PLANS for 80 new homes in Marston have been given the go-ahead by Oxford City Council. 

Arguments against the development, which will feature 13 one-bedroom apartments and 28 two-bedroom, 35 three-bedroom and four four-bedroom houses, largely centred around the increased traffic it would create through the village of Old Marston.

The project will be built to the west of Mill Lane.

Oxford Mail: Developer's plans of the siteDeveloper's plans of the site

Old Marston Parish Council referred to Oxford Road being used as a “rat run” already with Oxford Civic Society arguing for direct connection between the homes and the A40, which is not currently proposed, to “alleviate unacceptable degradation of conditions on Mill Lane and in Old Marston”. Friends of Old Marston argue “traffic is already at dangerous levels”.

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Councillor Jemima Hunt (Lab, St Clement’s) said: “As someone actively involved in active travel, promoting cycling, it is unacceptable for a development to be built that is car-centric and going to bring another 500 cars into one access road (where traffic) has already led to an accident and children not being able to cycle to school. 

“The transport has to go alongside the housing. We have a housing crisis, we have an air pollution crisis, we have a transport crisis. They cannot be (handled) piecemeal.”

Oxford Mail:

Councillor Louise Upton (Lab, Walton Manor) shared concern over the need for residents to drive through Old Marston and called for the city council to engage with Oxfordshire County Council about the possibility of creating “a short slip road access on to the A40” as well as “blocking off” access through the village.

“I think it is really worth engaging now if we can about the possibility,” she said. 

Adrian Arnold, head of planning service at Oxford City Council, said that would be “a separate matter which this council, if it so desires, can take up” through the right channels but “not through this process”.

In proposing approval of the application, Councillor Ajaz Rehman (Lab, Lye Valley) said: “This is a site allocated to the local plan so it is really important we follow that. 

“It is quite fashionable to talk about other things, the most important thing is a roof over people’s heads. We cannot just keep refusing everything on the basis of transport.

“The most important thing is that people have safe, sound, affordable accommodation above everything else.”

In seconding, Councillor Nigel Chapman (Lab, Headington Hill & Northway) said: “I will be supporting this application. It is a trade-off, there are significant benefits here, very clearly on a housing front.

“This proposal is not risk-free, in terms of the impact of traffic in the area but it is always on balance.”

Cllr Hunt lodged the only vote against the motion with Councillor Mohammed Altaf-Khan (Lib Dem, Headington) abstaining. There were nine votes in favour.

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