"To every complex problem there is a simple solution, startling in its simplicity, piercing in its clarity, and hopelessly and completely wrong" - Gore Vidal.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Headington Headlines #198

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 19 - 25 January.

Clerkenwell Properties Ltd, presumably the owners of Kennett House, the block of shops and offices including Iceland, have applied to the City Council to decide whether or not they need planning permission to convert the offices over the shops to 12 flats. See Planning Application reference 15/00189/B56.

Birmingham City Council has told @RosalindRogers that the woodland area of the Stansfeld Outdoor Centre will not be redeveloped.

@Oxford_Brookes announced that their new Vice-Chncellor is to be Professor Alistair Fitt. He is currently the university's Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange.

Developers Frontier are mounting a new public exhibition of their proposals for the corner of Latimer Road. It's on Tuesday 27 January from 4 - 8pm in the St Clement's Family Centre in Cross Street. See their invitation for more details. No planning application has yet been submitted.

Marsh Lane, Marston was closed for a time on Saturday afternoon following a collision between a car and an ambulance. Three people suffered minor injuries.

Johnson Cleaners is closing on 5 February and moving to 61 Woodstock Road.

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • Silver Joggers starting up again
  • The Economist on Oxford/Cambridge
  • Revised Proposals for the Development of Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry
  • Marston Shops
  • London Road "Improvement" Scheme
  • Community Matters
  • Kennett House (block that includes Iceland)
  • Margaret Road zebra crossing work
  • Oxfordshire Transport Strategy
  • Old Marston parish council website
I cover news from the OX3 postcode in Headington and out as far as Barton, Sandhills and Risinghurst (see map). To feed into next week's summary you can comment on this article, or tweet either with the hashtag #ox3 or @mentioning @TonyOX3.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Latimer Road development

After the first round of public consultations last year, developers Frontier Estates have revised their proposals for their site on the corner of Latimer Road and London Road. They are mounting a public exhibition from 4 to 8pm on Tuesday 27 January, in the St Clement's Family Centre in Cross Street.

There is more information in Frontier's invitation. Frontier have not yet submitted a planning application for this potential development.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Headington Headlines #197

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 12 - 18 January.

Temple Bookbinders of Stephen Road have been awarded a Royal Warrant. This means they can now describe themselves as "By appointment to HM The Queen". The Oxford Mail report cites Bentley cars as another warrant holder, which is fine, but I'm not so sure about the comparison with baked beans (Heinz) and Creme Eggs (Cadbury).

@HeadingtonA, who organise the Farmers' Market, say they are working on bringing more stall-holders in after the number of traders dropped earlier this month.

Fire crews attended a 'small engine fire' on an @OxfordBusCo bus in Wood Farm on Tuesday. No passengers were affected.

Headington Hill Park car park (the one at the bottom of the Park) will be closed from today (19 Jan) while a new access road to the properties inside the Park is built.

A man was sentenced to three years imprisonment for two burglaries last October, one in Northway and one in Tilehouse Close.

In a well-signalled move, @Oxford_Brookes announced their long-term plan to move all teaching, research and supporting activity from Wheatley over the next ten years. This will obviously have a major effect on the Headington Campus and Headington generally, and the university has promised thorough consultation. Their official announcement has much more detail and is worth reading. I will write more on this story as it unfolds.

It was almost exactly two years ago I first reported that developers Haboakus had submitted two planning applications for sites in Northway (see this map). The 'Hab' part of their name is celebrity architect Kevin McCloud's company, although in what way if any he may be personally involved is not clear. Now at last work has started on the Dora Carr Close site which will provide 47 new homes: 15 three-bedroom houses, 4 four-bedroom houses and 28 one and two bedroom flats, and a state-of-the-art community centre. The buildings have been designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris of Camberwell, London. A search on this blog for Haboakus will give you the past hisory of this development.

In Headington Headlines 195 I reported that the Bury Knowle Club was on the market for £300k. Now Oxford-based Keble Homes has submitted a planning application (Ref 15/00062/FUL) to convert the Club, which is on the first floor of the shops on the west side of Windmill Road, into flats.

Starting today (Monday) diversions will be in place as work on the St Clements/Plain junction begins. City-bound traffic will be diverted down Dawson Street onto the Cowley Road to reach The Plain. Headington-bound traffic will use the Cowley Road, then Jeune Street to get back onto St Clements. Details and maps here.

Bill Simpson, of BBB Stores on London Road next to the Post Office, had a sarcastic letter published in the Oxford Mail under the title "Reasons to come to Headington".

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

Wikipedia knows about 'manicule' but oxforddictionaries doesn't.

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

  • Brookes moving teaching facilities from Wheatley to Headington
  • New Headington bus routes
  • Bury Knowle Club in Windmill Road
  • Brookes Estates Strategy
  • The Economist on Oxford/Cambridge
I cover news from the OX3 postcode in Headington and out as far as Barton, Sandhills and Risinghurst (see map). To feed into next week's summary you can comment on this article, or tweet either with the hashtag #ox3 or @mentioning @TonyOX3.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Headington Headlines #196

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 5 - 11 January.

The resumption of roadworks on both sides of the Headington roundabout led predictably to big traffic delays. They are likely to continue until May/June.

Then there were two stories about parking associated with the road works. In Windmill Road, single yellow lines appeared without warning across several residents' parking places. People were understandably upset, especially as they had paid for permits. It turned out it was all a mistake and the suspensions have been, er, suspended, though they might be reinstated sometime in the future if Windmill Road becomes a diversion route while the London Road works continue. I hope that's clear.

The second story broke in the Streetlife forum that operates in the Marston/Northway area. Again, parking restrictions appeared apparently without warning. Investigation by @theabingdontaxi found that the statutory notice fixed to the lamposts explains that this is a temporary measure and not enforceable without accompanying signage and that it's for the duration of the London Road improvement works. I imagine this is again a restriction that will be invoked if the need arises.

And it looks like still more roadworks, this time for the benefit of pedestrians and cyclists in Headington centre. @TheOxfordMail reports that @OxfordshireCC will start work this month to eliminate the flooding problem on the corner of London Road and Old High Street (not Windmill Road as stated in the article). I seem to remember that engineers have diagnosed a collapsed sewer as the cause of the problem, although the fall of the road surface needs re-setting too. @RosalindRogers has been campaigning for this for a long time!

Tesco announced the closure of 43 unprofitable stores. We don't know yet if Headington (@Tesco6880) will be one of them, nor whether Tesco will now scrap plans to open on the old Friar pub site in Marston.

The Holy Trinity Preservation group is holding a public meeting on 22 January at @TheMasonsArmsHQ to discuss the revised plans for extensions to the Church. All welcome.

As the general election campaign juggernaut begins to rumble into motion, I wrote a short summary of the candidates so far declared in the two Oxford constituencies, and made a handy twitter list for you to follow if you don't want to miss a word, at least from those of them that are on twitter.

And finally..... a tree blew down in Valentia Road in the storms.

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

  • Parcel Couriers
  • Maps
  • New Headington bus routes
  • Revised Proposals for the Development of Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry
  • Parking on pavement
  • Barton Road Park
I cover news from the OX3 postcode in Headington and out as far as Barton, Sandhills and Risinghurst (see map). To feed into next week's summary you can comment on this article, or tweet either with the hashtag #ox3 or @mentioning @TonyOX3.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

General Election candidates

Taking their cue from the major political parties, the national media have declared the General Election campaign season 'OPEN'. The election itself is still 17 weeks away, on 7 May, but in the two Oxford constituencies several candidates have already been announced by their parties. Here are the ones I know about so far.

Oxford East

Currently held by Andrew Smith (Lab)

CandidatePartyTwitter
GreenAnn Duncan 
UKIPIan Macdonald@IanMacdonald91
ConMelanie Magee@cllr_magee
LibDemMark Mann@oxfordmann
LabAndrew Smith@AndrewSmithMP

Oxford West & Abingdon

Currently held by Nicola Blackwood (Con)

CandidatePartyTwitter
ConNicola Blackwood@NicolaBlackwood
LabSally Copley@SallyCopley
UKIPAlan Harris 
LibDemLayla Moran@LaylaMoran
National Health ActionHelen Salisbury@HelenS_NHA
GreenLarry Sanders