Headington Headlines #324

Your weekly round-up of local news for 26 June – 2 July.

Despite earlier reassurances, Oxford City Council has found after tests that they will have to replace the exterior cladding on the Evenlode and Windrush Towers in Blackbird Leys. The towers will not be evacuated as other fire precautions, including sprinklers, have been included in the Council’s refurbishment. The two towers in OX3 – Foresters in Wood Farm and Plowman in Northway have not yet had cladding installed so are not affected.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has released this statement about it.

The last thing anyone wanted was for a fire to break out in one of the tower blocks. This is just what happened in Plowman Tower, Northway on Wednesday. Fire crews attended and the fire turned out to be small and in a ground floor storage area. It was quickly dealt with.

Still on the subject of fire safety in communal buildings, Headington LibDems asked @Oxford_Brookes and Unite (the company that manages Dorset House and will manage Beech House) for statements on their respective fire safety. The replies are here on the LibDem website.

Four local surgeries/health centres are now run by Hedena Health; Bury Knowle, Barton, Marston and Wood Farm. Who or what Hedena Health is, is to say the least opaque but I’ve done some digging. This post explains what’s going on.

All Saints’ Church has joined twitter. Welcome and follow @AllSaintsOX3!

Oxford City has opened the public consultation on the ‘Preferred Options’ stage of the City’s developing Local Plan covering the period up to 2036. The consultation runs until 25 August. Every household will be getting a leaflet and questionnaire, but for starters try the Council’s Local Plan web page and @OxCivicSoc‘s short article.

Local LibDems and Greens were quick to pounce on newly-elected @AnnelieseDodds‘ failure to back an amendment in the Commons that would have required the UK to stay in the Single Market. This despite her election campaign statements that ‘extreme Brexit’ would be a disaster. Anneliese has explained that she backed a different amendment which she believed was stronger. A full account of this story here.

My favourite Headington-related tweet:

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

  • Four local medical practices now come under Hedena Health
  • Edgeway Rd cycle apologies
  • Frontier Estates Multiple Site London Road / Barton Road

Headington Headlines #198

Here’s my weekly round-up of local news for 19 – 25 January.

Clerkenwell Properties Ltd, presumably the owners of Kennett House, the block of shops and offices including Iceland, have applied to the City Council to decide whether or not they need planning permission to convert the offices over the shops to 12 flats. See Planning Application reference 15/00189/B56.

Birmingham City Council has told @RosalindRogers that the woodland area of the Stansfeld Outdoor Centre will not be redeveloped.

@Oxford_Brookes announced that their new Vice-Chncellor is to be Professor Alistair Fitt. He is currently the university’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange.

Developers Frontier are mounting a new public exhibition of their proposals for the corner of Latimer Road. It’s on Tuesday 27 January from 4 – 8pm in the St Clement’s Family Centre in Cross Street. See their invitation for more details. No planning application has yet been submitted.

Marsh Lane, Marston was closed for a time on Saturday afternoon following a collision between a car and an ambulance. Three people suffered minor injuries.

Johnson Cleaners is closing on 5 February and moving to 61 Woodstock Road.

My favourite Headington-related tweet of the week:

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

  • Silver Joggers starting up again
  • The Economist on Oxford/Cambridge
  • Revised Proposals for the Development of Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry
  • Marston Shops
  • London Road “Improvement” Scheme
  • Community Matters
  • Kennett House (block that includes Iceland)
  • Margaret Road zebra crossing work
  • Oxfordshire Transport Strategy
  • Old Marston parish council website
I cover news from the OX3 postcode in Headington and out as far as Barton, Sandhills and Risinghurst (see map). To feed into next week’s summary you can comment on this article, or tweet either with the hashtag #ox3 or @mentioning @TonyOX3.

Barton Park shrouded in obscurity

I’ve criticised the obscurity of the planning system before, and another example has just emerged. Big developments thrive by making informed public debate virtually impossible. The @BartonPark_ reserved matters planning documents are online for scrutiny. There are 113 documents, so good luck to anyone who wants to know the details.

For example, the preamble to the list of documents says it covers cycle paths, but not one of the documents has the word ‘cycle’ in its title so it’s extremely difficult to find any information about what’s being proposed. In fact I tried searching the page for ‘cycle’, ‘park’, ‘lighting’, footpaths’ and ‘ponds’, all said to be included within the application. None of the documents listed have any of these words in their titles.

In practice the only people who will dig into the details are a few professionals working for the developers and a few Council officers. Elected Councillors won’t have time and will rely on being told what the officers think they need to know. Meaningful discussion will be non-existent, and public participation effectively quashed.

Nice one, Barton Park and Oxford City.