Counter-proposals on governance structure in Oxfordshire

Three district councils have published their alternative proposals on restructuring in Oxfordshire – West Oxfordshire District Council, Cherwell District Council and Oxford City Council.

You can download this 56 page document at https://www.oxford.gov.uk/downloads/file/3706/opportunity_growth_and_reform_an_alternative_to_proposals_for_structural_reorganisation_in_oxfordshire

Statement re tower block safety in Oxford

Here is a statement from Oxford City Council regarding tower block safety.

The City Council is in the middle of a major refurbishment of our 5 tower blocks namely Windrush and Evenlode on Blackbird Leys, Hockmore at Temple Cowley, Foresters in Wood Farm and Plowman in Northway. The project includes improvements to the fire safety of the buildings.

In light of the tragic fire that occurred today in Kensington and Chelsea and that Grenfell Tower has also undergone a major refurbishment an urgent review of our project has been undertaken. Whilst it will be some considerable time for the investigation to complete and report we have tried to cover issues that have emerged from the media reports so far.

The key points are that

  • The design of the fire safety elements of the project was carried out in full consultation with Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue service ( OFRS ) and the Council’s Building Control service and the works when finally complete will be formally signed off by those services.

  • We are installing sprinkler systems to all dwellings. These are already operational in Windrush, Evenlode and Hockmore and are scheduled to complete in Plowman and Foresters by December 2017.These are not required by law but we decided to include them following discussions with OFRS and reviewing the recommendations from previous investigation reports into other tower block fires ( Eg Lakanhal in Southwark in 2009 )

  • We are installing a fully automated fire detection system both in individual flats as well as communal areas; that is connected directly to the fire service. Again this is already complete for Windrush, Evenlode and Hockmore.

  • The external cladding system fitted complies with all current legislation, the insulation is fire retardant and there are fire barriers at each floor level. We do not believe it is the same cladding system but we are double checking.

  • Dry risers are checked regularly to ensure they are working. These are the internal pipes with outlets at each floor that allow the fire engines to pump up high pressure water from the ground floor to each upper floor to enable them to fight the fire from the inside which is the standard practice for towers. The fire service has limitations on the equipment available to fight fire from the outside on very tall buildings.

  • Fire doors are in place to both communal areas and front entrance doors and these are being checked and upgraded where necessary as part of the works. Where residents have replaced their own front doors we are checking to ensure compliance. This may require enforcement if tenants or leaseholders refuse. We are also double checking that residents have also not installed doors for security reasons that would hamper the fire service from forcing entry to fight a fire.

  • Smoke extraction vents to stairwells are being installed which will disperse smoke from the means of escape.

  • Evacuation procedures have been reviewed with OFRS and notices of the revised arrangements have already been installed for those blocks that have already got the new detection system. We do not have a stay put policy in Hockmore and have a partial stay put to the other blocks i.e. if a fire is detected to a floor then the alarm sounds on that floor and to the floors above and below with instructions to evacuate. We may need to review this with OFRS colleagues in due course but their advice as of today remains the same

  • Access for engines have been checked to ensure there are no obstructions during our works

Venue announced for next Headington Ward Focus meeting

Meeting details below – Board Room at Ruskin College on Tues 27 June from 6pm.

 

NEXT HEADINGTON WARD FOCUS MEETING

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

Tuesday 27th June

Ruskin College Board Room (opposite Reception), Dunstan Road, Old Headington

from 6:00-7:30 pm

Includes latest information on Access to Headington works in Headley Way

Updates on consultations about Queen Street, the Railway Station and the Oxford Local Plan

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

Street lighting upgrade for Headington: schedule of works

LED street light

Oxfordshire County Council has secured funding to upgrade street lights across the county. Some of these in streets north of London Road have already been replaced, but we now have a schedule for the rest.

Initially the lights will appear brighter but they will save energy consumption.

A site survey will be carried out first to note any likely problems, and the lamps will be installed one unit at a time. There will be one van and 8 operatives on site and some parking areas may need to be suspended for short periods while the lamps are upgraded.

Balfour Beatty and the County Council street lighting team will send out letters to residents in affected roads nearer the time

SCHEDULE OF WORK

Week commencing 10th July

  • Bickerton Road
  • Gardiner Street
  • Latimer Grange
  • Norton Close
  • Piper Street
  • Stapleton Road
  • Wilberforce Street
  • Windsor Street

Week beginning 17th July

  • Bateman Street
  • Kennett Road
  • Langley Close

Week beginning 24th July

  • Perrin Street
  • St Anne’s Road
  • Stephen Road

Week beginning 31st July

  • All Saints Road
  • Latimer Road
  • Lime Walk
  • New High Street

Week beginning 7th August

  • York Road

Obstruction caused by deliveries to Tesco

Residents in Stephen Road have understandably complained that lines of sight to London Road are sometimes obstructed by lorries delivering to Tesco and that this is a safety hazard. Sometimes the lorries park on double yellow lines or cross-hatching.

Lorry delivering to Tesco

Tesco Customer Services have sent the following reply to councillors:

I have been chasing this up with the store and Muller. Shift leader (redacted) has been helping us with this. It was explained to the driver a lot of times not to park where he was parking, but with no avail. [The shift leader] (redacted) contacted Muller and everything was explained. The drivers manager is now being spoken to and this problem is being dealt with. You should see the difference in the parking. 

Please let us know if you see this happening again as we now have a contact at Tesco to get this resolved.

Common People Festival

We have asked City Council officers for a report back on the Common People Festival as we realise that the noise levels appeared louder this year. They confirm that

  • they did check the noise levels both inside the Park and in surrounding areas, the volume was within set limits but an unusual combination of wind in the wrong direction and windows open on a hot day meant more noise than usual travelled into the Headington residential area
  • there were armed police on site following the incident in Manchester. All incidents (minor) were dealt with straightaway
  • there were sniffer dogs at the event so drug security was tight
It seems that the organisers and agencies managed the event as well as could be expected.

Meeting for residents of Latimer Grange 13th June All Saints Church House at 7pm

Residents have told us that meetings at Latimer Grange for tenants are no longer being held currently.

We shall therefore hold an informal meeting to ensure their issues and concerns are being dealt with.

MEETING FOR RESIDENTS OF LATIMER GRANGE

Tuesday 13th June from 7:00-8:30 pm

All Saints Church House, New High Street (upstairs room)

This meeting with councillors is primarily to address unresolved issues raised by Latimer Grange tenants but anyone unable to get to our ward focus meeting on 30th May is welcome to come along! No need to book, and admission is free.

Headington Ward Focus meeting Tues 30/5 at 6pm Headington Baptist Church

NEXT WARD FOCUS MEETING

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

Tuesday 30th May

Headington Baptist Church Hall, Old High Street

from 6:00-7:30 pm

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

Access to Headington works

Following Ruth’s email sent to the new Cabinet Member for the Environment, things seem to be moving really quickly on the Access to Headington front.

We have received updates from the County Council which show an imminent closure of the junction between Headley Way and the lower section of Staunton Road/Jack Straws Lane while works are carried out in and around the JR roundabout.

Temporary Traffic Regulation Order – S14 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984

Temporary Road Closure – at Headington, Staunton Road

In the interests of public safety it will be necessary for Oxfordshire County Council to close a section of Staunton Road (at its junction with B4495 Headley Way, whilst essential major road improvements works are carried out

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) is being made to implement the temporary closure and will operate from 19 June 2017 till the anticipated completion date of 30 October 2017.

(The maximum duration of a TTRO on a road is 18 months, or until completion of the works, whichever is the earlier.)

Notice of intention to make the Order will be published in the local press.

Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for those frontages within the closure area, subject to the progress of the works and liaison with the works supervisor.

A copy of the drawing showing the extent of the closure and the alternative routes for traffic is shown below.

 

Plan showing temp closure site