at a cost of £53m.

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It falls below the 50 per cent enforced by Oxford City Council’s own policy but leader Bob Price said that was due to infrastructure costs the city had to meet.

Mr Price said if plans were approved on Wednesday for the main infrastructure of the site, it would “blow the whistle” for construction to begin.

He added: “This scheme will see the first new council houses built for a long time and that is a significant step for us.

“We hope they will be just the first step in a wave of more and more because they are desperately needed in Oxford.”

But there are still outstanding concerns raised by Oxford Bus Company about road safety outside a proposed school.

The firm warned that current parking arrangements could pose a risk to drivers and cause “serious delays” to its services.

Managing director Phil Southall said the position of parking spaces for parents at the school would force cars to reverse into traffic.

He added: “We think it’s important to get this right at this stage and discuss where else the parking could go.”

Mr Price said changes to the plans would not be made before next week’s meeting, but could be considered at a later date.

The scheme was already altered last month after Oxfordshire County Council warned an S-bend near the school was too tight for buses.

Barton councillor Glynis Phillips also raised concerns about the lack of a pedestrian crossing at the primary school.

Ms Phillips said: “People are in a rush first thing in the morning and parents driving will be wanting to drop off their children quickly.

“With a lot of traffic moving a pedestrian crossing is vital for safety.”

Vice-chairman of the east area planning committee Van Coulter called for design issues to be resolved as soon as possible.

He added: “It will be an area where a lot of traffic will be arriving in a short period of time so the only thing we can do is try to make these periods as facilitated and flexible as possible.”

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