PLANS for 3,000 homes on the northeast edge of Oxford could include housing and parking for hospital workers, the Oxford Mail can reveal.

Two neighbouring proposals have been put forward for land next to Barton Park, the new 885-home estate already being built.

The developers behind the new plans, Oxford college Christ Church and Wick Farming Ltd, say they could provide affordable housing for key workers and academics.

Both are putting forward separate schemes of up 1,500 homes each, but it is understood the parties are talking to each other and Oxford University Hospitals Trust about providing a park and ride facility for NHS staff that would serve the trust's Headington sites.

Christ Church treasurer James Lawrie said proposals for land next to Barton were at 'a very early stage' but its location near the John Radcliffe Hospital meant it could 'help address a number of important issues'.

He added: "We want to create a new community, one that has an exemplar design that is not about maximising density but is about producing something we can all be proud of."

It comes as council chiefs are weighing up different options for how to provide thousands of extra homes needed to accommodate people working in the city.

The land falls under the jurisdiction of South Oxfordshire District Council, which is drawing up its next Local Plan and is due to make a decision about where housing could go by the end of the year.

Oxford Mail:

  • The site, highlighted in blue, that could be developed for homes

Other options on the table include 3,000 homes in a Government-backed scheme at Chalgrove Airfield, with a development twice that size proposed by Oxford City Council at Grenoble Road, near the Kassam Stadium.

But the sites next to Barton Park and Grenoble Road are both within protected Green Belt land and South Oxfordshire has already said its 'preferred' site is Chalgrove.

Harry Aubrey Fletcher, whose family owns Wick Farming Ltd, said the site next to Barton could offer 'exceptional benefits' if it was allowed to go ahead.

He added: "We are committed to delivering an exceptional development that provides much needed affordable housing, key worker accommodation for the staff of the Oxford hospitals and off-site parking to reduce the pressures at the JR.

"We hope to work with SODC, through its Local Plan process, to ensure the development provides benefits that would justify its release from the Green Belt."

Oxford Mail:

  • The scheme could provide parking for hospital staff in Oxford

The Oxford Mail understands further talks between the developers and the district council are due to take place today, with Christ Church stressing that measures to reduce the scheme's potential traffic impact would come forward later.

John Cotton, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said he would not rule out the housing proposals.

He said: "We are reviewing everything that is coming in. These proposals are part of the mix and we expect to see further presentations about them.

"It is an interesting idea, given its proximity to the university hospitals, and there is a potential case for it if they provide key worker housing.

"But it is still Green Belt land."

Oxford Mail:

  • City council leader Bob Price, who supports Grenoble Road

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price, who has long argued for development at Grenoble Road, said the site next to Barton was 'not at the top of the council's priorities'.

He added: "One point we have always made is that although it is suitable for housing, it is a site that is quite visible from Oxford when looking out towards Otmoor, so compared to Grenoble Road it is potentially more problematic."

Mr Lawrie said Christ Church had already held early consultations with people in Elsfield about the plans and would hold exhibitions for the public in the future.

He said the Oxford college also wanted to remain involved with the proposals 'all the way through', and did not intent to sell the land if it obtained planning permission.