Central North Headington Residents’ Association

The CNHRA is my local Residents’ Association. I went along to their AGM on Monday evening.

About 30 people attended the meeting. Before the formal business Mark Trumper, Estates Manager for the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust gave a short talk about the Trust’s plans for its properties (which now include the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre). In the immediate future there are three developments they hope to carry out on the JR site:

  • an extension to the Trauma Research facility;
  • an extension to the Neonatal Care Unit (doubling the number of cots);
  • a new (extended) main entrance which will improve the reception area and include 4 retail units: a food outlet (hopefully Waitrose, M&S or similar), a newsagent, a coffee shop, and a chemists’ shop.

Longer term they are considering the future of the old buildings at the Churchill. One idea is to replace them with key worker accommodation, although this and alternative ideas are only at the embryonic stage.

This provoked a slightly tetchy discussion about traffic and parking. Mark explained that the Trust had the most draconian policy of any Oxford employer: with only a few exceptions no employee living within 20 miles of the hospital is allowed to park at the hospital. They are encouraged to use the park & ride, so don’t contribute to Headington’s traffic congestion. By accommodating more key workers close to their workplace the strain on roads and public transport would be reduced. Some in the audience remained sceptical.

Someone asked if the Barton West development would allow the creation of an access road from the Ring Road to the Hospital. Mark ruled this out on cost grounds (£40m): it would be hard to justify such expenditure at the expense of the healthcare budget.

Mark’s session wound up with an inconclusive wrangle about responsibility for the gate into the private road near the bus stops, which has been locked occasionally.

The meeting then went into open forum mode with Cllr. David Rundle and Martin Tudge (NE Area Co-ordinator for the City Council’s Planning Department). Matters raised were:

  • the refurbishment of the Sandfield Road play area. Money has been set aside but nothing has yet happened. David said he’d find out. (Note: the following day Cllr Ruth Wilkinson reported the work would start in January 2012.)
  • repositioning the notice board by the bus-stops on the S side of the London Road. Not worth the cost or the fight, according to David.

Moving on to the formal business, Jean White gave the Chairman’s report and Barbara Parker presented the accounts. Jean raised the main issue of concern at the moment, the Brookes application for an change to their entertainment licence to run from 0900 to 2300 every day of the year. From the floor members were reminded that the Council’s Housing Policy and Preferred Options Document (setting the possible future of the Headington car park, among many other sites) would be back for consultation in a few months’ time.

The Committee was re-elected nem con.

Finally the Committee appealed for help and new members, re-iterating that without more support it was very likely the Association would not be able to continue.