Headington Headlines #381

Your weekly round-up of local news for 13 – 19 August.

The City’s Executive Board agreed to introduce parking charges at Manor Place Farm, Marston (see HH380). The scheme now goes to the County for consideration and public consultation.

While the lower (western) section of Staunton Road is closed at Headley Way for Access to Headington work, SGN (Southern Gas Networks) is taking the opportunity to replace the gas mains in the road.

Oxonbike, the original bike rental scheme using docking stations, has closed blaming the emergence of the dockless bike schemes.

The mysteriously-disappearing planning application for an extension to the A&E Department at the JR Hospital has reappeared on the City Council’s website. Its reference number is 18/01851/FUL and the close of the consultation period has been put back to 15 September.

In other mysterious planning application news, the controversial Wychwood Lane development in Risinghurst lives on in a vegetative state. The ‘expiry date’ shown on the City’s website keeps being pushed back although nothing seems to be happening. The previous time I looked the date was 31 August; now it’s 15 September. The application itself was strangely omitted from the list of ‘forthcoming applications’ on the East Area Planning Committee’s agenda earlier this month. Is the new expiry date set to allow for the next EAPC meeting on 5 September, I wonder?

Another report of a sliced bike stand in Headington. Be careful where you leave your bikes!

My favourite Headington-related tweet:

There were no new posts on the Headington & Marston e-democracy forum this week.

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.