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Headington car park charges soar to new heights

Residents tell us they strongly oppose the huge car parking charge rises for the Headington and St Leonard’s Road car parks. The Neighbourhood Plan called for 30 minutes free parking with stepped charges thereafter.

Altaf set out your concerns at the last City Executive Board meeting but the Labour Group decided to retain the suggested proposals for the following tariffs:

£2:00   0-1 hours

£2:50   1-2 hours

This was discussed again at yesterday’s Council Budget meeting. The Lib Dem budget amendment included mitigation of the proposed charges, and Ruth spoke to this but the amendment was voted down by the Labour Group and the Green group abstained.

It was still possible to submit individual budget lines for debate, and we tried again – Altaf spoke in favour and Ruth summed up. This was for a budget line that would peg the increase to:

£1.70   0-1 hours

£2.20   1-2 hours

That budget line of £52K would be made up of savings to the car parks resurfacing budget for 2018-19.

Once again the single line amendment was voted down by the Labour Group.

Some comments were made about Waitrose shoppers by a Labour councillor which some people in the chamber found offensive. Independent Cllr Mick Haines spoke in favour of the Lib Dem amendment.

The car park charges coming into effect will be:

£2.00   0-1 hour

£2.50   1-2 hours

Signs will go up in the car parks in March/April alerting people to the changes and asking people to comment before the charge is increased.

Recycling your used cooking oil


If there’s one thing everyone should know about throwing away cooking oil, it’s that you should never pour it down the sink, or down drains. Even if you break down the oil with soap and hot water, it can re-solidify and cause drain pipes and sewers to get blocked. It can also travel get into rivers and lakes causing oxygen levels to drop, which can suffocate wildlife.

Now the solution for Oxford residents is at hand – and it couldn’t be simpler – recycle it!

All you need to do is put your cooking oil in a plastic bottle that will fit in your food caddy or red bin. That could be a water bottle or a plastic oil bottle.

Our new service will take the oil away along with your food waste to be anaerobically digested at the recycling plant at Cassington. There the plastic is removed, and the resulting process produces biogas to generate electricity and fertiliser for local farms.

Expiry dates on visitor parking permits

We have had enquiries from two people about current batches of car parking permits being dated 2016/2017/2018. This means that the permits themselves expire in 10 months, and residents will need to apply again at Christmas.

Here is the response from the County Council’s Parking team.

Visitor permits dated 2018,2019 & 2020 are in production as we speak.

The first batch of 25 issued from the existing stock 2016, 2017 & 2018 are for 6 months therefore should the resident apply for their second allocation ( Aug/Sept time) they will be issued permits from our new stock.

Of course there may be some residents that find 25 are enough to cover them for a full year therefore in this instance any returned permits will be replaced. Replacing permits will strictly apply to those who have not obtained a second allocation during their permit year.

We have asked for better information on the website. It seems strange that Resident Parking Zone parking permits stretch from year to year, but visitors’ permits have a cut off date. We have asked for parking permits to be colour coded to aid enforcement officers but have not yet received a response.

 

UPDATE

We learn that the replacement of unused visitor permits is not advertised. Why not?

It is very uncommon that a resident returns the unused/expired permits and it is not advertised. Residents over the age of 70 ( and who qualify for their second set free of charge) should be encouraged to apply for this second set instead of attempting to replace existing permits.

You are invited to your February Ward Focus meeting

NEXT HEADINGTON WARD FOCUS MEETING

The next public meeting for residents who live in Headington Ward will be on

Tuesday 27th February

Ruskin College Board Room, Dunstan Road, Old Headington OX3 9BZ

from 6:00-7:30 pm

Guest speaker: Pat Woods, Abandoned Vehicles Officer at Oxford City Council 

Ward Focus meetings are run on a drop in and out basis and are free of charge. There is an open session where residents can raise issues of concern. There’s no need to book.

If you would like to contact your Lib Dem city councillors for advice on any issue please contact

Latimer Road – the sorry saga continues

The latest news on the surfacing, signing and lining in Latimer Road following the works done by Winvic is depressing for residents.

We are advised as follows.

A new Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) has been prepared for Latimer Road – the development at Beech House has prompted some changes in the old one. The new TRO is in place but can’t be enforced until the construction site has been vacated.

The County Council and Winvic made a verbal agreement that Winvic would make good the road surfaces/kerbs damaged by construction vehicles at the end of the project. Since that time there has been a succession of site managers at the Latimer Road site, and the exact nature of the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ is now being challenged. There is email correspondence to show the agreement was made, and there are many many photographs on file showing damage being incurred.

The agreement was to resurface the part of Latimer Road from London Road down to just past the Latimer Grange access road, ready for re-lining in accordance with the TRO.

There was a slight mix-up last weekend – the lining team could not do scheduled work, found out that there had been large numbers of complaints on Fix My Street about Latimer Road, and re-lined Latimer Road but in line with the old TRO. This has led to some confusion.

The lines will be re-done when the road has been resurfaced, and the resurfacing of the road cannot happen until the company agrees the cost of reparation with the County Council. At the moment, an offer has been made which is short of the amount specified in the County quote. Once those discussions are resolved (the matter is currently being considered by Winvic directors) then the work can go ahead, the lining can be re-done in line with the new TRO, signage will be put up and parking can then be enforced. But clearly we don’t yet know when that will be.

This is a matter of great concern to councillors and residents, and we are doing all we can do expedite its resolution.

 

 

 

 

Labour goes ahead with whopping car park tariff increase

At tonight’s City Executive Board meeting, the Labour Group confirmed that it will still go ahead with a percentage rise in car park charges in Headington that is unparalleled elsewhere in the City.

Labour’s budget will propose the following charges for Headington Car Park and St Leonard’s Road Car Park: (currently £1.70 for 0-2 hours)

0-1 hour  £2.00

1-2 hours £2.50

No consultation has been carried out with residents and businesses on these changes. Once again Labour is imposing top down measures without asking for residents’ views.

Car park charges – Altaf speaks up for Headington

Altaf is attending tonight’s City Executive Board meeting to make a case for Labour’s CEB to treat Headington as a special case in this budget round of car park tariff increases. Here is the case he is making on behalf of residents and businesses.

The current parking charge is £1.70 for 0-2 hours.

The proposals are:
(a) To introduce new tariff bands in line with other suburban car parks (b) To make charges £2.00 for 0-1 hour and £2.50 for 1-2 hours

Points to note

  • CEB agreed to the single two-hour tariff in 2011, its aim was to encourage longer stay in Headington and support local businesses & the Farmers’ Market (which is now weekly, and profits go to community activities).
  • In the budget consultation, over 500 people signed a petition asking for the earlier proposal of a £2.50 rate for 0-2 hours to be withdrawn, so there is evidence that there will be substantial resistance to increased charges.
  • The current proposals are contrary to the expressed wishes of the public. Headington Neighbourhood Plan was made in 2017 and for which there was overwhelming support in the referendum. It states:“The Business and Retail PWG supports the improvement of traffic flow in Headington to enhance the experience of potential customers in the area’s main shopping and business area on London Road and Windmill Road. To this end it proposes that:BRC1: Changes to Car Parking ChargesAt off-peak times only, the car parks on St Leonard’s Road and Old High Street should provide free parking for 30 minutes followed by stepped parking charges.”
  • There has been no consultation with residents or businesses either on the changed tariff bands now proposed or on the newly proposed charges.
  • There is no evidence that any risk assessment on the local business economy has been carried out.
  • The data on which Oxford City Council has based its estimated income figures from these proposed charges was derived from usage data collected from other car parks in the city including Summertown: no statistics are available on length of stay at Headington Car Parks for 0-1 as opposed to 1- 2 hours. This methodology is flawed as it does not take into account local factors.We understand the assumption that Summertown and Headington tariffs should be brought in line, but how that is done without an unreasonably big jump for Headington shoppers and visitors is difficult. We are concerned this may have a negative impact on the sustainability and vitality of the Headington district centre and its Saturday market without demonstrable evidence to the contrary.We believe there is a sound case for CEB to consider imposing a transitional tariff for one year only. During that year, better length of stay data can be collected specific to the two Headington car parks, and there will be time to assess the economic impact, if any, that the intermediate increases in parking charges may have on the vitality of the district centre and its adjacent amenities, Bury Knowle Park and the Library.Submitted by Headington Ward Cllrs Altaf-Khan and Ruth Wilkinson.

Rationale for Access to Headington scheme

The following statement was sent today by one of the County Council transport planners in response to queries about the validity of the Access to Headington improvements. We display it here for the benefit of residents.

I can confirm that prior to government funding being awarded the project was subject to a full Department for Transport business case. This confirmed that the proposals would deliver significant benefits linked to reduced vehicle delay and an uptake in cycling as a result of junction improvements and new and improved cycle lanes and priority at junctions. This was reported in a paper that went to a Cabinet Member Decisions meeting in June 2016, when the scheme was also approved by the county council following an extensive period of consultation. The paper can be viewed via the following webpageI can confirm that prior to government funding being awarded the project was subject to a full Department for Transport business case. This confirmed that the proposals would deliver significant benefits linked to reduced vehicle delay and an uptake in cycling as a result of junction improvements and new and improved cycle lanes and priority at junctions. This was reported in a paper that went to a Cabinet Member Decisions meeting in June 2016, when the scheme was also approved by the county council following an extensive period of consultation. The paper can be viewed via the following webpage

The same paper also confirmed that alternative roundabout designs were considered early in the design process for the Marston Road/Headley Way/Marsh Lane junctions. However, detailed modelling confirms that these designs would still cause large queues and delay, whereas junction modelling of the proposed signalised arrangement estimates that total vehicle delay and queuing will be significantly reduced. As a result, more of the junction’s capacity can be given over to prioritising buses through selective vehicle detection, cycle safety can be improved with the introduction of cycle pre-signals, and additional controlled crossings for pedestrians and cyclists can be installed, without having a negative impact on general traffic. 

In terms of the bus-link at Northway then this was planned for local bus services only given the roads in Northway are narrow and the route to the JR Hospital less direct than the B4495, which also serves more destinations. Furthermore, the Access to Headington aligns with the Oxford Transport Strategy (OTS), which proposes a series of projects that look to address citywide connectivity on Oxford’s orbital and radial routes, with proposed improvements on the B4495 delivering the first phase of infrastructure needed to achieve rapid transit and cycle networks as set out in the OTS. There have no changes to the OTS since Access to Headington was planned, design and consulted on which would require the scheme to be re-considered.  

 

Access to Headington – latest news from County Council

The County Council is still waiting for additional funding to be approved.

In the meantime they are still looking to get preparatory works completed to reduce the level of disruption when works start in earnest. With that in mind they want to continue some off-peak working on the islands outside the JR access on Headley Way.

They are aiming to turn their attention to the roundabout this time. Key points to note:

  • Working off-peak weekdays (Mon 12 Feb – Fri 16 Feb9:30 – 3:30.
  • This will take advantage of the reduced demand due to half term and mean they get the most difficult pieces done when fewer people are travelling.
  • Temporary lights will be on during the posted times
  • A temporary roundabout will be reinstated after works are completed.

The Slade

Significantly less work has been going on over the last few days. Overnight temperatures need to be higher in order that materials can properly cure and allow the line markings and anti-skid to last as long as possible.