Chris Smowton and Andrew Steele, the Lib Dem candidates for Headington in 2022

This year half the seats on the Oxford City Council are up for election. Councillor Chris Smowton was first elected last year and is up for re-election in Headington Ward, while Andrew Steele is campaigning to join our dedicated Lib Dem colleague Roz Smith as the second councillor for Quarry & Risinghurst ward.

You can see our campaign launch leaflets below:

Planning Applications w/c 13th December 2021

One very important planning application landed this week: an application to redevelop the London Road Co-Operative store to include a hotel over the top.

Other applications landing this week:

Quarry LTN Design Survey

Looking for the main residents’ survey? See the post below!

The Headington Councillors have surveyed over a thousand households and received over 300 responses about the County’s proposed Low-Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme for Headington Quarry. Surveying for Headington Ward is now beginning and similar detailed work there will follow soon.

We received many suggestions to vary the County’s current design proposals. In this survey we want to find out which of these variations are most popular. Note this is the Headington Lib Dems trying to get an initial impression of people’s views, not the County Council’s formal consultation process, which is currently expected to happen later this year.

Please view the information and maps below, then complete the survey here.

In this survey we compare a few variations, with details and maps shown below: the baseline (do nothing), the County’s current plan, the current plan without Gladstone/Pitts or without Wharton/St Leonard’s, the Quarry Hollow bollard alone, and a partial Quarry Hollow control that only prevents through traffic on Margaret Road and Quarry Hollow, leaving Quarry Road unaffected. We also ask about an alternative to any bollards in the Quarry itself: closing the Quarry ring-road junction.

In all the maps below, a red spot represents a lockable bollard that can be passed by bikes, wheelchairs and anything else of similar size, but not cars and larger vehicles. The red line at the top of Margaret Road represents a partial block at the Quarry Hollow / Quarry Road junction, which is pictured in detail below to clearly show that it splits the crossroads into two through roads:


All of the LTN designs below are trying to achieve four main aims:

  1. Establish a “quietway” (a back-road cycle route) through Beaumont Road -> Quarry Hollow -> Margaret Road by discouraging through motor traffic.
  2. Discourage unnecessary short car trips (by residents and others) where there are other options available, by reserving the fastest through routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
  3. Discourage non-residents from using the Quarry as a short-cut, making residential back roads safer and quieter.
  4. When a car trip is necessary, avoid lengthening that journey too much.

The options presented below represent different compromises between those goals.

Option 0: Do Nothing

Self-explanatory I hope! With this option nothing at all would change.

Option 1: County’s current plan (5 bollards total)

The County’s current plan for the Quarry LTN, pictured below, features 5 bollards (unlockable to allow emergency access): a main bollard at the Quarry Hollow / High Street junction preventing through car traffic between the by-pass and Windmill Road, two on Wharton and St Leonard’s Roads intended to prevent corner-cutting between London and Windmill Roads, and two on Gladstone and Pitts Roads which would require traffic from London Road to Quarry High Street to zigzag between Gladstone and Pitts Roads (aimed at discouraging using Gladstone as a cut around the A40 roundabout).

Advantages: almost all possible short-cuts through the quarry are prevented; provides the biggest incentive to avoid car travel where possible; establishes a quiet cycle route (a “quietway”) down Quarry Hollow and Margaret Road. Disadvantage: for residents making car journeys, lengthens those journeys more than other options.

Option 2: Current plan without Gladstone/Pitts controls (3 bollards total)

This is like Option 1, but without the two bollards on Gladstone and Pitts Roads. Advantages: most possible short-cuts through the quarry are still prevented; provides a significant incentive to avoid car travel; less new traffic for New Cross and Pitts Road residents than Option 1. Disadvantages: with Gladstone Road unimpeded, there is a risk that traffic leaving the by-pass at the Quarry junction might use it to get to London Road avoiding the A40 roundabout.

Option 3: Current plan without Wharton / St Leonard’s controls (3 bollards total)

This is like Option 1 without the Wharton and St Leonard’s Road bollards. Advantages: still prevents cutting from the Quarry ring-road junction to Windmill Road; less journey lengthening for some residents than Option 1. Disadvantages: as Option 1, but gives a weaker incentive to avoid car travel, and this version does nothing to address corner-cutting between London and Windmill Roads.

Option 4: Quarry Hollow / High Street bollard only

This is like options 2 and 3 combined.

Option 5: Partial Quarry Hollow / High Street control

This is like Option 4, but instead of preventing all flow from Quarry High Street to Quarry Road, only Quarry Hollow and Margaret Road are blocked to car traffic. Advantages: still establishes a quiet cycle route through Quarry Hollow and Margaret Road; provides some disincentive to cut through from the Quarry by-pass junction to Windmill Road as this would require a more indirect route than at present. Disadvantages: as Option 4, but with a still weaker incentive against car travel; at busy times cutting through the quarry would still be quite likely.

Option 6: Close the Quarry by-pass junction

As an alternative to any bollards in the Quarry, simply close the bypass junction at the top of Beaumont Road. Advantages: prevents any cut-through traffic relating to the by-pass; avoids any journey lengthening related to non-bypass destinations. Disadvantages: provides no incentive against car travel for non-bypass destinations; as with options 3, 4 and 5 corner-cutting between London and Windmill roads is unaddressed.

Map Copyright

The base map used to illustrate the LTN possibilities in this article are taken from OpenStreetMap. The base map is copyright © OpenStreetMap contributors.

Headington, Quarry and Risinghurst Residents Survey

Complete the survey here

Below we include extra detail regarding the Low-Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) plans, showing the latest proposed locations of vehicle filters (bollards or similar allowing bikes and scooters but not cars to pass). If you have particular comments regarding these specifics (as opposed to generally favouring or opposing the concept, which is covered on the survey above), please get in touch at

Note that throughout, all properties are reachable by car, but the access route to a particular house may change as a result of the proposed filters. The filter shown at the junction of Quarry High Street and Quarry Hollow allows traffic to pass between these two roads, but not between them and Quarry or Margaret Roads. Note that the filters on Gladstone Road and Pitts Road are currently designed to allow a chicane route out of Quarry going Quarry High Street -> Gladstone Road -> New Cross Road -> Pitts Road -> Trafford Road -> Gladstone Road -> London Road. This is a compromise between blocking that route and compelling traffic to exit the Quarry via the bypass on the one hand, and leaving Gladstone Road unblocked and inviting its use as a cut-through on the other.

Our Headington Hill & Northway Candidates for May 6th 2021

See also: our candidates in Headington and Quarry & Risinghurst wards

This May 6th Oxford will elect its county and city councillors, as well as the Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner.

Roz Smith is an experienced county councillor, who is running again this year in Headington & Quarry county division, which overlaps the Headington Hill & Northway (HHN) ward. Jo Steele and Pippa Hitchcock are our candidates for the city council: after the Lib Dem vote share more than doubled at the last election (2018) taking the party into second place, they are hoping to build on that success and join the Lib Dem team on the City Council.

If elected, we will work to green Headington and Northway, invest in walking, cycling and buses, provide a local voice on planning, closely involve all residents in transport decisions including LTNs (low-traffic neighbourhoods), and tackle Oxford’s spiralling housing costs.

The only other realistic choice here is Labour (the Conservatives don’t have a single Oxford City Councillor, and the Greens only have two, making the Liberal Democrats the principle opposition). We think voting Labour would be a poor choice, because they have failed to carefully listen and consult, particularly on LTNs, they have undermined our Park & Ride sites by permitting the Westgate to provide cheap central parking leading to frequent gridlock, and the Labour leadership catastrophically failed to stand up for our EU citizens amidst the Brexit fiasco.

Brief biographies of our candidates:

Roz Smith (candidate for Headington & Quarry county division) was born in Oxfordshire and has lived here for most of her life. She was first elected as a councillor in 2005. She is active as a trustee for several local charities and as a school governor. She campaigns on local green issues and wants to use her extensive council experience for the benefit of Headington and Northway residents.

Jo Steele (candidate for Headington Hill & Northway city ward) is a local volunteer and campaigner. She is deeply concerned about issues around current road developments, in particular Access to Headington and the impact on Cherwell Drive. She also campaigns to protect the rights of EU27 citizens living and working in Oxford. She is an active member of Oxford for Europe.

Pippa Hitchcock (candidate for Headington Hill & Northway city ward) is a new recruit to our team who worked in university administration for many years, but is now better known in Headington as the landlady of The Butchers Arms. She has lived in Cowley and Headington since arriving in Oxford 20 years ago, and loves being part of the community.