North Place gates saga continues

Gates still out of order

Gates still out of order

It’s taken months for the City Council to make the software work with the gates in North Place. Finally the supplier got this working last week and now the gates have been vandalised.

They were shown to work, although temporarily, so have been commissioned. We therefore assume that they cannot be deemed to have been totally unfit for purpose as many residents and councillors had suspected.

The gates were installed in order to stop unauthorised vehicles driving into the area next to Bury Knowle House and Lock’s Court. The controversial Lock’s Court development was permitted only on condition that it is car-free and tenancy agreements confirm this, but residents in neighbouring North Place have complained of taxis and cars causing noise and light disturbance overnight.

We are urgently pressing the City Council to bring these gates into working order as local residents are losing faith that they will ever be usable.

On top of all that, the Library lift isn’t working either. That was put in by the County Council and we have had a number of complaints about it. Another project that does not appear to have been either fit for purpose or value for money?

Works to Bury Knowle House

The City Council is implementing a programme of works at BK House.

The worn treads of the steps are being replaced due to them being a trip hazard, particularly in frosty weather. They are going to be replaced like for like and will be done one set at a time. The City’s conservation officer has been involved and it appears that planning permission is not required. There is no removal of steps and the work is due to commence in March.

Scaffolding will be erected to the front of the property next week for repairs to the front elevation and front pediment. The existing works to the roof are nearing completion.

photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Festive singing at Headington Library on Saturday

Barton Sings will share festive songs at Headington Library on Saturday 5 Dec. between 2:00 – 2:30. The group meets weekly in Barton,and will be encouraging people to join in.

Barton Sings is an inclusive, integrated singing group where about a third of participants have dementia or are supporting someone with dementia.

If you are in Headington at the weekend please do join Janet Stansfeld, community singing practitioner, and the group sing in that festive feeling!

Find out more about Sound Resource – promoting wellbeing through singing and music at

Literary inspiration in your local parks

Oxford’s parks and open spaces have provided inspiration for many authors and their literary works, so what better excuse to visit some of them and celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 6 March

Bury Knowle Park has a host of literary links as well as a great Library.

  • The CS Lewis favourite, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, was the inspiration for the parks magical play area, with its very own wardrobe entrance, themed animals and undulating mounds.
  • In front of Bury Knowle House you can find the Story Book Tree, which is surrounded by half a dozen carved seats depicting different characters, including Reepicheep, the mouse.

JRR Tolkien’s final resting place in Wolvercote Cemetery is visited by many locals and visitors to commemorate his fantasy based novels, including the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.


Lewis Carroll is often thought to have travelled along the river to Iffley and may have visited the famous Yew tree to help write his Alice in Wonderland adventures.


Parks are a great place to read to children of all ages, why not re-visit the adventures Percy the Park Keeper and his animal friends, follow in the Gruffalo’s footsteps or look for the Bog Baby in the woods, have a Where’s Wally themed game of hide and seek, or just sit and enjoy your favourite book in the peace and tranquility that the great outdoors offers.

Permission granted for wheelchair access at the Library!!

We have just received this welcome news from  County Cllr Altaf Khan

Planning Permission for Oxfordshire County Council for Erection of extension to provide wheelchair access to rear of library building, including: creation of a platform lift; accessible WC; a new door opening between the existing library building and new entrance and other associated works (renewal of existing consent O.08/08 granted on 16th July 2009) at Bury Knowle House, North Place, Headington, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX3 9HY

Planning permission has now been granted for the above development. 

A copy of the approved planning permission and decision notice can be found at using reference R3.0004/12

County Cllrs Altaf Khan and Roz Smith are currently lobbying for the funding to be made available for this work as quickly as possible. We shall let you know when a date for the work has been set

Headington Library update


We have received the latest communication from the County Librarian. Sadly it gives no news on funding for the disabled access work, although it does confirm that listed building consent for the permitted works is in place.

Thank you very much for contacting us about Headington Library.  We are very well aware of the concerns raised by our existing users and those who wish to use the library but find the current access arrangements difficult.  I have copied in Cllr Judith Heathcoat, the Cabinet Member responsible for the library service so that she is aware of our correspondence.

I am pleased to be able to confirm that Listed Building and Planning consents are in place.  They were renewed in January 2012. We are expecting to be in a position later in the year to make a decision regarding the availability of funding and therefore the scale of any future improvements to the buildings layout. Should the Council find itself in a position to fund improvements, then the primary purpose will be to improve access.

Rest assured, your local councillors will be lobbying the County hard to release that funding. In this day and age, it is appalling that those with pushchairs, buggies, wheelchairs and mobility aids are unable to use the public library and all its services.

Novelist heads for Headington

There’s an exclusive chance to meet accomplished romantic novelist Alison Lucy at Headington Library towards the end of the month

Book cover

On the 27 September between 5.30pm and 6.30pm the author of new romantic novel ‘The Summer of Secrets’ will be visiting to tell all about her latest book, and give  a little insight into the writing process.

The Summer secrets is set in Mexico and features three young women who set off in the hope of unlocking the missing clues that will help them find out about their father.

This is a free event, but please book by contacting Headington Library in person or by telephone, on 01865 762867.