AN NHS health trust hoping to sell three of its sites for development has been told to go back to the drawing board.

Planning officers asked Oxford City Council's strategic development control committee to approve outline plans for a number of options to develop Warneford Meadow, Warneford Hospital playing field and Park Hospital.

Options submitted included a 'village' for up to 1,000 Oxford Brooke's University students, medical research units and key worker accommodation.

But councillors criticised the plans submitted by Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Partnership NHS trust because there were too many possible options.

The councillors were also not prepared to give officers 'guidance' on how the site could be developed.

Councillor John Goddard said: "I find the whole procedure bizarre and actually unhelpful. What we are asked to do today is add to the fug of misunderstanding of a whole range of incompatible options."

Councillors were asked to give consent to development in principle, with details finalised later.

Chief planning officer Michael Crofton-Briggs told the meeting: "If this was a private developer I think officers fairly succinctly would have recommended to you that you refuse this application on the basis of insufficient information to be able to judge the impact of this proposal.

"However, these applications are from another public body and officers, maybe incorrectly, have wanted to work much more closely in partnership with the healthcare trust in seeing if it was possible to have a more positive response to the proposal."

But councillor Paul Sargent said: "To maintain the integrity of the planning service we have to treat everyone the same."

Trust planning consultant Tony Collins said: "These are outline applications which have been submitted to the authority for determination. The recommendation from your officers is to approve subject to negotiation so the logical thing to do is either support that in principle, so we can get on with negotiations, or not.

"It's wholly unacceptably to take the position that you have."

Councillors agreed not to vote on the proposal, recommending that the trust withdraw its application and come back with a full planning application after discussion with officers and consideration of the local plan.