Headington Headlines #350

Your weekly round-up of local news for 25- 31 December.

A quiet week with nothing particular to report but two planning applications from before Christmas deserve a mention. Best wishes to all in OX3 for a peaceful and productive 2018.

The change-of-use application (ref. 17/02969/B56) to build 134 flats on the Nielsen site was approved on 21 December. The Oxford Times gives the background to the story. I’ve written a separate article about the City’s conditions relating to access by bike and on foot.

No surprises that the Planning Review Committee meeting on 13 December gave permission for the development of Cotuit Hall in Pullens Lane (see my earlier article). This was the scheme originally rejected by East Area Planning Committee for failing to comply with several policies in the City’s Local Plan and the Headington Neighbourhood Plan. These non-compliances will now be addressed in conditions to be drawn up by City Officers under delegated powers – a weakness in the planning process which in my opinion avoids close scrutiny both of the drafting of the terms and the eventual outcome.

My favourite Headington-related tweet:

A pair of tweets this week. There’s a narrow boat on the Oxford Canal called ‘Cuckoo Lane’.

And here’s a picture of the boat:

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

  • Over-60s exercise classes starting in Old Headington

Active Travel for Nielsen Residents

On 21 December 2017 the City Council gave prior approval to a change of use (ref: 17/02969/B56) allowing the conversion of the Nielsen building by the A40 next to Thornhill P&R into 134 flats. There were several conditions attached to the approval, which was a delegated decision. Campaigners and supporters of active travel will be pleased to see five conditions requiring better access to the site by foot and on cycles, cycle parking, and travel information for residents.

Proposed first floor plan

These two drawings may help put the text in context:

Condition 3 calls for “improvements … to the footpath to the south of the site … to create an appropriate shared footway and cycle access into the site. [This] must be of a sufficient standard for shared pedestrian and cycle use and must be appropriate for safe and convenient use year round.” This access leads into Risinghurst – good news for The Ampleforth!

Condition 4: “Improvements … for pedestrians accessing the site from the proposed vehicular access point to the north of the site. The scheme shall detail appropriate levels of street lighting and footway widths… [and] shall be carried out … before the development … is first occupied.”

Condition 5: “Improve the … current secondary vehicular exit, towards the west of the site, for the use of pedestrians and cyclists. The scheme shall provide details of the closure of the exit for vehicular use, and improvements to be made to the pedestrian and cycle environment including; appropriate levels of street lighting and the reinstatement of the footway and cycle route along the southern site of the A40 at this access. The improvements shall be carried out … before the development … is first occupied.”

Condition 6 specifies a minimum of 326 easily accessible cycle parking spaces, and Condition 7 requires there to be a Travel Plan Co-ordinator for the site and for a Residential Travel Information Pack to be given to every resident when they move in.

Of course, the fiasco of cycle provision at Westgate isn’t a good precedent. Although we will have to wait and see how the Nielsen site turns out it seems to be a step in the right direction. But the city planners will have to keep their eye on the ball to make sure the developers deliver good quality schemes to satisfy these conditions.

Other links:

Headington Headlines #349

Your weekly round-up of local news for 18 – 24 December.

Bins will be collected one day later than normal this week, back to normal next week.

For food shop opening times over Christmas and New Year and other useful seasonal information see headington.org.uk.

The cut-through to the JR from the private road off Sandfield Road will be closed for the day on 1 January (6.00am on the day to 6.00am on the 2nd.).

The story about the Shark possibly getting listed status hit the national media. It was featured on ITV News, and has been picked up by some national dailies.

Parts of OX3, particularly Risinghurst, were out of water on Tuesday evening. Thames Water reported the fault as fixed at 1.000am on Wednesday morning.

Cyril Beavon, ex-OUFC footballer, who lived in Northway died at the age of 80.

@OUH_Estates won an award for Something In A Complicated Category To Do With The Heatpipe. But congratulations anyway to them and @VitalEnergi.

The stationery shop/gallery in the old post office has closed.

There were no new posts on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum this week.

However you celebrate this time of year and whatever you call it, have a peaceful and happy break!