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Anger as Headington shoppers face 47% increase in car park charge

Residents are protesting against proposals to increase the minimum charge for parking from £1.70 to £2.50 in the City Council-owned Headington and St Leonard’s Road Car Parks. Some have called this “A tax on Waitrose shoppers.”

Businesses are worried that this hike in charges will deter customers from shopping in Headington, and using its services and restaurants.

The proposals for increased car park charges were published in budget documents released for public consultation by Labour’s City Executive Board on 20th December. (1, 2)

Oxpens minimum parking charges are frozen as it competes with new Westgate parking facilities but suburban car parks face substantial rises.

The proposals are out for public comment until 28th January.

Altaf comments, “Many people are angry. The proposed rise in Headington’s 0-2 hour charge is much higher than in other City Council car parks. I am demanding that the Council withdraws this proposal and thinks again.”

Roz says, “I want to see Headington centre thriving, not priced out! The scale of the increase for 0-2 hours is outrageous. I am advising people to send in their objections to the City Council as soon as possible before the 28th January deadline, there is still time to get this changed.”

There are several ways in which the public can respond to the consultation:

  • Sign a petition at Headington Market from 10.00-12.00 on Sat 20 January, also available at various Headington shops including Monaco in Old High Street
  • Write comments down in a letter, mark it “Budget Consultation” and send it by 27th January to: Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, Oxford City Council, First floor St Aldate’s Chambers, OX1 1DS
  • Submit comments to the lengthy online consultation at https://consultation.oxford.gov.uk/consult.ti/budget2018/consultationHome

The Chief Executive will attend the next Headington Ward Focus meeting on Tuesday 30th January at the Headington Baptist Church, 98 Old High Street from 6:00-6:30pm

 

Source documents

(1)

http://mycouncil.oxford.gov.uk/documents/s39528/Appendix%207%20Fees%20Charges%2018-19.pdf

(2) http://mycouncil.oxford.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=14878#mgDocuments

Appendix 7 Fees and charges p130

 

How to book City Council sports pitches and facilities online

Oxford City Council is launching a new sports booking system called ‘Pitchbooking’ to allow sports clubs and members of the public to book City Council owned pitches and sport pavilions across Oxford.

The new online booking system, which opened in the New Year, allows users to find, book, and pay for access to sports facilities and pitches. Users will create their own account and will be able to manage their bookings online.

Sites which are available to be booked include:

  • Blackbird Leys Recreational Ground
  • Court Place Farm Recreational Ground
  • Cutteslowe Recreational Ground
  • Cowley Marsh Recreational Ground
  • Grandpont Recreational Ground
  • Horspath Sports Ground
  • Quarry Recreational Ground
  • Rose Hill Recreational Ground
  • Sandy Lane Recreational Ground
  • Union Street Astroturf

Pitch rates range from £45-£65 for adults, £17.50-£35 for under 17’s, and £14.20-£25 for under 11’s.

Users will also be able to use the booking system to rent out pavilions across Oxford for events such as parties, training courses and yoga classes at a cost of £18.70 per hour.

Pavilions available to be booked include:

  • Cutteslowe Lower Pavilion
  • Cutteslowe Top Pavilion
  • Grandpont Recreation Ground Pavilion
  • Horspath Sports Ground Pavilion

One of the City Council’s key objectives is to increase participation in sport to help tackle health inequalities across Oxford. Overall, adults in Oxford are healthier than the England average, with a 78% of adults being physically active.

To book a pitch, see a full list of locations, or to find out more information, please visit: www.oxford.gov.uk/pitchbooking

Latest information on Access to Headington phases in Headley Way and Windmill Road

We have gathered the following information  from discussions today with the County Cabinet Member and the project lead for A2H.

We understand that:

  • there is a shortfall regarding predicted cost of these phases and the cost quoted by Skanska
  • this means that the local Growth Board is being asked for more money at its next closed meeting on 1st February
  • it is possible that some of the elements of the Access to Headington scheme may have to be de-scoped (this means that they won’t be funded from the existing pot and will be dependent on funding from elsewhere if they happen at all).
  • at present, the Osler Road pedestrian crossing point has already been de-scoped but Skanska has been asked for a separate quote for this which is expected in March. We have asked for this to be included back in scope because we think it would be a major improvement for pedestrians, and had been hoping that it could be funded from money left over from the abandonment of other works near the ring road)
  • it appears that the 20 MPH limit for Windmill Road is separately funded so should go ahead, even if the alterations to Windmill Road are pared back or de-scoped
  • the County Council does not have to hold a statutory public consultation should any changes to the Access to Headington works be deemed necessary but the officer’s view is that there is a moral obligation for the County Council to consult residents once the options are agreed.
  • we asked for the A2H website to be updated, and this has now been done

 

We have informed the County Council that the condition of the JR roundabout is deteriorating and have asked this to be safety checked.

There is no correlation between any national media stories about Skanska and the quote for these works.

Press release re A2H delay

We have been sent the following press release from the County Council.

The start of the next phase of the Access to Headington transport improvement project has been postponed.

Work had been due to start on Headley Way on 22 January along the length of Headley Way including the junction works outside the John Radcliffe hospital and on the Marsh Lane junction.

However concerns over costs, utility diversions and technical issues relating to the hill section between Marsh Lane and the hospital, mean that the construction team have decided to put the start on hold. This means that the team are now looking at other sources of funding along with ways to reduce costs so that the improvement work goes ahead.

However the need for more certainty over costs, utility diversions and technical issues relating to the hill section between Marsh Lane and the hospital, mean that the construction team have decided to put the start on hold. This has also provided an opportunity to seek additional sources of funding to include improvements that had previously been unaffordable along with ways to reduce costs so that the improvement work goes ahead.

It is hoped that a new date for the work to start can be decided in the coming weeks.

County Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet member for Environment and Economy, said: “We are still committed to delivering the scheme and some facilitating work will continue at weekends so that we are ready

“This is a challenging and much needed piece of work and it makes sense to look again at the costs and designs to ensure that it can be delivered on budget. We had hoped to resolve this without needing to pause the scheme but require more time to reach a conclusion.”

Work on The Slade is programmed to finish in February providing a new off-carriageway facility for cyclists as well as improved crossings. Once complete known issues such as parking obstructing the path will see enforcement action taking place.

The new junction on Gypsy Lane, completed early 2017, is working well and we will continue monitoring of that over the duration of the Access to Headington programme. The latest work undertaken on Old Road/Churchill Drive and Churchill Drive/Roosevelt Drive is now complete and working well providing improved access for the Churchill Hospital site.

Closure of part of Lime Walk 15-19 January

The scheduled Thames Water work is to the fire hydrant which is located on the pinch point in Lime Walk near the junction with All Saints Road, TW has to “re-do the valves”
The bit of Lime Walk next to the buildout will be closed for works from 15-19 January in principle, but the work may be completed inside three days – that extra time is allowed for ad hoc technical/engineering problems
So from Monday, access from Old Road to Lime Walk will be signed “Access to frontages only. No through road” and it will be a dead end just before the buildout. No parking slots should be affected.
Those accessing Lime Walk from London Road will see diversion signs from Monday morning and the diversion signs will be back up at the All Saints junction advising traffic to divert via Stapleton or Bickerton Roads.
We are trying to find out how many houses have been letter-dropped by Thames Water and have advised Highfield Residents’ Association

Bright New Year for Headington

Here is a reprint of the piece Ruth wrote for last week’s Oxford Times (p77) in case you missed it!

2018 is going to be an exciting year for Headington. But with some traffic chaos thrown in, so no changes there!

Bad news first. There will be roadworks practically all year starting January, in the Headley Way area for 36 weeks, then in Windmill Road, as part of Access to Headington improvements. Let’s hope the outcome is worthwhile. I’m still pushing for the pedestrian crossing point across London Road from Osler Road if money allows.

But what great community projects are opening up following the success of the Neighbourhood Plan referendum result! This has released community infrastructure levy contribution for Headington, and we’ve identified unspent developer money too.

Working together with Headington Action and residents’ groups, there are a number of new initiatives about to kick off.

Chief among these are projects to promote Headington’s character and identity. Headington’s not just a main road to use between Oxford and London, we have culture and heritage and technological achievements we are proud of.

We are currently looking to introduce audio-benches and audio-posts in Bury Knowle Park and through the centre that tell Headington’s story – its people, its history, its achievements. Another venture is to provide a central wifi hotspot where people can access and download information about Headington to their smartphones using a QR code – this could help people use walking trails or get information on local shops and amenities.

Our biggest tourist attractions are Bury Knowle Park and the Shark. We’re looking to put in a new circular seat near the flagpole with an audio-post explaining the history and amenities of the Park and the House. And a group of residents are keen to get the Shark listed, so that it has some protection in planning terms. Like it or loathe it, the Shark brings visitors to Headington and boosts local trade, so it makes good economic sense to look after it. It’s an internationally renowned icon and it continues to delight generation after generation. Let’s celebrate its quirkiness!

Headington Action already runs amazingly successful events like its Headington Market, and plans for next year’s Headington Festival are already well under way.

The LED lighting in Headington centre’s trees is a great start to brightening up the centre. There is also a greening project in preparation that will encourage folk to plant bee, bird and insect-friendly plants in public and private spaces.

There’s a project looking at bringing together all local groups who provide activities for those in our area who feel isolated or lonely, and finding out how these can be supported more effectively all year round.

The Neighbourhood Forum has called on the City Council to undertake a governance review that will take twelve months. One potential outcome might be that Headington could get its own Community Council, with more powers devolved to local community councillors. This would encourage even more people to get involved in community action. Exciting times!

For many, the biggest worry is the lack of affordable homes. Headington’s staggering economic growth brings challenges: hospitals and care homes fight to retain staff because low-paid public and private sector workers can’t afford local rents. Workers have to commute in, and this impacts on congestion and air quality.

More keyworker housing is needed, and quickly – particularly for young families. We need innovative housing schemes for those trying hard to save up for a deposit on a home. The publication of the Masterplan for the hospital sites could be a long-term game-changer if it incorporates more homes and deals with its parking problems.

2018 brings many challenges and opportunities for Headington. There is much to look forward to!

 

Ruth Wilkinson, Lib Dem Councillor for Headington Ward

Where to recycle your Christmas tree

Oxford City Council can recycle real Christmas trees. Leave yours, without the lights, pot or decorations, next to the blue bin or sacks on collection day, starting from the week beginning 9 January for those in the south of the city (red collection zone) or week beginning 16 January for those in the north (blue collection zone). The Council will collect them for free and recycle them into compost (you don’t need a brown bin subscription). Last year the City Council composted around 5,000 Christmas trees.

Residents in flats that do not have kerbside collections, or anyone wishing to recycle their tree before the collections begin, can take their trees to one of the 12 collection points across the city instead. These are open until 14 January and are located at:

• Alexandra Tennis Courts, Middle Way, Summertown
• Leys Pools and Leisure Centre car park (formerly Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre)
• Bury Knowle Park, North Place car park
• Cutteslowe Park, Harbord Road car park
• Florence Park, Cowley
• Hinksey Park, off Abingdon Road
• Long Lane, Littlemore
• Margaret Road Recreation Ground
• Meadow Lane Recreation Ground, Jackdaw Lane
• Oatlands Recreation Ground, Ferry Hinksey Road (car park)
• South Park, Morrell Avenue
• Sunnymead Recreation Ground, by play area

To find out more visit the Recycling at Christmas page on the Council’s website, www.oxford.gov.uk/christmasrecycling

Burglaries in Coniston Avenue: information needed re wanted men

Thames Valley Police is appealing for information regarding the whereabouts of two men who are wanted in connection with burglaries in Oxford.

Lewis Felton, aged 27, and Kane Jones, aged 21, are wanted in connection with a number of burglaries that happened in Oxford on the same day last year.

The first burglary happened in Coniston Avenue, Marston, at about 2.10am on Tuesday 14 November.

During the burglary five offenders, all wearing hooded tops with the hoods up, forced their way into the property and stole a set of car keys to a Mazda 3 VRM SL54 KVZ.

Two of the offenders then drove the Mazda, which has tinted windows and gold alloy wheels, towards Headley Way.

The other three offenders walked away from the scene towards Ambleside Drive.

A purple coloured Adidas rucksack was also stolen. The rucksack contained a BMW employee pass and a 50ml bottle of DKNY gold perfume.

The second burglary happened in Valentia Road at about 2.30am.

During the burglary the offenders forced open a door to the property and stole a set of keys to a Land Rover with a 2014 number plate.

Subsequently, the Land Rover was stolen.

The third burglary occurred in Hill Top Road at about 2.45am.

The offenders forced their way into the property through a window and stole a set of keys to a BMW X5. The vehicle was later recovered in Prospect Path.

A set of house keys, watch and a Samsung phone were also taken.

Investigating officer, PC Sian Lewis of the Local Policing Area team in Oxfordshire, said: “I would appeal to anyone who has any information about the burglaries or the whereabouts of Lewis Felton and Kane Jones to contact police immediately.

“Felton has links to Berinsfield, Kidlington and Oxford and Jones has links to Kidlington and Oxford.

“It is believed that the offenders may have used a silver Vauxhall, possibly an Astra or Corsa, during the burglaries.

“If anyone has any information please call the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101 and quote reference 43170338429.

“If you do not want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

“I would like to reassure residents that the force takes burglary extremely seriously. We realise the impact that such an intrusive crime has on its victims.

“This type of burglary is generally committed with the sole intention of recovering car keys so that the victim’s vehicles can then be stolen. As such the force advises motorists to place their car keys out of sight.”