IT has been years in the making but 2016 will be the year when the first homes in the Barton Park development are built.

The 885 homes, school and community facilities are a much-needed addition to help tackle Oxford’s housing shortage.

But at what cost? With the Government pushing for councils to sell off their housing stock, will the 237 council-owned homes be the property of the authority in the long term? It is yet to be revealed what the prices of the new homes will be to buy as well.

Another factor is the existing Barton estate.

Developers Grosvenor and Oxford City Council have worked hard to engage the community in their plans, but a lot of people are worried that they will be left behind.

The designs of the new homes, flats and gardens have been described as “upmarket” and environmentally friendly, which is true.

They are grand designs but there is a reason. This is Oxford’s biggest housing development for 100 years after all. It’s crucial that it’s planned and built to very high standards to last decades to come.

Barton Park has been talked about for years, now it’s time for action.