FRIENDS of a treasured park threatened by a controversial depot expansion have vowed to keep up the fight ahead of a second key decision day.

Councillors gave Oxford City Council permission to extend its Marsh Road depot onto Cowley Marsh Park last week – but 14 members urged progress be stalled and triggered a meeting where it will be reconsidered.

Initially, 148 residents said they were opposed to any plan to extend the facility onto a space which includes a wildflower meadow.

That has been recently mown with another on the other side of the park left untouched.

Opponents said they are keen to drum up support and let councillors know how treasured the park is, two years after the council withdrew a similar application because of public opposition.

Resident Arthur Davis has lived on nearby Crescent Road for 62 years.

He said he had suspected the council were planning to extend the depot years ago when a play area was moved to another spot. Three willow trees which lay close to the play area were also recently chopped down.

He said: “The play area was here and it was very popular with the children. I queried the council’s motives then. It is a big patch. It’s just going to increase the nuisance we’re undergoing."

The council has said development on green space would never normally be permitted but that it wants the expansion to go ahead because there is nowhere else suitable across Oxford for the depot to be relocated.

The authority claims, as a second part of its potential development, that it needs to extend a car park.

It said it would be used for footballers who use the park for matches.

But an opponent of the scheme said no scheduled matches take place there and said the council purely wants to extend the number of spaces available for depot staff.

Rachel Myers, who lives on Marsh Road, said: “There are never football matches other than impromptu ones; there are never any football matches there.

“We have got more people coming here and less green space. It makes no sense whatsoever.”

The depot would be extended for five years if it is given the go-ahead.

The planning review committee will hear of the plan to extend the depot at a special meeting on August 21.

Campaigner Judith Harley said: “We need more residents to write in. am urging residents or users of the park to just say how important the park is to them.”

Oxford City Council was contacted for comment.