A SENIOR Oxford councillor says he is still upbeat about the prospects for a 1,000-home development on the edge of Oxford.

Ed Turner, deputy leader of the city council, said there was still a “good chance” that the estate, known as Barton West, would get the go-ahead, despite the Government’s cuts in spending.

The council, which wants 50 per cent of the new development to be affordable homes, is counting on the scheme going ahead, because plans have stalled for 4,000 new homes south of Grenoble Road.

Mr Turner spoke out as the council invited residents to take part in the consultation to help shape the future of the Barton area.

Two consultation events to discuss plans for the homes on land near Barton and Marston are being held this week.

The Labour councillor said: “I think we have a good chance of getting this one. The need for new housing is widely recognised.

“This project should still go ahead, despite all the speculation about funding. It’s important that residents take the opportunity to get involved with the consultation process.

“There’s an underlying shortage of housing in Oxford and we have a very strong case for making it happen.

“These two sessions support the ongoing first stages of the consultation process and their comments will help shape the future of their community.”

Sue Holden, secretary of the Barton Community Association, said: “The development won’t be without its costs and inconveniences, but you have to think long-term and realise that new homes will benefit the next generation.”

Patrick Murray, Liberal Democrat councillor for Barton and Sandhills, added: “One of the key things with this project is that the city council owns a lot of the land.

“If we get funding, we can do more with it, in terms of providing more affordable housing and community facilities.”

Although the council is pressing ahead with the consultation, it is reliant on the Homes and Communities Agency for funding for social housing.

But the agency’s budget is under review, pending cuts in Government spending.

Mr Turner added: “The big advantage Barton West has over Grenoble Road is that there are no planning snags.”

The consultation meetings are at Mortimer Hall, in Oxford Road, Old Marston, today, from 3.30pm to 7pm, and on Thursday at Headington Baptist Church, in Old High Street, from 3pm to 7pm.

affrench@oxfordmail.co.uk For more details and to comment online, see oxford.gov.uk/barton