WORK at the Barton Park site to create a healthy new town has been a success in many areas, councillors have said.

Labour city councillors Louise Upton and Joe McManners have written a report for the King's Fund about the impact the NHS England-led project.

They said an independent evaluation found 662 residents had used community activities in the first year of the programme.

Dr Upton is a lecturer in neuroscience at Christ Church, Oxford and Mr McManners works as a GP.

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Dr Upton is also the city council's cabinet member for Healthy Oxford.

They wrote in Effective partnership working for healthier neighbourhoods: "In interviews, many of these people said the activities had been good for them, particularly in terms of being able to socialise; but long-term behaviour change is harder to measure.

"In terms of referrals for people with long-term health problems, we have more data: 322 patients were successfully taken through this process over two and half years at an estimated cost of £80,000."

The Barton Park site will eventually include 885 homes on land off the A40.

It was chosen in part because of its health inequalities versus those in other parts of the city. Average life expectancy is 12.6 years lower there than in North Oxford.