Headington Headlines #370

Your weekly round-up of local news for 14 – 20 May. As I’m not going to be around much for the next couple of weeks the next Headlines won’t be until 11 June. See you then!

Another strange thing came to light in the rather weird story of the Wychwood Lane planning application – that’s the one to build next to the C S Lewis Nature Reserve. Read “Latest News from Narnia” here.

There’s a move afoot to get the “Shark House” in New High Street onto the City’s Heritage Asset Register.

One of the items on the East Area Planning Committee agenda on Wednesday this week is a recommendation to refuse planning permission to build flats on the site at 4 Lime Walk. The committee papers say “The application has failed to demonstrate that development of the site would not be viable if a contribution towards affordable housing were made.” In other words there needs to be an element of affordable housing if this site is to be developed for housing.

Wingfield House in Gathorne Road was built under a planning condition that it should be car-free. Residents do not qualify for parking permits in the local controlled parking zone (CPZ). At the County Council’s Cabinet meeting tomorrow (22 May) a request for the condition to be set aside so that residents can get parking permits has an officers’ recommendation that this should be turned down.

@oxcivicsoc recommends that Frontier Estates’ planning application for a care home at 1 Pullen’s Lane should be refused. To summarise their comments; “It was refused before and nothing’s changed”.

My favourite Headington-related tweet:

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

  • Beech House

Latest News from Narnia

I noted at the end of last month in HH367 that nothing seemed to have happened for 18 months on the planning application to build next to the C S Lewis Nature Reserve on a plot in Wychwood Lane, Risinghurst. The original story is in my article “Border Skirmish in Narnia“.

One of the unsatisfactory aspects of the application was that it is made in the name of “The Wychwood Foundation”, an organisation that didn’t exist then and still doesn’t exist now. I say it doesn’t exist: it isn’t a registered charity, nor is it registered at Companies House. Search engines only know about it in the context of this planning application. It is not the same as any of several other “Wychwood” organisations including the Wychwood Project and the Wychwood Trust. Nevertheless, the Wychwood Foundation’s planning application seeks charitable exemption from the statutory development levy (CIL).

Then last week someone who had used the services of Beecher Accoustics sent me this letter they had received. The Beechers are the people behind the non-existent Foundation and here describe themselves as Trustees. One of the several bizarre things about the letter is the invitation to buy a 6 bedroom house adjacent to the plot they want to develop. The house is the one at the top of Lewis Close, number 7, which features in the planning application. This shows an access road into the development alongside this house in Lewis Close rather than from Wychwood Lane (where the Beechers live). I’ve looked at several online property sites and it looks as though the house is not on the open market. Do the Beechers actually own this house as well as the house they gave as their address 18 months ago, 4 Wychwood Lane? If they do own it, why isn’t it on the market? If they don’t own it, what are they doing inviting offers? Obviously it would help their cause if the owners of 7 Lewis Close were supporters of their plans rather than opponents, but what do they expect to happen if someone gets their letter and says they are interested in buying number 7?

Eighteen months ago the Beechers were, and still are, Director and Secretary of Beecher Accoustics Limited, registered at 1 Quarry High Street. Earlier this year (31 January) a new company called Quarry Mews Ltd was incorporated with the Beechers as Director and Secretary, together with a William Blackham, B H G Gadhoke and H Gadhoke. This new company is also registered at 1 Quarry High Street. It gives its nature of business as “Development of building projects”. The Gadhokes in turn are directors of, among other interests, Red Kite Property Investments Ltd which has an address in Lighwater, Surrey. It looks as if the Beechers have taken some partners on board to help progress their plans.

Meanwhile there still doesn’t seem to be any movement towards the planning application coming forward for consideration. It will be interesting to see what happens when it does finally surface at the East Area Planning Committee.

Footnote: Companies House information downloaded from their website on 15 May 2018.

Headington Headlines #369

Your weekly round-up of local news for 7 – 13 May .

The expected planning application by Frontier Estates, locally notorious for their Beech House development, to build a 55 bed care home at 1 Pullen’s Lane has been published on the City Council website, ref: 18/00870/FUL. I’ve updated my timeline of this proposal, and a there is a location map here – the boundaries of the site are not accurate but are the best I could do on Google maps.

Old High Street made the national news – well, The Sun newspaper at least – when the road was blocked by an altercation between a cyclist and a motorist. It all took place in “the village of Heddington”, apparently.

Here’s an enthusiastic description of the 1960s houses on Dunstan Road. Designed by architects Ahrends, Burton and Koralek, they are described as “[walking] a fine line between modernism and brutalism”. One is being sold by @ScottFraserUK at a guide price of £900k.

2000 homes in Quarry and eastern Headington were affected by a Virgin Media loss of service on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The shopkeeper of the Premier store in Salford Road, Marston was threatened with a broken bottle on Tuesday evening. Despite another customer calling the police at the time it was 20 hours before the police responded. Story c/o @TheOxfordMail.

London Road was closed to traffic in both directions from 8pm (actually 7.30pm on Thursday) to 6am overnight on Thursday and Friday nights.

Hmmm. Jacob’s Brasserie is “closed for refurbishment” with no indication of a re-opening date. It looks like Dragon Express has closed too.

A red Honda moped was stolen from the garden of a house in Masons Road, Wood Farm late on Thursday or early Friday. Police are asking for any information.

And finally, the Headley Way Access to Headington roadworks start today (Monday). Happy days!

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

  • Beech House
  • Courier Fraud Scam in Oxford
  • Old High Street traffic problem: reported in Sun newspaper