How can our Parks and Green Spaces be improved?

Oxford City Council would like to hear what you think of the parks, nature reserves and green spaces that it manages in Oxford. It wants to know what they mean to you and how they benefit the local area. It aims to learn how to make the parks and green spaces even better in the future.

Please clink this link to complete the online survey which closes on 31 January 2017

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

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?

Cleaning up the tennis courts

Algae on the tennis courts

Algae on the tennis courts

We’ve been asked about the state of the tennis courts in Bury Knowle Park, and have received this advice from officers.

The problem is with the algae growth.

We have had a lot of problems this year due to the wet and warm winter. This has led to similar conditions on most of our courts and tennis and play areas across the UK.

The courts are mechanically brushed twice a year and sprayed with an anti-algae agent as needed. The latest controls on chemicals, mean that many chemicals used for treatment have now been withdrawn. It is difficult to find a chemical that deals effectively with the algae.

We are working with the LTA and Premier Tennis to see what we can do to improve matters. Blowers to remove leaves and brushes have been purchased and supplied to Premier Tennis on site to assist with keeping the courts clean.

Temporary closure of Bury Knowle Park play area due to tree works

We have just been notified that two Scots pines in the play area will be removed in the next month and this will involve the temporary closure of the play area (see works detailed below)

As soon as we have firm dates, we shall publish them here.

The City Council will replant in the Park for all trees removed, but this won’t happen till the tree planting season from Oct/Nov 16 – Feb/Mar 17. The replanted trees may be located in a different place in the Park and their location will be discussed with the Friends of Bury Knowle Park. If you have any views on this, please get back to us and we shall pass on your comments to the relevant officers.



Sgl/489 (348900) Scots Pine in play area 3MANP Parks – Three Man Team

GRIND Grind Stump
SEFL Section Fell to ground level

SPEC SPECIALIST EQUIPMENT signs and cones, close play area


Sgl/490 (348904) Scots Pine in play area 3MANP Parks – Three Man Team

GRIND Grind Stump
SEFL Section Fell to ground level

signs and cones, seal play park gates and close area (5 gates), land rovers only




Rents for new homes next to Bury Knowle Park

In response to resident concern, we have asked the City Council to clarify the rents for the new social and affordable units at Lock’s Court. It seems that 5 of the originally advertised charges were not accurate and they will be re-advertised.

Here is the response we have received from the City Council.

The social rents are set around 47% of the market rent for the property type for the area. In addition to the rent, relevant service charges are also due.

The affordable housing units are set at either 60% of market rent (Lock’s Court) or 78% of market rent (the remainder). There are no service charges for the affordable units as they are considered inclusive of the rent.

As a result of these conditions, there will be always be some properties with a much higher charge than identical properties, however .. the demand for the affordable rent properties is very high nonetheless.

We have however identified a problem with the recent advertisements for the 5 affordable rent properties in that the rent shown was at 78%, not 60% as it should have been. Although the demand was high, we are aware that many applicants may have been put off from bidding because of the additional rental cost, including potentially some of those in greatest housing need. As a result, we will be re-advertising those properties with the correct rent figures. We will be contacting those who have made bids to explain and apologise for the mix up. The social rental properties advertised are unaffected.

The table below shows the correct charges for each property. The total charge includes rent debit, and where appropriate (for social housing) charges for care taking and cleaning, grounds maintenance, LL Lighting, TV and aerial repairs, and service. The affordable homes are on first floor level.


House No. Rental Type No of Beds Permitted number

Total Debit

1 LOCK’S COURT SOCIAL 2 4  £121.85
3 LOCK’S COURT SOCIAL 2 4  £121.85
5 LOCK’S COURT SOCIAL 2 4  £121.85
7 LOCK’S COURT SOCIAL 3 5  £136.03
9 LOCK’S COURT SOCIAL 2 3  £121.85



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.

Health walks in Headington

Health Walks will continue in  Bury Knowle Park on a Friday, meeting at 10am.

There will also be a new monthly walk starting in January for those after a more challenging pace and route. This will meet at 10am on the first Thursday of every month at the bottom of Headington Hill Park.

Allthese City Council walks are leader led, free to attend and welcoming to all ages and abilities. There is no need to book; walkers are simply invited to turn up on the day.

Bury Knowle toilets get a makeover… and not before time!

Toilet man womenIcon made by Scott de Jonge from


There is good news on the BK toilets front!  We have been asking for these to be upgraded for some time but the money pot was raided for de luxe loos in the City. We finally have confirmation that this will go ahead in the New Year. The block will get new w.c. pans and cisterns, new washer dryers, new flooring, new fittings and fixtures such as toilet roll holders, waste bins etc and all repair issues will be attended to as well. We have also asked for a 24 hour facility and squared this with our neighbourhood police team – at last our shopping centre will have a public toilet open after 5pm!


Anyone for chess? In Bury Knowle Park!

City Councillors have a ward budget to spend on ward improvements which will benefit the social and community well-being of residents.

Ruth and David have ordered a concrete chess-topped table for installation in the Park, in support of the Friends of Bury Knowle Park. This will be an attraction for outdoor chess players in summer months. If you would like to see a photo, please click the link here

This will feature in future Focus leaflets!

Ping! Play outdoor table tennis for free!

Ping! is an innovative street ping pong project which provides people with opportunities to play social and competitive table tennis, free of charge. The aim is to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK playing – to bring about a sense of community spirit and get more people playing sport on the run up to the Olympics.

Ping! sees a month of activity and tables popping up in unusual and remarkable places.  Marked ‘Stop and Play’, the tables are up  for all to enjoy. Bats and balls are supplied: to join in the fun just borrow a bat from the side of the table!  As well as free-play, each ping-pong table features a varied programme of master-classes, competitions and free to join activities.

Ping! now has over 500 tables in public spaces across the UK including Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Hampshire, Hull, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Middlesbrough, Oxford and Sheffield

Ping! is produced by Sing London and is delivered in partnership with the English Table Tennis Association. Ping! is supported by National Lottery investment from Sport England.

You can see  where Ping! is offered in Oxford here The nearest place is Bury Knowle Park

For more details, try this site