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

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

£12.5m for "Access to Headington"

When it comes to local transport in Headington, Oxfordshire County Council never fails to surprise us. Two years ago the Headington Transport Strategy emerged from nowhere, produced a report, then disappeared into the Russian doll hierarchy of the Oxford Transport Strategy which in turn is part of the "Connecting Oxfordshire" strategic transport plan, or LTP4 as it is known. This search of my blog will give you the story of the original Headington Transport Strategy and several local responses to the consultation.

More recently many organisations have commented on the wider LTP4, including some local to Headington - Headington Action and the local LibDem Councillors have both made their comments available to the public. You can find their views and those of a dozen or so others via links on the Oxford Futures website.

And now, before they have considered the responses to LTP4, or seen the Officers' summary of responses, or given Councillors the chance to discuss a revised version of the consultation report, the County Council announce they have secured £12.5m for transport improvements under the headline of "Access to Headington". Local Councillors have not seen how the Council is proposing to spend this money — they have a briefing on Thursday evening. The public must wait until the following day to see the plans — a series of open presentations has been announced starting this Friday.
  • Friday 3 July, St Anthony of Padua Church, Headley Way, 1pm-8pm;
  • Saturday 4 July, New Marston Primary School, Copse Lane, 10am to 4pm;
  • Thursday, July 9, Wood Farm School, Titup Hall Drive, 1pm to 8pm;
  • Saturday 11 July, St Andrew’s Primary School, London Road, 10am to 4pm.
The Oxford Mail quotes the County's cabinet member for the Environment (which include transport matters) David Nimmo-Smith as saying "The funding will help us to make better use of an already busy road network in coming years with the emphasis on public transport, cycling and walking."

The project area includes the B4495 from Cherwell Drive/Marsh Lane to Horspath Driftway and the Eastern Bypass, as well as Old Road. Proposed changes include:
  • Junction improvements
  • New cycle lanes and crossings
  • New pedestrian crossings
  • Changes to on-street parking
  • New bus lanes
  • Localised road widening to accommodate the above bus and cycle improvements
The implementation of changes is planned for summer 2016 to spring 2018.
The changes are intended to
  • Manage growth in car traffic – planning for more walking, cycling and use of public transport
  • Support jobs growth in health, innovation and education by improving access to major sites such as hospitals and universities
  • Improving access to the major employment sites by sustainable modes
  • Promote health and wellbeing by reducing transport’s environmental impact

The area involved as described above is, as some will recall, part of both a Rapid Transit Bus Route and a Super Cycle Route put forward in LTP4.

It's not possible to comment further without having seen the latest proposals. We can only hope that local input to LTP4 has been heard and taken into account in this latest genie-out-of-the-bottle scheme from the County.

Quarry Velo inaugural ride

I've reported occasionally in Headington Headlines about a start-up cycling club emerging from, well let's be honest, the bar at The Mason's Arms in Headington Quarry. Quarry Velo @QuarryVelo as it is called organised the Quarry Roubaix ride a couple of weeks ago as part of Oxford Bike Week - an evening ride around all the sections of cobbled streets in the city centre ending unsurprisingly at The Kings Arms. One of the aims of Oxford Bike Week is to encourage more people to get on their bikes. Quarry Velo supports this, and intends to put on a series of social rides open to any- and everyone. Their first ride — about 20 - 25 miles at a comfortable pace — is next Sunday 5 July. If you're interested, meet outside Bury Knowle Park opposite Stile Road for an 8.30 start. Lycra is not compulsory! For more details don't tweet me, tweet to @QuarryVelo.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Headington Headlines #220

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 22 - 28 June.

Max Webb, aka SpiderMax, who lives in Headington and goes to Cheney School, is training to be a free-runner. He has landed a role as a stunt double in a major production due to be filmed later this year. He has also been part of the @MessyJamOxford street dance group run by @EshaMessyjam.

There's been an wild outbreak of utility-type street marking in Sandfield Road, in yellow, white and blue. Who's going to be doing what there and when was the question. @RuthWilk says it is preliminary survey work for a direct heat link between the JR and the Churchill. I'll try to find out more. Similar markings have appeared in Latimer and Stapleton too, which seems to back up the heat-pipe story.

There are fresh markings too in nearby Staunton Road. These seem to be to do with moving/replacing the street lights.

A local 13 year old boy, Aown Dogar, died after falling into the Thames near Donnington Bridge on Thurdsay evening. He was pulled from the river and taken to hospital but failed to recover. Aown went to Cheney School and had recently played his first competitive match for Quarry Rovers under-15s. Details are not clear but police are not treating his death as suspicious.

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

The solitary post on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum this week:

  • Cafe Culture
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, 22 June 2015

Headington Headlines #219

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 15 - 21 June.

Works on the eastern by-pass mean a 30mph speed limit between Cowley and Headington for the next six months while Thames Water replaces the water main that caused severe flooding in Normandy Crescent. Cycle lanes will also be closed at various times.

Risinghurst residents have submitted a formal applicarion to have The Ampleforth Arms registered as an Asset of Community Value.

Choirs from Bayards Hill, St Andrew's, Wood Farm and Windmill primary schools took part in the Oxfordshire Festival of Voices in Dorchester Abbey on Tuesday.

A person riding a bicycle suffered life-threatening injuries in a collision with a car on Thursday morning. It happened at the Old Road/Gipsy Lane junction: police are appealing for any witnesses.

Work on the new classrooms at @WindmillOxford continues, but people are starting to wonder if they will be ready for the start of the newx term.

The @OXONBIKE hire scheme opened two new stations this week in association with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, one at the Warneford and one at Littlemore. The Oxford Mail carried a report.

Saturday's rather miserable weather brightened for yesterday's (Sunday) Old Headington Open Gardens day.

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

  • St Leonards Road
  • Electronic issues in St Leonard's Road Car Park
  • Live in Oxford? Fill in our survey on online services (takes 10 minutes)
  • Noise in Quarry
  • Mouse & Trousers Band - Saturday 20th June
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, 15 June 2015

Headington Headlines #218

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 8 - 14 June.

Fire crews went to a fire at a flat in Coleman's Hill, near the Green Rad roundabout, on Tuesday. A dropped cigarette is thought to have caused the fire. The resident was taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.

The Marston Brook turned bright green on Thursday. It turned out that Thames Water had used a harmless dye to help trace the source of a blocked sewer. For those interested in sewer blockages, this one was caused by an accumulation of solidified fat and wet wipes.

The Mason's Arms re-opened its main bar after refurbishment.

A rumour circulated that an unknown developer - possibly Keble Homes - might be interested in Blanchford's site in Windmill Road. The company has denied any knowledge. See the e-democracy forum for the discussion.

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • strange house of rubbish in Maston hidden away in trees
  • Redeveloping Blanchfords site?
  • Risinghurst Fete and Picnic 2015
  • Ampleforth Arms
  • Electronic issues in St Leonard's Road Car Park
  • High supply voltage and light bulb failures in Old Headington
  • Drone over Headington
  • Live in Oxford? Fill in our survey on online services (takes 10 minutes)
  • Cafe Culture
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.