OXFORD construction workers could play a major role in the city’s biggest housing development in a generation.

Jobs could be offered to local firms to work on the 885-home Barton Park Development to be built over the next 10 years.

The boost comes as CA Blackwell Ltd, infrastructure contractor for the site, wants local businesses to be part of the £47.9m development on land west of Barton.

Businesses can bid for a number of contracts to carry out laying pipes, ducting, drainage, tarmac, pavements and landscaping.

It is hoped having a workforce from Oxford will improve the outcome of the housing estate.

Contracts manager Justin Downer said Barton Park was progressing well and work on the main junction to the new estate off the A40 had begun. He said: “We want to encourage the local supply chain and businesses and give them opportunities to carry out work on the project.

“We want the community to benefit from this. It’s better economically to employ people on your doorstep and it’s better for the environment.

“This development is going to go on for several years so it will be ongoing employment.”

CA Blackwell was awarded the infrastructure works contract by Barton Oxford LLP, a partnership between Oxford City Council and developer Grosvenor Ltd.

The civil engineering contractor, which is family owned and has been operating since 1959, has set a target of having five per cent of the workforce from the local area and has already employed several people on the site.

As well as the work packages for Oxford businesses, Mr Downer said the civil engineering company was advertising for two apprenticeships.

He added: “In our contract from the Barton LLP we have key performance indicators that means we will have a percentage of local employment in the community, and we have got a couple of apprenticeships .”

He added the A40 junction will be finished by May next year, just in time for housebuilder Hill Ltd to start constructing the first 237 homes .

The contractor hosted an event at the Barton Neighbourhood Centre in Underhill Circus on Wednesday to meet businesses and explain how they can bid for contracts.

Ed Turner, deputy leader of Oxford City Council, said: “The new extension to the Barton estate will not only provide much-needed housing – including a good share of affordable homes – but also create business opportunities for companies in the city and employment for local residents.”

If you are interested in bidding for one of the contracts or gaining employment contact Linda Hilton on 01787 223131 or e-mail linda.hilton@cablackwell.co.uk