JUST over one per cent of Oxford’s Green Belt is outlined for development as part of a key new planning document.

Planning boss Alex Hollingsworth said 18 hectares around Oxford will be committed for potential development in the city council’s Local Plan, which is likely to be passed next week.

That document outlines where the city council wants building to take place until 2036.

In Oxford, the Green Belt is critical in protecting its historic setting.

But Mr Hollingworth said much of it around the city cannot be used for building anyway.

He said: “A substantial proportion of the Green Belt is not developable for a range of reasons. If you took Green Belt protection off it, you still wouldn’t be able to build on it because it’s flood plain, for example.

“The other test is bringing forward sites is whether the landowner wanted to bring them forward. If we said to the landowner of a site that doesn’t flood said: ‘are you interested in bringing it forward?’ and they said: ‘absolutely not,’ then it isn’t considered.”

Most of the development on the Green Belt in Oxford is anticipated to take place in Marston, with four sites earmarked for homes there.

The Local Plan indicates the city council wants homes to be built at Marston Paddock, Hill View Farm, on land west of Mill Lane and Park Farm.

Marston Paddock and Hill View Farm are owned by developers. Park Farm is owned by Oxford University and land west of Mill Lane is owned by Oxford City Council.

Wolvercote’s Green Belt would also slightly reduce if plans go ahead.

Christ Church College and Croudace Homes own land at St Frideswide Farm; Merton College owns other agricultural land at Pear Tree Farm.

St Catherine’s College land currently in the green belt is likely to be approved for new building for educational purposes.

And other homes are planned for land east of the Redbridge Park and Ride site in Hinksey Park.

Green Party group leader Craig Simmons said he felt the Local Plan is too ‘ rigid and structured’.

He quizzed Mr Hollingsworth and council officers on what the council’s vision is for alternative types of transport.

Mr Simmons’ party colleague Dick Woolf has been a leading proponent of using cable cars across Oxford.

Mr Hollingsworth said although there was nothing indicated in the Local Plan for them, that did not mean they would not be adopted in the future – although it would need county council support.

He praised Rev Woolf for moving it from an ‘evangelical, pie in the sky idea’ to something that might have a practical use in the future.

Mr Hollingsworth said the Government was keen to build homes in Oxfordshire.

He added: “The government has made quite clear over a prolonged period that it sees Oxford and Cambridge and the area between as very few areas of Britain that runs a net surplus of tax revenues versus their expenditure.

“These are the areas that will generate economic growth going forward…in the disruption caused by Brexit.”