Headington Headlines #361

Your weekly round-up of local news for 12 – 18 March.

A burglar stole an Audi from outside a house in Wharton Road by hooking the keys through the letterbox. It happened in the early hours of Saturday morning last week.

If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, here are a couple of photos of the sculpture ‘Assembly’ by Saad Qureshi in the quad of Oxford Brookes’ new Clerici Building.

"Assembly" by Saad Qureshi
“Assembly” by Saad Qureshi
"Assembly" by Saad Qureshi
“Assembly” by Saad Qureshi

A new printed publication appearing soon in Headington, the Headington Occasional, has published its prospectus.

Sandhills Primary School was given an ‘inadequate’ rating in a recent Ofsted inspection, although they did note some improvements since the current Head was appointed last year.

Back in January I reported that the Local Government Boundary Commission is carrying out a review of the Ward boundaries in Oxford. A cross-party proposal for ward boundary changes is going to the City’s Executive Board on Tuesday this week (20 March). Here are some of the main changes in the Headington area:

  • staff accommodation in the grounds of the JR to transfer from Headington to Headington Hill and Northway
  • the area between Bury Knowle Park and Barton Road to transfer from Barton and Sandhills into Headington
  • the new development of Barton Park to be included in Barton. Barton and Sandhills renamed Barton
  • streets between Barton Road and the bypass moved from Barton and Sandhills to Quarry and Risinghurst

There’s more details in the papers going to the Executive Board: a map of the proposed boundaries, and a commentary on all the proposed changes across the city.

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

  • Abandoned Bikes in Headington

Headington Headlines #360

Your weekly round-up of local news for 5 – 11 March.

Posh Fish was named as one of the top 50 fish and chip shops in the country by Fry Magazine, and they should know. It was the only chippy in Oxfordshire included on the list.

The group Philosophy in Pubs which meets once a week in the city centre also meets once a month in The White Hart in Old Headington. They have a Headington facebook page with more information as well as their general Meetup page. Their March meeting is this Wednesday on the topic ‘Is the Self a Useful or Necessary Idea?’, and they stress that no previous knowledge or experience is required!

It looks like the Swan School, planned to be built on the site of the Harlow Centre in Marston, is going to be delayed. No planning application has yet been submitted, and when it is I suspect it’s unlikely to go smoothly. They are now talking of opening with temporary classrooms.

It seems the refurbishment of the Corner House pub has gone well. @ProperEllipsis gives the new décor five stars.

Oxford Brookes mounted a public exhibition of their latest plans to rebuild the Helena Kennedy building on their Headington Hill site, and to redevelop the residential Clive Booth Student Village. They have invited public comments, and there will be more opportunity once the formal planning applications go in. I’ve written a separate short article here.

There were three burglaries at London Road shops overnight last Tuesday/Wednesday. In all of them the doors at the back of the premises were broken open. Police are appealing for information

There’s a meeting this evening (Monday) in Old Marston where Christ Church College will face questions about their proposal to build 750 homes on land they own adjacent to Barton Park. The meeting is at 7pm in Mortimer Hall, Old Marston.

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

  • Abandoned bikes in Headington

Brookes Development Plans for Headington Hill

Earlier this week Oxford Brookes and their consultant planners Turnberry put on a public exhibition of their latest development plans. This time it concerns the Headington Hill site; one proposal is for the replacement of the Helena Kennedy Building (HK), the other the redevelopment of the residential Clive Booth Student Village (CBSV). I was fortunate to be able to go to a full presentation by Brookes/Turnberry.

New Faculty Building replacing Helena Kennedy
New Faculty Building replacing Helena Kennedy
Picture © Turnberry

They plan to rebuild HK on the same ground plan, but to make a new faculty building which can be used to bring together “specialist functions from Arts, Architecture, Computing, Mechanical Engineering and Built Environment studies under the same roof. The building will become a hub for a variety of teaching, research and practical making activities.”

The plans for CBSV are more radical; they are looking to achieve a net gain of about 500 bed spaces which together with the major student accommodation development at Cowley Barracks will go a long way to getting the number of Brookes students in private rented accommodation down below the 3,000 target required by the City Council. At first sight the declared height of some of the new buildings seems excessive, but I was impressed by the amount of detailed work the consultants had done on both local and long-distance views towards and away from Headington Hill. This aspect will no doubt be subject to great debate once the formal planning applications are submitted and open for public comment.

New Faculty Building replacing Helena Kennedy
Clive Booth Student Village proposed new layout
Picture © Turnberry

Part of the thinking behind the proposals is to make the node point between CBSV and Headington Hill Campus more open, and to encourage students to use the Campus and the HK building as a through route to JHB/London Road/Gipsy Lane and to the sports facilities over the Headington Hill bridge. That way they will avoid the less attractive, poorly lit and potentially unsafe route of Cuckoo Lane and Pullen’s Lane.

For those who weren’t able to get to the public exhibition there is a copy of the display boards on this link (with thanks to Brookes and Turnberry). The two developments will be covered by two separate planning applications; HK will be first in a few weeks’ time, CBSV will follow and is expected to be submitted in early June.