Energy Project: 16 – 23 Jan 2016

The second “Stakeholders’ Forum” was held on Monday evening. Some old ground was covered, but a few new matters emerged which I’ve summarised here:

  • It was confirmed that there will be temporary car parking for affected residents at the JR and Churchill hospitals. Temporary visitors’ permits will also be issued on request to any resident while access to their property is blocked. You can already apply for these. Old Road residents who park in Stapleton Road will be able to use the Churchill car park.
  • Vital Energi are still taking legal advice over the City’s requirement for the street works to have planning permission. The suspension of work is voluntary on their part. They met with City planners as early as August 2013, when they say that Michael Crofton-Briggs, then Head of City Development and the City’s chief planning officer but now retired, told them they needed permission for the above-ground works within the hospital sites, but not for the roadworks.
  • Highfield Residents will be pressing for a full traffic management plan covering the relevant road closures. They want to see traffic calming measures in Lime Walk, which will take the brunt of the diverted traffic, and a full assessment of the impact on cyclists and people on foot as well as motor vehicles, with measures to mitigate the disruption and increased risk to all road users. Vital said they will raise this with the County, but residents and councillors are expecting to include it in their representations under the planning appplication.
  • There was support for the idea of producing a letter to staff and patients at the Churchill telling them about the road closures and asking them to consider alternative ways of getting to the hospital rather than driving.
  • A sub-group to deal specifically with access issues in Latimer Road as the work progresses will be set up.
  • The detailed engineering drawings showing the roadworks and how access problems will be dealt with will be included as part of the “letter drop” to all affected properties.

You can read the Trust’s notes of the meeting here.

The planning application for the pipeline roadworks (ref 16/00101/FUL) went online on Wednesday. The deadline for submitting comments is 12 February. As I write, none have been posted.

Work on the rest of the project continues. Here the Trust reports on the installation of some of the new equipment to replace the old boilers at the JR.

Another planning application, this time for a temporary car park in the JR, has been submitted but is not yet online.

I have added a link to Vital’s civil engineering conractors CPC Civils to the Energy Project links page.

One thought on “Energy Project: 16 – 23 Jan 2016

  1. Hi Tony. Thank you for your excellent coverage of this project. I guess that if OX3 residents affected were not going to be subject to such massive and unprecedented disruption to their daily lives, then this project would not have raised so many issues.

    A large number of people met local politicians, the City planning officer, and a representative of OUH who had very limited understanding of the project, at All Saints Church on 26 January. What seems clear is that there are many vulnerable, frail elderly people with real issues over access to their homes and worries over how they will get to and from their houses, get access to vital services, from healthcare to emergency plumbing. These real concerns have just not been thought about by Aviva, the Energy Project owner. Also people face increased costs (for example car insurance) that will arise if they have to try to park their cars in other streets. All these additional costs to individuals have not been thought about and Aviva seems to be trying to avoid a discussion about how they will pay compensation. And they are legally obliged to pay compensation in civil law.

    These issues, and the lack of care exhibited by Aviva, have given rise to many people raising legitimate questions as to whether the connecting pipeline is necessary at all. This is because the existing plant at both the JR and the Churchill will be replaced and enhanced as part of this scheme. Doing that, together with better building insulation and other energy efficiency measures will save all the money. So what does building an expensive pipeline add? Little if anything.

    Also, the cost of capital to construct such a simple project as this is much higher if it is funded by the private sector (that is Aviva) than if it is funded by the public sector (that is the Trust). That means the project is more expensive because it has to make a profit for Aviva’s investors. I guess the cost of private capital could be TEN TIMES higher than the true cost of public capital in this instance.

    I am not against the private sector but I am against unnecessary wasting of money in a public health sector that is already strapped for cash. And I am against vulnerable members of our community being subject to cost, risk and stress for what seem highly doubtful benefits.

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