Headington Headlines #412

With regret, this will be the last Headington Headlines for the time being. A rather sudden change in family circumstances means I won’t be able to spend as much time at the computer as before, and this is one of the things that will have to go. I still plan to keep @TonyOX3 going on twitter, and I may post occasional articles of interest here too. So for now, thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow @HeadingtonNews, the Headington website, and the local e-democracy forum for all things Headington and OX3.

And for the last time for now, here is your weekly round-up of local news for 1 – 7 April.

Bill Heine, the sometimes controversial, always entertaining, and much loved broadcaster, journalist and installer of the Headington shark, died on Wednesday. I am glad to have known him, albeit slightly, and send condolences to his family and many friends.

The planning application for Frontier Estates’ speculative development of student accommodation and offices off Jack Straw’s Lane and Marston Road has appeared on the Council’s website. The reference is 19/00779/FUL and it consists of 107 documents. The application is open for comments unrtil 2 May. The story of Frontier Estates’ involvement in OX3 is here.

Pavement parking is a significant problem in Headinton so many people will be interested in the Commons Select Committee on Transport’s enquiry into it. The official web page with details of how to contribute is here.

It’s been confirmed that the new Swan School will open in September, though it will be in temporary buildings at the Cherwell School in Summertown.

27 April is the confirmed opening date for the renascent Somerset pub, which we must now call the Up In Arms.

Work officially started on the extension of the A&E Department at the JR Hospital.

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

    • Exhibition of Student housing proposals at 1-7 Jack Straws Lane and Marston road Frontier ESTates

Headington Headlines #408

Your weekly round-up of local news for 4 – 10 March.

As Frontier Estates are still in the local news, I have brought together all the mentions I have made of them on this blog in the form of a timeline. Use the ‘Frontier’ link in the main menu, or use this link to take you straight there.

Yesterday’s high winds brought down a tree on Headley Way at the crossing by Woodlands Road.

Thieves broke into a shed belonging to Old Marston Parish Council and one belonging to a neighbour. The same people cut a fence in a field with horses. One horse got onto the A40 and was killed.

Rather belatedly I note that Martin Young’s appeal against the City Council’s rejection of his latest planning application was rejected by the Planning Inspector in February. @RosalindRogers was much more alert!

Work has started on the refurbishment of The Somerset pub, Marston Road.

Police are appealing for information about an assault and robbery which happened on the Marston cycle path at around 9.20pm on Saturday 2 March. A man was stopped by three men close to Ferry Road. He was threatened with knives, pushed off his bike, kicked and punched, and his wallet, phone and bracelet stolen.

Laura Biron-Scott is to be the new vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Quarry. She takes up her appointment in June.

My favourite Headington-related tweet:

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

  • Exhibition of Student housing proposals at 1-7 Jack Straws Lane and Marston road Frontier ESTates

Jack Straw’s Lane: the new Frontier

Notes from an open pre-application exhibition 28 Feb 2019

Frontier Estates, the developers behind Beech House on Latimer Road, hope to build 160 student rooms on land surrounding St Michael and All Saints Church, Marston Road, New Marston. The site consists of a disused timber yard (previously a brickworks) and five residential properties which would be demolished. There would be a mix of studios and flats plus some offices (to replace the previous employment site) and some apartments (to replace the houses).

This was the only public showing of Frontier’s plans. It was described by another visitor as ‘curiously cheap’: the entire display consisted of just two roll-up banners with very little information and no certified views of the visual impact of the development. Frontier do not own the site; they claim to have options to buy all the properties which they would exercise when (if) they get planning permission.

Frontier’s representatives claimed variously that the development will be for ‘graduate students’ and ‘medical students’, and that they are in discussion with ‘an Oxford (University) college’, ‘a number of colleges’ and ‘the hospitals’. I think it is fairly sure that they have no agreement as yet with any institution to take the rooms. If they truly intend the development to be for graduates then we might expect Oxford University to also be interested, but no such claim was made in my hearing. Frontier did say that the development was not for Brookes.

As for the development itself, there were very few details available. The main access is from Jack Straw’s Lane, normally fairly quiet and part of the designated NE Quiet Cycle Route from Thornhill P&R to the city centre. Once an application has been submitted, planners will need to look closely at access, parking, deliveries, turning space, etc. I asked about cycle parking and was told it would be provided as required by planning policies, but the architect I asked couldn’t show me where on the drawings it would be.

The drawings showed a narrow secondary access from Marston Road. This would ‘normally be closed except for pedestrians’ but could be opened ‘for emergency vehicles’. I asked about the busy times at start and end of term – where would cars pick up and drop off? ‘Designated time-slots’ was the answer; apparently this is supposed to apply at Beech House on Latimer Road, but is an obvious failure. The secondary access from Marston Road ‘could also be opened at these times’. There is no access from the road at the moment, and any new access would have to cross a cycle path and a pedestrian footway. ‘There would be marshals’, I was told, though my impression was that this was off the top of the head of the person I was talking to.

The site straddles the boundary of the Headington Neighbourhood Plan. The drawings on show were not detailed enough to determine which existing properties or how much of the proposed new development would lie within the plan area.

There is a growing thread on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum which is worth reading as an indicator of local feelings.

Developer: Frontier Estates
Architect: BroadwayMalyan
Planning Agent: Carter Jonas