Headington Headlines #294

Your weekly round-up of local news for 28 November – 4 December.

Thanks to @OxonAndrews for Headington’s Christmas tree and hot chocolate!

@Howard_S took these photos of the switch-on by Lord Mayor Altaf Khan.

The planning application from the ‘Wychwood Foundation’ to build on land next to the C S Lewis nature reserve is not on the agenda of the East Area Planning Committee on 7 December. It is, though, listed for future consideration.

On the other hand, the planning application for a three-storey development at 91 Lime Walk which I reported in HH 292 and which triggered much discussion on the e-democracy forum is on the agenda with a recommendation for refusal.

I made a map of the current heatpipe and Access to Headington roadworks in Headington and those coming up next. I’ll keep it up to date week by week.

St Ebbe’s Church Headington @EbbesHeadington (in Lime Walk) joined twitter.

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

Active posts on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum this week:

  • Reply – 91 Lime Walk
  • Disruption
  • Christmas craft evening, 9th December, Quarry Village Hall
  • GivingTuesday support for Oxford HM
  • Tree-planting ceremony, Warneford Meadow, 11 am tomorrow Friday 2 Dec
  • Headington Christmas tree

Headington Roadworks Map

This map shows the current and next imminent major roadworks in Headington, associated with the Access to Headington and Hospital Energy (heatpipe) projects.

red line   Happening now
yellow line   Happening next

Headington Headlines #293

Your weekly round-up of local news for 21 – 27 November.

Roadworks start today (Monday  28 November) on laying the Energy Project pipeline between the JR and Churchill hospitals. The affected locations are Latimer Road as far as Latimer Grange, and All Saints Road from Barrington Close to Lime Walk. These works are scheduled to run until Friday 16 December. You can see the full schedule here.

All my posts about the project are under the ‘Energy Project’ tab in the main menu, and there’s a page of links and contact details here.

The Care Quality Commission’s latest report on Southern Health Trust, based on an inspection in September this year, says that they found “there had been a number of significant improvements made to the governance arrangements in order to identify and prioritise risks arising from the physical environment more effectively”.

I haven’t seen anything official, but I’m told that the @manorsurgery car park will be closed for at least two more weeks.

Oxford’s Lord Mayor and Headington Ward Councillor Altaf Khan was in the news after a Private Eye freedom of information request found that he was among several Oxfordshire councillors who had been summoned for non-payment of council tax. He has now paid the money owing.

Dan Greenall, who runs @OxfordVapours, won Young Entrpreneur of the Year in a competition run by accountancy firm Haines Watts.

Active posts on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum this week:

  • Oxford Winter Cycle Safety
  • Reply – 91 Lime Walk
  • Parking suspension notices for energy pipe route

There was also a post about the loss of local rural bus services.

Parking During Heatpipe Work

With roadworks for the OUH Energy Project (the heatpipe) starting on 28 November, ‘No Parking’ notices have been posted on all the affected roads. The notices say parking is suspended for the whole duration of the works – four and a half months.

Following the inevitable – and fully justified – outcry the Hospital Trust has circulated this statement:

The County Council has put up erroneous notices saying that all parking is banned in all the residential streets for the duration of the Energy Link. This was done for all the right reasons and with the best intentions, but we have now agreed with the parking team that we will inform them 2 weeks in advance of the need to close off parking bays so that there is a “rolling” system and, therefore, as few parking spaces as possible will be closed off at any one time.

Headington Headlines #292

Your weekly round-up of local news for 14 – 20 November.

With heatpipe work starting in Sandfield Road early in the New Year, local councillors held a street surgery on Sunday (20 November) in Sandfield Road for residents to ask any questions about how they will be affected. The full schedule of works and timings as they stand at the moment are on the project’s website.

Heatpipe Street Surgery in Sandfield Road
Heatpipe Street Surgery in Sandfield Road

All my posts about the project are under the ‘Energy Project’ tab in the main menu, and there’s a page of links and contact details here.

The civil engineering contractors @C_A_Blackwell preparing the @BartonPark_ site for the housebuilders reported that the major earthworks are completed and that their work on the A40 junction is complete apart from some minor work to be done in the new year. This coincided with the removal of the 30mph speed limit around the new junction.

There were reports of ‘vandalism’ – or just plain stupid behaviour – at the Access to Headington roadworks at the Gipsy Lane/Old Road junction. Lights, barriers and signs were turned round or moved.

Headington library re-opened on Wednesday after being closed while the boiler was repaired.

I wrote another instalment of the story of the planning application to build next to the C S Lewis nature reserve in Risinghurst.

This video from @Oxford_Brookes about the Northway and Marston flood alleviation scheme is on the City Council website, where the scheme has its own dedicated page.

@ThatsOxon TV also covered the official launch of the scheme – here’s their video.

@ThamesVP report a burglary and an attempted burglary, both in Marsh Lane, Marston last Thursday.

The thread “Lime Walk Planning Permission for THREE storey block of flats” in the H&M e-democracy forum is about 91 Lime Walk. The application is to demolish the existing bulding and to build in its place a 3-storey block of 9 flats. This is the house in question.

91 Lime Walk
91 Lime Walk (pic: Google maps)

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

Active posts on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum this week:

  • Oxford Winter Cycle Safety
  • Lime Walk Planning Permission for THREE storey block of flats [also ‘Reply’ and ‘Reply – 91 Lime walk’]

Planning Application next to C S Lewis Nature Reserve

Not quite three weeks ago I wrote about a planning application to build housing and a new access road adjacent to the C S Lewis Nature Reserve in Risinghurst. The time for comments has now closed and the application will go to the East Area Planning Committee some time in the coming weeks.

There are about 220 comments on the Council’s website, including  – very unusually – some from as far away as Malta and the USA. I haven’t read them all but those I have read are almost exclusively asking the Council to refuse the application.

I will though highlight the responses from four organisations who have submitted informed responses. In saying that I am not disparaging any of the two hundred and more heartfelt and often well-argued comments from individuals. It’s just too big a task for me to absorb and analyse them. I have to leave that to the Council officers who are paid to do it!

The four I have picked out are:

You can read their submissions in full on the links above.

The County objects because the proposed parking arrangements need  “further information/justification … which demonstrates that the level of parking on-site is policy compliant.” The access road “does not meet the minimum requirement road width for refuse vehicles” and so more information is needed to show whether “a large refuse vehicle and fire tender can safely and easily access, turn and exit the site in a forwards gear without obstruction”. They are also not happy about disabled parking arrangements. Rather surprisingly in my view, given the remoteness of the site, the need for cycle journeys to anywhere within the Ring Road to cross the Eastern by-pass, and the none-too-frequent bus service in Risinghurst they also say “The proposed development is well located for sustainable transport links”.

BBOWT’s objections focus on the impact of the development on wildlife both inside and outside the Nature Reserve. They argue strongly that the anaysis and evidence submitted as part of the planning appplication is grossly inadequate and doesn’t comply with national standards required for development which could affect important ecological sites. They are also concerned about the likely loss of amenity for visitors to the Nature Reserve.

OCS call for much more detail on a number of planning-related matters: storage and recycling of waste; the impact on trees on the boundary of the site; parking; the access road; the impact on the two properties whose gardens will be greatly reduced, and more. They also question the charitable status claimed by the applicants and point out the lack of information about how the property will be managed.

The C S Lewis Foundation reminds the Council of the history and special nature of the site, which is worth reading in its own right. They end with this plea:

We appeal to you not only to protect the beautiful and beloved C.S.Lewis woodland reserve and nearby Blue Plaque historic home on Lewis Close, but also to honour the two brothers, C.S.Lewis, who was wounded in action in WW1, and his brother, Major Warren Lewis, who fought in both wars. Beyond this we urge you not to forget the countless people, worldwide, from Europe, Asia and North America, who visit the area, not only in remembrance of this historic treasure, but also to enjoy the tranquillity found in the Nature Reserve.

On behalf of the C.S.Lewis Foundation UK, its worldwide constituency, and our much respected neighbours, we urge you to act now to preserve our rich legacy by denyiing approval of this most aggressive and egregiously offensive development proposal.

It will be interesting to see the Council officers’ analysis and recommendation to the Planning Committee. I will let you know when it has been made public.


Headington Headlines #291

Your weekly round-up of local news for 7 – 13 November.

There are some changes to the shops in Headington. The Rose Tree restaurant has closed “until further notice”, a Helen & Douglas House charity shop is opening where Oxford Furniture used to be and shopfitters are working in the old Morrison’s shop near Starbucks.

Headington Library is closed until further notice while the boiler and heating system is repaired.

After a long time out of the news (the last time was March 2015) there was some activity at 29 Old High Street this week. For new readers, number 29 is the near-derelict property between Waitrose and the car park. The Council has access to carry out a structural survey. I’m guessing, but perhaps there’s a chance it might be declared unsafe, in which case the Council could force action to be taken.

Headington Baptist Church celebrated its tenth anniversary the Sunday before last (6 November) with celebrations including the unveiling of a new artwork.

After last week’s news of the Fairview pub, another old-established but closed pub has reached the end of the line. Marston’s Jack Russell pub in Salford Road was “half-destroyed in an arson attack” on Saturday night. Locals have been campaigning for it to become a community centre.

The Friends of Stansfeld @FofStansfled are having an open meeting in @TheMasonsArmsHQ Arms tomorrow (Tues 15 November) to discuss the development proposals for the site. Everyone welcome.

Thames Valley Police @ThamesVP issued a statement on Friday in connection with the alleged abduction and rape of a 14 year old schoolgirl. They say that there is no evidence of an abduction but they are still investigating a case of rape.

A woman, her son and a pet dog were rescued unharmed after a fire broke out in the living room of their home in Weyland Road on Saturday night.

Active posts on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum this week:

  • Friends of Quarry Meeeting
  • Oxford Winter Cycle Safety
  • road repairs in headington – hats off to the Labour Party
  • Glossy yellow leaflets and spuriously claiming credit