A JAR of honey a year has secured an ecological site in Oxford – thanks to a deal between a community group and a university college.

Corpus Christi College’s sports ground off Whitehouse Road, South Oxford, is to be transformed into a community facility with an orchard, beehives and a wind turbine.

The college has agreed to let the land to West Oxford Community Renewables, starting in the summer, for an annual rent of one jar of honey.

Last year, the group, set up by Low Carbon West Oxford, was awarded £800,000 by the Department of Energy to fund green community projects.

It said the new ecology centre would be “a centre of excellence” providing space for local food production.

The old Corpus cricket pavilion, fitted with solar panels, will be turned into a training centre to help other groups set up low carbon schemes.

WOCR director Lois Muddiman said: “This is a very generous offer from Corpus Christi College and we are really looking forward to a long and successful relationship with them.

“We are keen for this to be a joint project with local residents from Grandpont and West Oxford.

“Community renewable sch-emes are taking off all over the country – and ours is recognised as one of the most successful path-finding projects in the UK.

“We already enjoy links with local schools and would seek to further our involvement by offering classroom sessions on the site.”

The group said it hoped the community beehives would help replace swarms affected by virus and habitat reduction.

Ms Muddiman said it would also put strong emphasis on local food production.

Corpus Christi bursar Ben Ruck Keene said: “The whole college is very excited by the prospect of working with Low Carbon West Oxford to bring about a direct reduction in carbon emissions in the city.”

He said Corpus would share University College’s sports ground off Abingdon Road.

The choice of rent is symbolic – the bee is one of the college’s ancient emblems.

The deal has upset local cricketers who say they regret the loss of another pitch in Oxford.

And they are worried other college sports grounds considered “part of the fabric of Oxford” could follow.

Trevor Williams, captain of the Wayfarers cricket club, said: “We have played at the Corpus pitch for 35 years. It is a lovely ground.

“The pavilion was rebuilt more than 10 years ago after the old one burned down.

“We are still trying to find somewhere to play next season.”