"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, 18 August 2014

Little Waitrose - First Impressions

I went to the Shell petrol station this morning and took the opportunity for a quick first look round Headington's latest convenience store, "little Waitrose".

First impressions are good - the store is light, and has a much more spacious feel than say Morrisons or Tesco, both of which are very cramped. There seemed to be a good selection of Waitrose stock, including fresh fruit and veg, packet salads etc. I noticed fresh pasta too. There are basic toiletries and household goods. I didn't compare prices but others have said things are more expensive than in the main store, which is no surprise. I did notice one hallmark of the convenience store - bananas and other fruit are priced per piece, not by weight.

Fans of the Waitrose loyalty scheme need to be warned - their My Waitrose card has no value here. There's no free coffee, no free papers and no 10%-off offers. I have heard these benefits may come later, though personally I'm doubtful if it will happen.

The main problem, and my specific complaint, is that the three or four checkout stations are shared between the store and the petrol. On my visit only one was staffed, meaning those only wanting to pay for petrol have to queue and wait while grocery shoppers (thankfully only one in my case) have their purchases processed and packed. This will not be popular with motorists who only want petrol, especially at busy times.

The converse is that people buying petrol and groceries spend longer in the shop and block the petrol pumps. I took the only free pump, and between starting to fill up and finally leaving the forecourt, hardly any of the other vehicles had moved on.

If Waitrose can fix this problem I think the store should do well.

Headington Headlines #176

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 11 - 17 August.

The 'little Waitrose' at the Shell petrol station opened on Thursday after an early hiccup when they had to close for a while because of a 'system fault'. Since Londis closed it is the only convenience store in Headington open all night.

The Friends of Old Headington joined twitter as @Old_Headington.

A 39 year old man was attacked by a group of 15 young men in Blackstock Close, Wood Farm on Monday. Police are asking for any information and witnesses.

The H1 bus is a free service running Wednesdays and Fridays between Old Marston and Headington shops. From 3 September it will also go through Northway with stops in Westlands Drive, Halliday Hill and Meaden Hill. More information on the e-democracy forum, including this link to download a timetable.

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • City council by-election in Quarry & Risinghurst ward
  • Excessively bright light at Tesco ATM
  • Headington & Marston on Twitter
  • Headingon Shell Petrol station and Little Waitrose now open
  • Free H1 Bus to now serve Northway
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, 11 August 2014

Headington Headlines #175

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 4 - 10 August.

In a remarkable display of ineptitude, Oxfordshire County Council have still failed to install the disabled access lift at Headington Library, and have ignored planning requirements for the visual appearance of the new construction on what is a Grade 2 listed building. After a site meeting on Wednesday everything is on hold pending a decision on whether to re-render or paint the extension.

It's always politically risky to trumpet achievements before they happen. Earlier this year local Conservatives praised 'Conservative-led' Oxfordshire County Council for 'prioritising' the London Road repairs and reconfiguration. Not only has the work - originally said to be happening 'in the summer'- not yet started, we now learn it won't be finished until well into 2015. Details here.

The Headington Royal British Legion in Edgecombe Road, Barton has closed due to lack of funds.

The Mount Pleasant Guest House (by the Royal Standard and Britannia pubs)and the Bell House Guest House (corner of Ransay Road) are both for sale (thanks to @headingtonnews for spotting these).

A planning application (ref 14/00983/FUL) to build a 55-bed dementia day- and residential care home at 1 Pullens Lane has been turned down by Oxford City's East Area Planning Committee. Councillors said it did not fit with the area's "rural tranquility". The property is the first on the left after the entrance to the allotments (map, boundaries approximate).

Labour Councillor @laurencepbaxter (Quarry & Risinghurst) has confirmed he is standing down from the City Council. He is taking up a teaching post in Prague. The by-election will be on 18 September.

The main path through The Croft is closed for about another week for work on overhanging trees.

The @ButchersArmsOxf will be closed for refurbishment from 18 to 26 August, opening again at 4.30pm on 27 August. They tell me there'll be a new, improved bar and "fabulous toilets".

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • Headington & Marston in the First World War
  • I see a new local rival discussion site has been set up.
  • Silver Joggers
  • Parking on pavement
  • Post Here to be positive about Headington, Marston, Oxford, Oxfordshire and life in general.
  • Headington makes it to number 24.....
  • Excessively bright light at Tesco ATM
  • London road from Hamburger roundabout to headington
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, 4 August 2014

Headington Headlines #174

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 28 July - 3 August.

Headington's Londis closed down last Sunday (27 July). It now stands empty and its future is uncertain.

As one door closes another opens. The new Tesco Express opened on Tuesday morning. The store and its manager are on twitter as @Tesco6880. Also 'Headington' is apparently 'Area 5' in Tesco-speak.

Multiple reports of a Big Pong across Headington on Monday evening attracted interest from @BBCPhilGayle and the Oxford Times. Unconfirmed explanations included muck-spreading in the Barton fields.

A van overturned on Jack Straw's Lane on Tuesday.

The Barton Community Association is reported to be thinking of starting the process of forming a Parish Council. Still some way to go before it happens.

Not news, but a round-up of views on the Barton Park link road as developers confirm a planning application is scheduled for later in the year.

Headington School @HeadingtonSch celebrates its centenary next year and has a website dedicated to the event.

Vice-Chancellor Janet Beer is leaving @Oxford_Brookes at the end of January 2015 to take up the Vice-Chancellorship of Liverpool University.

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • Headington Londis
  • Satellite dish outside Tesco
  • Smoking at JR Hospital
  • Headington & Marston in the First World War
  • the night time stench
  • I see a new local rival discussion site has been set up.
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, 28 July 2014

Headington Headlines #173

Here's my weekly round-up of local news for 21 - 27 July.

A cyclist suffered head and leg injuries and was taken to hospital after a collision outside the Shell petrol station early on Tuesday morning. His injuries were said to be serious but not life-threatening.

A police operation in Northway on Monday morning resulted in 50 drivers being stopped and one car confiscated. Some bizarre and worrying examples in the brief report.

There's talk of forming a cricket team in Marston. Contact @OldMarstonPC if you're interested.

Friends of Quarry are considering putting in a bid for the Stansfeld Outdoor Centre, although the property is not yet on the market.

There's been a spate of burglaries in Headington and Marston.

The Co-Wheels car sharing club has been named a Social Innovation Pioneer by corporate consultants Deloitte.

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • Smoking at JR Hospital
  • Carterton/Witney bus to JR Hospital
  • Fitness Classes in Piper St Scout Hall
  • Headington bike hire scheme
  • Satellite dish outside Tesco
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.