THE Barton Community Association is considering becoming a parish council to help the existing estate connect with the new development.

The group has not made a final decision but is discussing the idea, which would allow it to influence local decisions and manage a budget drawn from taxation.

Now the association is asking people in the community their views on the change, which would need backing from 250 residents for an application to be made.

Group trustee Rodney Shepherd said having a parish council would bring a lot of value to the community, but discussions were at an early stage.

He said: “It would help the community to have an ownership and a future plan of the area.

He added: “It’s quite a long discussion, but I think for the long haul the community will have much better control and management of their own future and how they can look after themselves by being given greater responsibility.

“This is an aspiration to progress this and now we are in the process of consulting the community because we want them to know about this, but it takes time.”

Parish councils are the lowest tier of local government and are funded through ‘precepts’ – portions of the taxes collected by higher-level councils.

Association secretary Sue Holden MBE said: “One of the main advantages of becoming a parish council is the ability to influence local decisions and to be able to manage a budget for the direct benefit of your parish and those who live in it.

She added: “It would be a very positive move in relation to the new development and embracing all the new residents, but we will need to undertake a great deal of research before reaching a decision.”

The new development, Barton Park, will see 885 homes be built on the land west of Barton as well as a new 315-place primary school and a community hub.

Mr Shepherd added : “We have to embrace the potential of the new people that are coming to live in Barton as part of the new structure.”

Oxford city councillor for Barton Van Coulter said he would support the association in becoming a parish council.

He said: “It would provide for enhanced cohesion between the new residents and the existing community. The parish could also look to manage the linear park and other open spaces to be created in the course of the new development.”