Headington Headlines #338

Your weekly round-up of local news for 2 – 8 October.

It was all kicking off at the JR …

From today (Monday 9 October) patients using the Manor Surgery car park must register their car at reception when they attend for an appointment.

The Barton Park developers have submitted their plans for a controlled parking zone (CPZ) in Barton Park. The documents are on the council website under reference 15/03642/CND. There are two drawings, both of them of such poor quality that they don’t convey much information; I tried and failed to understand what they are supposed to show. But as this is all discharging a condition on the original planning application, and acceptance will be a delegated decision (read ‘tick the box’ and ‘rubber stamp’), and there doesn’t seem to be any consultation either, whatever the plans are supposed to show will no doubt be what happens. Or perhaps not, because nobody will know either way.

The Oxford half-marathon came to Marston again on Sunday, accompanied by the now usual complaints about non-consultation and no warning about road closures.

I checked to see if you can get safely into Barton Park and the marketing suite for the new homes if you want to go on foot or by bike. I’m glad to say you can!

My favourite Headington-related tweet:

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

  • Free Exercise Bike
  • Road works at Roosevelt Drive
  • Anyone know of CCTV showing road between Headington Cemetery and the Black Boy?

Headington Headlines #329

Your weekly round-up of local news for 31 July – 6 August.

Black Mamba Tattoos in Windmill Road has moved into the nearby Vente Hairdressers.

News broke on Tuesday that the Trauma Unit at the JR was unsafe if a fire broke out. There are several problems including, inevitably, the cladding. The Trust decided to evacuate the building and move patients and beds elsewhere in the hospital. This was completed by the end of Friday afternoon.

Connor Sparrowhawk’s mother’s personal details were leaked to medical staff facing a tribunal to decide if any of them were at fault over Connor’s death.

Barton residents are being offered a free course in video production and the chance to make a film about how they travel around the local area.

Some properties in Colwell Drive, Barton were evacuated on Thursday after a tree fell on a house. Luckily no-one was injured.

Bury Knowle Park is one of 6 Oxford Parks to be awarded a Green Flag this year.

I made a map of all 729 HMOs in OX3 (HMO = house in multiple occupancy). It’s taken from Oxford City’s published register dated 21 July 2017. Go on, take a look!

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

  • I see stagecoach has published a bus road design guide
  • Local Plan 2036

Headington Headlines #323

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

As predicted last week, the start of the Access to Headington work on Headley Way which was due today has been postponed to 24 July to allow Thames Water to carry out sewer replacement work in St Clements first. The St Clements work means traffic lights and closures for two months.

Judy Webb, naturalist, conservationist and leading light of the Friends of Lye Valley @FriendLyeValley received an Oxford City Certificate of Honour “for 16 years of service as a volunteer promoting nature conservation within Oxford”. She was presented with her certificate by Oxfordshire Deputy Lieutenant Lady Helen Baker.

Judy Webb receiving her Certificate of Honour
Judy Webb receiving her Certificate of Honour

Oxford City’s Executive Board ‘made’ (i.e. approved) the Headington Plan. To complete the process it still needs confirmation by the full City Council, which will happen next month.

The Oxford Mail reports that the OU Hospitals Trust is considering installing number plate recognition controls at the hospital car parks.

The day before the new parliament started, Oxford East’s new MP @anneliesedodds was tipped by the Huffington Post as one of ‘nine MPs tipped to shine‘ in the new parliament. They predict a significant role in Labour’s Brexit team.

I was one of a group of 14 locals who enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Energy Project at the JR Hospital on Thursday. After a short presentation giving an overview of the project we were shown the new boilers and the 4.5MW CHP engine. They’ve managed to fit some impressive equipment and miles of pipes into the existing hospital structure without losing any of the hospital’s working time.

The man who pleaded guilty to the murder in Windmill Road in February (see HH319 and HH305) was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years 10 months. Egidio Da Silva Alves murdered his brother-in-law Domingos Ramalho in a family feud.

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

  • Strimmer found

Headington Headlines #320

Your weekly round-up of local news for 29 May – 4 June.

I know of only one more hustings for Oxford East, and it’s today (Monday) at 6.30pm in the Sheldonian Theatre, organised by Oxford University Students’ Union. It’s open to all and you can register on Eventbrite.

The hustings organised by Churches Together in Headington was on Thursday (1 June). It was well-attended and four of the five candidates were there; only Labour’s Anneliese Dodds was missing due to a prior commitment. She was represented by City Council leader Bob Price. It was a polite affair at least up to the time when I had to leave, though I gather it got a bit livelier once discussion was thrown open to the floor.

Whether or not you’ve been to a hustings, or have been doorstepped or leafleted by any of the parties, and whoever you support please turn out to vote on Thursday.

Turning to other matters, for the record all the heatpipe roadworks are definitely over. Here’s the last road to be cleared, photographed yesterday.

Churchill Drive after the heatpipe work was completed, June 2017
Churchill Drive after the heatpipe work was completed, June 2017

Although Access to Headington work on The Slade is far from finished, the countdown to the next phase, Headley Way, has begun. There’s a public exhibition of the plans for the work today (5 June) at the Northway Community Centre, Dora Carr Close from 2.00 – 6.00 pm. Engineers from the County will be there to answer questions and listen to your comments but it’s not a formal consultation. No further significant changes to this phase of the scheme are likely.

The Headington Festival took place over the weekend. The extra-large Saturday market was busy in the sunshine and so were the stalls and entertainments in Bury Knowle Park on Sunday, even though the sunshine had given way to cloud.

After nearly two decades when private schools have dominated the competition, St Joseph’s Primary School on Headley Way has won the Oxfordshire Under-11 Chess League. They beat Magdalen College School to win the championship.

The disabled spaces at the JR car park No. 2 were closed off this week. A temporary steel structure and a large crane appeared. This is what the Hospital Trust said on their facebook page:

You may have noticed a very large crane – and the temporary closure of some spaces – in Car Park 2 on the John Radcliffe site. This is to allow vital replacement air handling units to be lifted onto the rooftop of the hospital over the next week. We’re sorry for the disruption and inconvenience and ask you to bear with us during this period.

The first phase of work will last until the evening of Monday 5 June. From today (Friday 2 June), the roundabout by the main entrance, as well as part of Car Park 2, will be closed to allow the crane to be brought in.

A second crane will be brought onto the JR site on Saturday 10 June to deliver steelwork and air handling units, which will then be lifted onto the rooftop of the hospital. This will affect the roundabout by the main entrance only.

Crane in JR car park
Crane in JR car park

The Oxford Mail reports that The Grill House, opening where Connell’s estate agents used to be (next to Bury Knowle Park), is run by the same man who owns the Old Mill Coffee Shop in Chipping Norton. A good sign is that The Old Mill has a five-star hygiene rating.

The anger at the way Frontier Estates has been trying to acquire land to build more speculative student accommodation has been growing. Cllr Alex Hollingsworth has become involved, and apparently the draft new Local Plan for the City which will be out for consultation in the next few months includes an intention to curb such developments. The Oxford Mail ran the story, and to follow the local debate you need to go to the e-democracy forum.

My favourite Headington-related tweet:

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

  • Frontier Estates Multiple Site London Road / Barton Road
  • Yellow dust around St Leonard’s Rd
  • Lost dog
  • Lost Keys

Headington Headlines #311

Your weekly round-up of local news for 27 March – 2 April.

Last week I was premature in announcing the end of the heatpipe works in Headington’s residential streets, but now it is indeed true. Not that all the work is complete – parts of Churchill Drive will be closed until the end of May, and the work to link the heatpipe across the London Road starts today (3 April) and continues until 28 April. Details of what the London Road work involves are here.

All my posts about the project are under the ‘Energy Project’ tab in the main menu, and there’s a page of links and contact details here.

Staying with roadworks, here’s the latest from the County on the Access to Headington work on The Slade. It’s due to start in a week’s time, on 10 April.

The by-election in Barton & Sandhills following the death of Van Coulter will be on 4 May, the same day as the County elections & @HeadingtonPlan referendum. Labour have announced their candidate, Mark Ladbrooke. Here he is in the Oxford Mail in 2013 as an NHS union ‘strong man‘, and in February this year as Secretary of a group opposing the changes in the NHS. Nominations close tomorrow (Tuesday) and I’ll give a full list when I have it.

Some people will have three ballot papers that day. Everyone gets to vote in the County Council elections; Barton & Sandhills will vote for a new city councillor; and everyone living in the Headington Plan area will be able to vote in the Plan’s referendum. I understand the referendum will offer a simple ‘YES/NO’ answer to the question “Do you want Oxford City Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Headington to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”. The results of the referendum and the by-election are expected overnight on 4 – 5 May. Poll cards have already been issued.

polling card

This week’s scheduled meeting of the East Area Planning Committee has been cancelled due to ‘lack of business to discuss’. Which means there’s still no decision on the Wychwood Lane development application on the boundary of the C S Lewis Nature Reserve in Risinghurst.

An unexpected story broke with speculation that OUH Hospitals might be offered land at Wick Farm to build staff accommodation, car parking and care facilities. The land is in South Oxfordshire DC and I don’t know whether it is earmarked for development in the new Local Plan they are working on, so for the time being I think any claims should be treated with caution.

More gratuitous vandalism this week. All the windows of the library bus at St Nicholas Primary School in Marston were smashed overnight on Monday, and the school’s CCTV cameras ripped out.

The Garden flower shop turned yellow in support of @OUFCOfficial‘s appearance in the final of the Checkatrade Trophy against Coventry at Wembley on Sunday. Sadly, the match ended 2-1 to Coventry.

#COYY at The Garden, Headington shops
#COYY at The Garden, Headington shops

Another takeaway food shop in Headington? Planning application 17/00639/FUL is for a change of use of what used to be Connell’s Estate Agents (before they moved up the road) opposite Skipton Building Society from “Estate Agent (Use Class A2) to Hot Food Takeaway (Use Class A5)”. The applicant, Mr Selahattin Kaya, used to run a restaurant company called KARAZAN Ltd which was voluntarily dissolved in 2011. The consultation on the application closes on 27 April.

While we’re on the subject of food outlets, Dragon Express, who are taking over the old Rose Tree Restaurant, have applied to remove the outdoor seating and reinstate the area as ‘public highway’. I can’t remember ever seeing anyone sitting out there anyway, but perhaps I was never there at the right time.

My favourite Headington-related tweet:

The reservoir is at the top of Headington Hill, behind the one that’s visible from the road.

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

  • Hospital parking
  • Marston Medical Centre.
  • Plans for 3,000 more homes to west of Barton Park
  • Disruption
  • Local elections, Thursday 4 May 2017
  • Dangerous opening

Headington Headlines #305

Your weekly round-up of local news for 13 – 19 February.

A man named Domingos Romalho died after a fatal stabbing in Windmill Road on Monday. He was taken to the JR but died in hospital. Windmill Road was closed for some time while police investigated the incident. Egidio Da Silva Alves was arrested the same day and charged on Wednesday with murder. He appeared in court on Thursday, did not enter a plea, and was remanded until April. A Thames Valley Police statement is here.

I wrote last September (see HH 282) about plans to build a new secondary free school, the Swan School, in Marston. Locals are concerned about the extra traffic an 880-pupil school would generate. There are now reports that the school could be delayed by as much as two years. @OldMarstonPC is holding a meeting about it this evening (Monday 21 Feb) at 6.30pm in the Mortimer Hall. Meanwhile at a Cabinet meeting tomorrow (Tuesday 21 February) the County Council will probably decide to sell the site to the Department for Education for £1 (yes, that’s One Pound) and then contribute up to £2m (that’s Two Million Pounds) towards the cost of the school – see item 9 on the Agenda.

The fact that 76 Sandfield Road is up for sale made the local press. Why? Because it used to be the home of J R R Tolkien. Apparently not everyone knows the name. It can be yours for a mere £1.25m.

After last week’s coverage on Radio Oxford the Oxford Mail has an article explaining why the City Council is against expanding parking at the JR Hospital.

A cyclist was taken to hospital with head injuries after a collision with a car in Bayswater Road, Barton on Tuesday. The car didn’t stop. @TVP_oxford have appealed for witnesses (incident number 233).

New Marston Post Office, which is in the Costcutter on Old Marston Road, reopened last week after a refit. It’s open for longer hours than before and offers a wider range of services.

The Nuffield Orthpaedic centre was partially closed for a time on Thursday while emergency services attended a ‘chemical incident’ involving chemicals used in a hydrotherapy pool.

Jacobs Chop House has re-opened after morphing into Jacobs Brasserie.

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

  • Petition to preserve the Somerset House pub on Marston Road
  • Proposed abolition of Oxford City Council
  • Local Government? Cuts to services? Is it time to bite the bullet?
  • Bells tolling in early hours
  • London Road – cycle path
  • This evening’s meeting with Cllr Roz Smith
  • Hospital parking

Headington Headlines #304

Your weekly round-up of local news for 6 – 12 February.

The @HeadingtonPlan has been through its final inspection and has been approved by the Headington Plan Forum. It’s now up to @OxfordCity to approve a referendum which if all goes well could be held in May at the same time as the County Council elections.

Three men were jailed for carrying out an armed robbery at Lloyd’s Bank in Headington in January last year.

The east Area Planning Committee approved @ScienceOxford‘s plans for the Stansfeld Field Centre site in Quarry.

The Oxford Mail carried a report about the City Council changing its mind over the demolition of a block of flats on Underhill Circus in Barton. The general regeneration programme there is still continuing.

We already knew that the City Council will take over a proportion of the new housing in @BartonPark_. It’s now reported that the City’s wholly-owned housing company which was set up last year will take over 95 units when they become available next year.

@BBCBentham on @BBCOxford radio did an item on Thursday about the suggestion that there should be a multi-storey car park at the JR. You can hear it on catch-up until 10 March. The first slot with Headington Cllr Altaf Khan starts at 39’10” and the second, with a multi-storey car park enthusiast from Birmingham (yes really), at 1h39’20”.

In other car park news, the patients’ car park at the Manor Surgery is open again at last. It looks well laid out with clear paved footways, disabled parking spaces and hopefully no more puddles!

Although Headington & Marston have a lively presence on the e-democracy forum some people have also subscribed to local messaging site Streetlife. This operation has been taken over by another, Nextdoor, which offers a similar platform for local discussion and exchange of information. Anyone thinking of signing up would do well to read the thread on the e-democracy forum, especially Stephanie Jenkins’ experience of being automatically designated “lead member”. And although it’s probably no worse than facebook, twitter or any other social media operation, you might like to read their privacy policy, especially as they require real names and actual street addresses.

There’s an online petition to save The Somerset pub on Marston Road, which closed in 2014. It was the last pub to survive in New Marston. The petition was started by Susannah Wilson and is supported by Councillor @joemcmanners. The Somerset is already listed as an Asset of Community Value, which gives locals first refusal if it is put up for sale provided they can raise the money

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • Disruption
  • New Recycling promotion
  • Proposed abolition of Oxford City Council
  • Headington Plan – what’s next?
  • I see Streetlife a rival discussion site is merging with another site
  • Events on Oxford
  • Good neighbours in Headington
  • Using stocks as punishment in 19th century Oxford