ANOTHER stage of the key Barton Park development has been approved by city councillors.

Phase 3 of the project, which is a joint venture between the city council and developers Grosvenor, will be built by Redrow.

The company will build 207 homes as part of that section.

The city council’s East Area planning committee passed the application at a meeting on Wednesday, with Labour councillor John Tanner hailing the ‘outstandingly good’ project.

Phase 1 is already underway and residents are living in some of the homes. They are being built by Hill.

Nigel Chapman, another Labour councillor, said he was pleased the development would increase the number of three and four bedroom homes, which are in short supply in Oxford. Of the new homes, 195 will have either three or four bedrooms.

READ MORE: Inside one of the homes owned by Oxford City Council's housing company on Barton Park

Rather confusingly, phases 2 and 4 will follow, because of their position on the site. The four phases will eventually include 885 new homes.

Forty per cent of the homes built as phase 3 will be for affordable rent.

Ahead of the meeting, Oxford Civic Society said the next stage shows ‘a failure to genuinely embrace the principles of encouragement of walking and cycling as the preferred modes of travel’.

It said the ‘continued accommodation of private car transport as the design priority across the development’ disappointed members.

But a city council planning officer attacked their criticisms – claiming it appeared the society had misunderstood the planning application. The issues with parking had been agreed in an earlier application and were not to be decided at Wednesday’s meeting, he said.

The new development will be enhanced by five pocket parks, while between 23 and 25 per cent of the power used by residents living in the new homes would be from renewable sources.

Councillors were told the homes will be of the ‘highest quality’, with apple and cherry trees planted in green spaces.

READ AGAIN: Next stage of Barton Park ‘disappointing’

Negotiations are already underway to assign phase 2 and phase 4 to other developers.

The authority has owned the land since at least the 1950s but worries about access, contaminated land and the need to fund a new school in Barton had always been problematic.

But it decided to enter into the joint venture with Grosvenor in 2011.

In council papers, it says: “This was an innovative approach at the time.”

Barton Park has been chosen as an NHS Healthy New Town – with Bicester also taking that label – and it was shortlisted for a prize at the Planning Awards this year.