Plans for a “car centric” development with more than 800 homes have been approved and applauded for its socially rented accommodation.

The next phase of the major Oxford development at Barton Park was approved by Oxford City Council at a planning meeting on Tuesday evening (May 24).

The outline plans for the 865-home development were originally approved in 2013.

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The next phase of development will see the centre of Barton Park developed including space for local shops and the possibility of a supermarket.

Just under half of the development will be affordable, with 40 per cent of the 865 homes set to be socially rented accommodation.

The Barton Park community is already taking shape. More than 200 households are already living on site, with a sports pavilion, sports pitch ad park already open. A primary school opened in 2020, serving families in Barton Park and neighbouring Barton.

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In 2013, it was decided that there will be parking spaces on site. However, in the meeting fears were raised that allowing more cars in Barton would be counterintuitive.

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Mark Pett from Headington Heritage stood against the plans and questioned why the council is not making this new estate car free and cycle friendly.

Mr Pett raised concerns that the development will allow for too many cars and restrictions on car parking should be implemented.

He said: “Does this development make the most efficient use of the land and target the local housing need? No, due to the excess parking provision, now no longer legal under current policies.

“Simply put, cars compete with people for space and the more cars the less people. This can be clearly shown on the development plan with nearly 50 per cent of the ground floor of houses occupied by cars rather than bedrooms.”

Mr Pett also highlighted that the people in need of the affordable homes will not necessarily be able to afford a car and will be cycling to work in Oxford.

Oxford Mail: Oxford's Barton Park

Councillor Jemima Hunt objected to the development and said that Barton Park already has a “car problem” and this development would exacerbate it.

She said: “Having just spent the past three years reducing car numbers in East Oxford, this is a completely counter intuitive development. We are reducing and taking away 500 parking spaces about a mile down the road from this development.

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“The idea that a car centric development is now ging to be given the green light encouraging 865 families to bring cars to oxford just goes against everything we are currently trying to do.”

The allocated area for commercial units at Barton Park is now smaller than what was originally approved, but it is expected there will still be space for a food store.

Ms Hunt added that the future residents will be forced to drive to a supermarket due to a lack of local shops. 

However, councillor Lizzy Diggings and councillor Nigel Chapman were pleased with the number of affordable homes and highlighted that it was already decided in 2013 that car parking would be available.

Mr Chapman commended that all of the affordable homes on the site will be socially rented accommodation.  

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He said: “It is one of the central developments in the city that is delivering the level of social housing that we have committed to do. Therefore, we would be running completely contrary to what we have been elected to do to end up turning it over and saying we didn’t want to go down this road.

He added: “It is all basic socially rented housing for our tenants of which 2,800 are still on the housing waiting list as we speak today.”

The plans for 865 homes at Barton Park were approved with a condition to minimise any extra possibilities of parking.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Rebecca Whittaker, she joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Rebecca covers education and news in Abingdon and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: or calling 07824524333

Follow her on Twitter @RebecWhitt

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