RESIDENTS in Marston, Oxford, have voiced their concerns over plans to build 1,000 new homes near where they live.

Oxford City Council is looking at developing a site to the west of Barton to deliver social and cheaper housing in the city.

People from neighbouring Marston had their chance to comment on the plans at a consultation meeting held at Mortimer Hall in Old Marston on Tuesday.

Pensioner Julia O’Keefe, 73, of Elms Drive, seized on the chance to grill the council.

She said: “It’s the speed and amount of the traffic I’m worried about.

“Cars speed through Old Marston already, totally ignoring the ‘Access Only’ signs, and we have lots of young families coming back into the area so it’s very dangerous.

“The new homes might just make this worse.”

Hubert Allen, 79, of Rylands, agreed.

He said: “There definitely needs to be access for hospital and emergency services.

“I know the housing situation for low-paid people in Oxford is desperate, but I’m just relieved it is a few years in the future so they have time to work these problems out.”

The council says it aims to have building work under way by 2013.

But Sarah Hatch, 49, a Barton resident, said this was too soon.

She asked: “People don’t live in Barton through choice, they live there because it’s all they can afford, so the council should build smaller estates instead.

“Just where is all the traffic going to go?”

This was a sentiment echoed by many visitors.

June Westbury, 80, of Salford Road, warned the council not to jump into the project or else it could end up with problems.

She said: “There needs to be schools, community centres, pubs, bus routes and, of course, the transport links.

“The council needs to learn the lessons from the past.”

Planners will also be looking at whether to create new links for residents on the northern side of the A40 with the rest of the city.

Rachel Williams, principal planner of the city development, was fielding questions from residents at the consultation meeting.

She said that this kind of debate was what the early stages of the project were all about.

She said: “We are not pretending this is an easy site to build on and people rightly have concerns.

“But it’s these concerns that we’ll be looking at and we’ll come back to the public later in the year with real plans and options for them.”

The next consultation meeting is today at Headington Baptist Church, in Old High Street, from 3pm to 7pm.