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Energy pipe update

Here are the official notes from last week’s liaison meeting between Trust, Vital Energi, councillors and resident representatives.

Project manager ENERGY LINK UPDATE:

Lime Walk:

  • Going well and now around 6m from the Old Road junction.
  • Traffic ignoring the All Saints Road No Entry/One Way signs still a problem.
  • Could VE/Trust discuss the TMP for the work on Old Road/junction of Lime Walk as resident rep has serious concerns about everyone’s safety. VE/Councillors have a meeting on Tuesday 28 February with Highways and confirmed that this will be discussed.
  • Historic damage (by ‘moled’ gas work) to the main drain has been fixed by VE.
  • VE has also cleared silted drains where possible.
  • Thames Water will be in Lime Walk later this year to fix a leaking hydrant at the All Saints Road junction. This an historic problem and is nothing to do with VE.

 

Old Road:

  • A2H roadwork at Gipsy Lane has finished and, as their temporary lights have been lifted, VE will start Trial Holes on Old Road from Monday 27 February. The Trial Holes are being done to locate underground services and, therefore, establish the best route for the Energy Link.
  • There will be three-way lights (East/West on Old Road and Northbound out of Churchill Drive) for the trial hole work.
  • The work to cross Old Road will start on 8 March. At which point Churchill Drive will be closed and there will be two way (East/Westbound) lights on Old Road.
  • Traffic lights will be manned during peak hours (6am – 9am and 3pm – 6pm)
  • Work is 7 days a week and 7.30am – 7pm Monday – Friday; 8am – 4pm on Saturday and 9am – 2pm on Sunday. (TBC).
  • Work will start in the centre of the road and work back to Lime Walk with traffic passing on the hospital (westbound) lane. When this is complete, the work switches to the other carriageway and traffic is on the Lime Walk side of the road (eastbound carriageway) and from there, down Churchill Drive.
  • The welfare unit will be located by the Energy Centre off Churchill Drive.

 

Latimer Road:

  • Currently, three days delayed because of unknown services and a large concrete culvert. In addition, the gas supply lines to three houses is shallower than others in the road and so the gas pipes are touching the Energy Link. Southern Gas Network will take 28 days to come and do ‘Multiple Alterations’ (a loop on each house’s supply pipe). VE will therefore continue with the current work programme but leave these three areas enclosed in by 3.5m fencing so that they can be tarmacked after the gas board has done the remedial work.
  • The current work section is slightly longer than originally planned because, following discussion with residents, VE has extended the current trench in order to reduce the disruption to residents who live at the end of Latimer Road near the All Saints junction.
  • The reinstatement on Latimer Road and does not follow a dead-straight route as VE has also been fixing poor tarmac and blocked drains (this has been done in close conjunction with the City and County Highways teams).
  • VE was able to work outside 21-25 without causing any further disturbance to the badly degraded pavement, so this will not now be replaced.

 

Sandfield Road:

  • Three days late because of “moled” unmarked services, but might be able to make some of this time up in the next section (Beech Road – Woodlands Road).
  • Roz mentioned that a resident had been unhappy about the start date being delayed and signage, but generally positive comments about the work.
  • Project manager confirmed that the signage for the Manor Hospital/Beech Road has been put out on Headley Way and Woodlands Road. The Manor Hospital had confirmed that the new wording was a significant improvement.

 

London Road:

  • VE will be a week late onto London Road because they cannot start this section UNTIL the work on All Saints Road is complete (otherwise Latimer Road would sealed at both ends).
  • There will be manned two-way lights on London Road with no entry/exit to London Road from Latimer Road OR Sandfield Road. This is to avoid a four-way set of traffic lights.
  • The Bus Lane will be suspended between Pickwicks Guest House and the Red Mullions and all traffic (including buses) will be corralled into one lane for this stretch.
  • Work is currently planned: 3-28 April, 7 days a week and 7.30am – 7pm Monday – Friday; 8am – 4pm on Saturday and 9am-2pm on Sunday. (TBC). Work will carry on through the Easter weekend.
  • The welfare unit will be located in Sandfield Road in the 4-hour parking bays.

 

OTHER:

It was agreed that there was no need for further residents’ meeting as the work on residential roads is largely complete. Jo will email updates and any substantial changes.

Jo Lennon thanked Councillors and residents for their support at these meetings and in general over the last 14 months and closed the meeting.

Missing drop kerb in Old Road

Residents have contacted us because cyclists cannot access the new Access to Headington scheme cycle track in Old Road because there is no drop kerb or ramp.

We have chased this with the County Council and contractors. Skanska will barrier off the area from today and put in a drop kerb before the end of this week, but it appears the work has still to be funded. We are trying to find out why this has happened, and to make sure the process is improved so that this sort of situation doesn’t reoccur.

Alcohol sales licence application by Savers: comments by Monday

Licence applications are published by Oxford City Council and hearings are held if there are any local objections.

The following application has been published:

17/00627/PREM

Savers Health And Beauty Limited, 112 London Road

Application for a new premises licence: for a retail shop with the following licensable activity:

Sale of alcohol (off-sales only):
Monday to Saturday: 08:30 hours to 19:00 hours Sunday: 10:00 hours to 18:00 hours

Seasonal variations:
Finish time 21:00 hours Monday to Saturday 14th November to 24th December.

Non-standard timings:
Sunday Trading Law will be adhered to if hours restrictions (no more than 6 hours between 10:00 and 18:00) apply to these premises.

DEADLINE FOR REPRESENTATIONS TO BE RECEIVED (All representations must be made in writing): 27 February 2017

ADDRESS FOR REPRESENTATIONS TO BE SENT: 

The Licensing Authority, Oxford City Council St Aldates Chambers, 109 St Aldates, Oxford, OX1 1DS, or by email to: licensing@oxford.gov.uk

The deadline for comment is 27/2/17 which is only three days after the notification was given. We are asking the City Council why the deadline is so early, as those without email access will have difficulty posting back views by Monday

UPDATE deadline for comments now 20/3/17(error now corrected)

Who should empty your bins? Join the debate

There is ongoing debate about whether local councils should be reorganised. Austerity cuts affecting the County Council means that it’s having to cut or reduce services that are important to people, and it thinks reorganisation of the whole structure is necessary to use money more effectively.

There are two schools of thought on whether complete reorganisation is necessary.

Here is the link to the One Oxfordshire proposal supported by the leaders of the Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour groups on the County Council: it seeks to abolish the county council and the five district councils and replace them with one new unitary authority.

http://www.oneoxfordshire.org

The City Council believes that the necessary incremental savings can be made if all existing authorities can come together and work as one combined authority, however it is likely that this can only be allowed by central government if the proposal includes a directly elected Mayor.

Here is the Oxford City Council web page article explaining the rationale for its petition against the One Oxfordshire proposal.

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/news/article/384/oxford_city_council_launches_petition_against_unitary_county_council

Disclaimer: any inaccuracy of information displayed on the above linked web pages are entirely the responsibility of the local authority concerned.

Currently the county and district councils (the city council is a district council) are split over whether reorganisation should go ahead, and what form it should take.

We urge all our residents to take part in the public consultation on the One Oxfordshire proposal, whether you are in favour of it or not – your comments will count. We are interested to hear your views on this: we think there are strengths and weaknesses to both proposals. Unitaries may be the future, but their number, size and even the principle are not yet decided and deserve wide discussion.

We think it is very important that all authorities continue to debate the issues with one another, rather than take polarised positions.

Suspension of parking bays for street works

Residents (and police) have asked us for clarification regarding the temporary suspension of parking bays. The County Council has sent the following clarification.

Under the Traffic Management Act 2004 which covers Civil Enforcement, as the enforcement authority we have the ability to suspend parking bays  and there is no requirement for a TRO [Traffic Management Order] or a  TTRO [Temporary Traffic Management Order].  We erect the signage giving a minimum of 5 clear working days to give notice and then when the suspensions comes into force we have the ability to carry out enforcement.

Should anybody receive a PCN [Penalty Charge Notice] they have the ability to appeal, there is a due process to follow which eventually leads to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal Service.  The PATROL website gives full information of the process. 

https://www.patrol-uk.info

 

Energy efficiency grants for private landlords

Private sector landlords in Oxford can now apply for funding to improve the energy efficiency of their properties and reduce fuel poverty, thanks to funding from The Ebico Trust, with Oxford City Council carrying out the improvement works.

The offer is open to privately rented properties within the city’s boundaries and will allow them to carry out improvements to their properties such as:

  • Loft insulation
  • Thermostatic Radiator Valves and pipe insulation
  • Draught proofing,

Following changes in legislation that came into force in April 2016, it is now a legal requirement for private residential landlords to consent to a tenant’s reasonable request for energy efficiency improvements where finance is available. From 2018, it will be unlawful to rent out a property that does not reach a minimum energy efficiency standard.

Funded by The Ebico Trust, the Private Rented Energy Efficiency Grant (PREEG) is available on the provision of certain documentation (see web link below for more details).

 

To register your interest for grants of up to £1,500 per property for up to five of your properties, landlords should go to www.oxford.gov.uk/preeg or email

PREEG@oxford.gov.uk.

Successful applicants will have their properties surveyed for free to determine which of the eligible works are feasible and can be included in the energy efficiency package.

Phil Levermore, Trustee of The Ebico Trust, said: “Ebico is dedicated to tackling the problem of fuel poverty, both locally and nationally. It’s clear to us that the key will be energy efficiency improvements in people’s homes. We’re pleased to be able to help Oxford’s private landlords rise to this challenge.”

 

Conditions

  • The property must continue to be available for letting two years from the date the City Council confirms the works are complete, otherwise the grant must be repaid in full.
  • Landlords are also required to make a 50 per cent contribution in full before the works can start.
  • The properties must be rated D, E, F or G in their Energy Performance Certificate

Air quality in Headington

Here is an update we have received from the City Council about air quality monitoring in Headington.

By way of background, we monitor air quality at 75 locations across the city.  This specifically looks at Nitrogen Dioxide.  In order to gain good coverage across the city we rotate monitoring locations on an annual basis. A number of sites are maintained year on year in order to gather long-term data. We prioritise sites where we see breaches of the air quality objectives, as it is important for us to understand where the worst air pollution is experienced in the city

In Windmill Road we had a number of monitoring points in 2015, the majority of which showed air pollution levels well under the annual objective of 40ug/m3.  One monitoring point, called Windmill Road W, showed air pollution above this objective and we have therefore continued monitoring at this site. The other monitoring sites in Windmill Road, due to their relatively low readings, were moved elsewhere during 2016.

Monitoring data for 2016 will become available in the next couple of months, following ratification and approval by DEFRA and will be available on the Oxfordshire Air Quality Website so you will be able to see what has been happening at Windmill Road over the past year.

Trees on the JR site

In following up a resident enquiry, we have made contact with the Facilities Manager at the OU Hospitals’ Trust who has kindly sent us the following update about trees on the JR site.

The two Poplars mentioned were felled on 14th Jan ’17 due to disease, one was rotten at the bottom and the other was rotten further up. Both were detailed to the council in our application and we will be imminently replacing these with lime trees.

The other tree mentioned was our precious Mulberry that unfortunately had major decay in the main stem and limbs so we had to pollard it quite severely so as to prolong its life and encourage it to grow further. This was completed on 21st Jan ’17.

The Trust does not have a tree management policy as such but I would like to assure you that we complete Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM). We contract professional services to conduct Tree Safety Surveys every 2 years and from this report we program in essential works that are required with our contracted professional tree surgeon; dependant on the available funding. As previously mentioned, any works within the conservation area will be detailed to the council for their review prior to commencement. Any trees that require felling do get replaced with suitable alternatives to continue to preserve our valued landscapes.

I do have other works to complete in the near future that I have briefly detailed below:

  • 2 x tall Poplars to fell due to visible cavities in the main stem.
  • 2 x tall Poplars to reduce to previous pruning point.
  • 1 x False Acacia to fell due to main stem decay caused by laetiporous.