TWEAKED plans for Oxford's controversial new Swan School have been tipped for approval.

An Oxford City Council committee has been advised to overturn earlier refusal of the 1,260-pupil secondary school in Marston and grant permission.

Parents pushing for approval have described Marston as a 'black hole' for school places and said a new school serving the area is key to avoiding a future crisis.

The application for the academy, which would replace the Harlow Centre off Marston Ferry Road, will be reconsidered by a planning review committee on Monday.

Councillors turned down the plans last month, against the recommendation of council officers, raising concerns about invasion of the Green Belt and the access road cutting across a busy cycle track.

The shock move was 'called in' by another group of councillors, meaning the decision will be reassessed and either upheld or overturned.

Since the meeting the plans have been amended to remove 10 staff parking places on-site, from 66 to 56, to reduce the number of cars crossing the cycle lane and promote sustainable travel.

More public comments have been published by the council this week, including from Marston parents who say their children are unable to get into The Cherwell School or Cheney School.

Marston resident Amanda Kerr wrote: "My family has been directly affected by the Marston black hole of school allocations.

"We did not receive a place at any of our preference schools for our daughter in the 2017 secondary school intake."

She said her daughter eventually moved into a preferred school but this was 'hugely disruptive'.

Dr Kerr said traffic and access should be weighed against the impact on children, adding: "[These] are logistical issues,

not insurmountable problems."

The meeting will take place at Oxford Town Hall at 6pm.

If refusal is upheld, it is likely the school will not open as planned next September, in time to meet a shortfall in places.

Parents have set up a petition lobbying for the school's approval, gaining 900 signatures, and stood outside the site on Monday holding pro-Swan School signs.

A petition fighting the critics’ corner has gained almost 150 signatures, calling for the former Harlequins Rugby Club field just down the road to be used as the Swan School site instead.

Its author Tony Greenfield, an Old Marston resident, wrote on the petition: “If the now vacated rugby club ground was adopted then there would be no reason to provide the proposed, dangerous road junction across this most heavily used cycle track.

“This would save Oxfordshire County Council (tax payers) possibly £350,000 to £400,000 and safety would no longer be an issue.

“The existing grass bank along Marston Ferry Road would be left untouched and continue to provide soundproofing for Carters estate in Old Marston and safe separation of cyclists from traffic.”

He listed benefits of building on the Harlequins site, including that it is served by an existing car park and cycle underpass, is not in the Green Belt, and is a larger parcel of land.

The River Learning Trust - the organisation that will run the Swan School - has previously dismissed the site as ‘completely inappropriate’ and said it is The Cherwell School's playing fields.

In a comment posted on the planning application on Monday, Mr Greenfield predicted that the removal of 10 parking spaces would lead to staff leaving their cars on surrounding residential roads instead.

A new report compiled by council officers welcomed the reduction in spaces and 'more ambitious sustainable travel targets', however

Advising the review committee to pass the plans, it added: "Overspill parking on surrounding roads would be controlled...both through the frequent and close monitoring of the travel plan and the rigorous legal requirement that the school make best endeavours to ensure staff parking on surrounding streets does not happen."