Headington Headlines #288

Your weekly round-up of local news for 17 – 23 October.

The Access to Headington work started as planned on Monday. Read more in my note here. The contractors have been asked for confirmation that the Grade 2 listed 1667 highway stone on Warneford Lane will be protected from damage.

1667 Highway Stone, Warneford Lane
1667 Highway Stone, Warneford Lane
Photo: @headingtonnews

A knock-on effect of the roadworks is that Oxford University is proposing to reroute its Science Transit Shuttle down Lime Walk and Stapleton Road until Warneford Lane and Old Road are clear again. Highfield Residents’ Association is seeking discussions with the University, who have also been invited to the Headington Ward focus meeting tomorrow (Tuesday 25 October).

The Oxford Trust @scienceoxford has published detailed plans for the future of the Stansfeld site in Quarry. The scheme will provide a purpose-built science education centre for primary schools, and also a café and theatre. At the time of writing the plans hadn’t appeared on the City Council’s planning website.

News emerged of an armed robbery at BetFred on Cherwell Drive the week before last (Friday 14 October). A cashier was threatened with a knife. Police are appealing for information.

Yet more criticism of Southern Health Trust, this time in a Care Quality Commission report following an inspection of Slade House 2 about eight weeks ago.. The report finds that care provision ‘requires improvement’ in three out of five categories – safety, effectiveness and leadership; nor had some improvement measures promised earlier been completed:

The provider had told us that all the corrective actions specified in their action plans would have been implemented by the end of March 2016. During our inspection on 31 August and 1 September 2016 we found that not all of the recommended actions had been completed.

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • Disruption
  • Plans for 3,000 more homes to west of Barton Park
  • Loss of play equipment at Margaret Road Rec due to building works
  • Fundraising for a new climbing frame at Headington Quarry Foundation Stage School

Work begins on Access to Headington

The first phase of the first stage of works under the Access to Headington project started as planned on Monday 17 October. This initial work is to remodel the junction at Old Road/Warneford Lane/Roosevelt Drive/Gipsy Lane. Four-way traffic lights have been set up, manually controlled during working hours but inevitably causing significant delays to traffic in the area. I took these photos at a quiet time on Saturday 22 October.

The junction from Roosevelt Drive towards Gipsy Lane
The junction from Roosevelt Drive towards Gipsy Lane

Contractors Skanska have taken over the end of Grays Road as their site management area. The main work at the moment seems to involve excavation on the south side of Old Road to allow the road to be widened and an off-road cycle path created.

Excavations on south side of Old Road
Excavations on south side of Old Road

Apart from predictable delays to traffic and the No. 4 buses another impact of the work involves Oxford University’s Science Transit Shuttle service which runs between the science area in the city and the Old Road Campus. This normally runs via Morrell Avenue and Warneford Lane to Old Road. The university says that “from 31st October 2016 until such time as reliable journey times return” the service will “instead circulate via Lime Walk / Stapleton Road / London Road. The private service uses 16 seater minibuses running every 30 minutes between 7am and 7pm”. Highfield Residents’ Association is querying the use of Stapleton Road, which is narrow and has on-street parking as well as skips and tradesmen’s vans competing for space.

On the north side of Warneford Lane only a short distance from the junction an old highway stone is set against the iron railings of Cheney School grounds. Blue paint marks on the pavement pass less than a meter away. This I believe is the stone described in the Headington website as “a mileway stone near Cheney Lane dating from 1667 marking the point to which the city was responsible for the old road to London”. I hope the contractors will take care not to damage this piece of local history! [I added this picture later the same day.]

Highway stone and blue paint, Warneford Lane
Highway stone and blue paint, Warneford Lane

Headington Headlines #287

Your weekly round-up of local news for 10 – 16 October.

Police released e-fit pictures of the two men they want to question in connection with the abduction and rape of a schoolgirl.


Access to Headington roadworks start TODAY at the Old Road/Gipsy Lane/Warneford Lane/Roosevelt Drive junction. Expect 4-way traffic lights and inevitable delays. It seems too that all parking in Warneford Lane, on both sides, is suspended for several months.

Headington Live Advent @LiveAdvent2016 organisers are taking a year off and looking for helpers for 2017.

New vape shop @oxfordvapours opened on Monday in the shop that was BBB stores next to the old Post Office.

As predicted, @thespiritoftoad received change-of-use permission for their artisan distillery in the old Council depot in South Park (Cheney Lane).

Barton United FC @Bartonutdfc have joined twitter.

The funeral of the stillborn baby found on a Marston footpath earlier this year will be held at Wolvercote Cemetery tomorrow (Tuesday 18 October). The police have given her the name Raihana.

Parishioners of Holy Trinity Church in Quarry who are unhappy about the recently-approved plans for an extension to the church are planning to take their objections to the Diocese of Oxford in an attempt to get the scheme revoked.

In the ‘It Had To Happen Sometime’ section, the story broke that land belonging to Christ Church College and Wick Farm between Barton Park and the Elsfield road may be developed for housing. This will be hugely controversial as the land is Green Belt and in South Oxfordshire District, whose relations with the City Council over housing needs are lukewarm at best. I hope to write in more detail about this soon.

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

  • Shop Next To Starbucks
  • Pedestrian Safety in Quarry
  • Sick dogs related to Council spraying of organophosphate?
  • Plans for 3,000 more homes to west of Barton Park
  • Abandoned baby burial
  • Barton Park junction

Headington Headlines #286

Your weekly round-up of local news for 3 – 9 October.

@OUHospitals has installed a mobile operating theatre outside the Women’s Centre at the JR. It’s a temporary gynaecology theatre providing more space for births in the Women’s Centre.

mobile theatre at the JR

At last Katrina Percy has had to acknowledge that continuing to work at Southern Health isn’t a viable option for her. Here’s the Trust’s statement. The BBC reported she would get a payoff of “about £190,000”.

@CRAFTBurgerOx, opening where Dong Dong Noodle Bar was in Windmill Road, are on twitter. They open their doors at mid-day on Tuesday 11 October – that’s TOMORROW!

Costa coffee has submitted a planning application for a drive-through coffee shop at Headington Retail Park (as no-one calls it, or ‘next to Homebase’ to give it its proper name).

Aldi are recruiting for their new store on the same site.

Aldi recruitment poster

The Oxford Trust has submitted a planning application for the new science education centre it wants to build at the Stansfeld Centre in Quarry.

The route of the Oxford half marathon on Sunday passed through Old Marston, meaning several roads were closed for a few hours on the day. Parish and City councillors are upset at the organisation’s lack of consultation and its unwillingness to listen to residents’ concerns, which is a shame because it sours what is otherwise a worthwhile and fun event. Here’s a picture of runners not passing through Marston.

Oxford half marathon

The West Area Planning Committee is expected to give planning permission for a change of use which would allow @thespiritoftoad to set up an ‘artisan distillery’ on the site of the old Council depot at the top of South Park (see original story from June this year in HH 269). There is a restrictive covenant on the site which prevents the production and consumption of alcohol: the Council’s officers dismiss this as “not material” to the planning application but say that it will “need to be resolved separately with OPT” (Oxford Preservation Trust). See the Committee agenda paper here (para 26 on p. 8).


My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • Local Upholstery Cleaner recommendations
  • Disruption
  • Burning plastic Beaumont Rd/Green Rd

Headington Headlines #285

Your weekly round-up of local news for 26 September – 2 October.

A 14 year old girl was abducted and raped at around 8.25 on Wednesday morning. The abduction took place near the junction of Banbury Road and Marston Ferry Road. The victim was found around mid-day in Cavendish Drive, Marston. Police are looking for two white men and a silver car, possibly a VolksWagen, and on Saturday released descriptions of the men. Anyone with information, video footage etc is asked to contact Thames Valley Police on the 101 number quoting incident number 1631, or you can report anonymously at Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org/

Earlier in the week, early on Sunday morning, a woman was sexually assaulted in Cuckoo Lane between Pullen’s Lane and Marston Road. Police are looking for two male suspects.

News emerged of a stabbing in Barton ten days ago (Thursday 22 September). A man was stabbed in the head by what is thought to be a Stanley knife and then robbed. @TheOxfordMail describe the location as “an alleyway behind the playground on Waynflete Road”.

Headington Farmers’ Market relaunched on Saturday with more – and new – stalls, owls and other animals, and even a pianist.

After sucessful lobbying by local councillors the faded and ‘unenforceable’ parking control lines in Stapleton and Bickerton Roads are going to repainted.

Oxfordshire County Council held a public exhibition of the first work to start under the Access to Headington scheme. Work starts at the Roosevelt Drive/Old Road/Gipsy Lane junction on 17 October – see the detailed drawing here. My summary note and more links are here.

Access to Headington Exhibition panels
Exhibition panels

There was a power cut in central Headington on Thursday. Waitrose had to close all their chilled food displays.

Two fire engines turned out to New High Street on Tuesday evening, to what turned out to be a small fire in a tumble dryer in the Royal Standard. No-one was hurt.

Work should be starting today on the new pavilion at the Margaret Road recreation groun.

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

  • “Access to Headington”: start of work
  • Descending Headington Hill in the cycle lane… beware walkers.
  • Loss of trees in Headington Quarry
  • The X90 and Trafalgar Square COMPLAIN

Access to Headington starts 17 October

The hotly-debated and much-anticipated work on the Access to Headington scheme finally starts on 17 October and involves the reconfiguration of the junction of Roosevelt Drive, Old Road, Gipsy Lane and Warneford Lane. This first part is expected to last until mid-February. A small public exhibition on 30 September and 1 October gave people a chance to meet some of the project team, ask questions and leave feedback.

Access to Headington Exhibition panels
Exhibition panels

The work itself will be carried out in three phases each with a different temporary road layout. Four-way traffic lights will be in place throughout, manually controlled during the day to minimise traffic delays.

Once the work is finished there will be advance stop lines for cycles at all the traffic lights, two car lanes out of Roosevelt Drive, and on Old Road a new off-road cycle lane city-bound and an on-road cycle lane towards the Churchill and Old Road Campus. The full plan drawing is here.

You can find more information including FAQs and keep up to date with progress on the County Council’s website, where you can also sign up for a fortnightly email newsletter. These links are also under ‘Useful links’ on the right.

Headington Headlines #284

Your weekly round-up of local news for 19 – 25 September.

While we wait for confirmation of when and where the heatpipe roadworks will start, the County Council has opened applications for short-term visitors’ parking permits for people who will have work going on outside their houses. You can apply here.

Nor do we have any firm details yet about the timing of the Access to Headington road works. All we have at the moment is that work is scheduled to start on 17 October to reconfigure the Roosevelt Drive/Old Road junction. Among other changes this will provide two lanes coming out of Roosevelt Drive which is intended to provide more capacity for when Churchill Drive is closed for heatpipe work.

The latest fall-out in the sorry tale of Southern Health was the Chairman, Tim Smart, who resigned ‘for personal reasons’. His broadcast interview answering questions about Katrina Percy being slotted into a new job on the same salary with no due selection process showed a man out of his depth and out of control of the situation.

A motorcyclist suffered head injuries in a crash at Headington roundabout on Thursday morning. He was taken to the JR.

A burst water main flooded Trinity Road in Quarry on Wednesday.

Even grown-ups were discovering their inner 6 year old by doing chalk drawings on the pavement in Headington’s Big Draw on Saturday. Overnight rain had washed it all away by Sunday morning, but then ephemerality is part of the artistic concept, or so I’m told.

Just one active post on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum this week:

  • Campaign Against Cuts to Services at Horton Hospital Banbury