Parking permits in Gathorne Road: response to consultation

The owner of flats which obtained planning permission on condition that they were car-free has applied to have eligibility for Controlled Parking Zone permits restored for his tenants. This arises from a recent appeal case in which the planning inspector found in his favour.

A consultation has just finished on whether the Traffic Order for Headington Central CPZ should be altered to include eligibility for tenants in these flats for parking permits.

Altaf and Ruth have sent the following response as City Councillors for Headington Ward. The final decision on whether this change will be approved will be made by Cllr Yvonne Constance at her Cabinet Member Decision meeting on the 12th October at County Hall.

If the change is approved, there will be more local pressure on the planning authority to turn down applications in roads well-served by public transport due to insufficient space for parking or resultant harm to neighbour amenity from additional parking pressure.

Submission to consultation re change to Headington Central controlled parking zone order: Wingfield House (Flats 1-6)

As city councillors for Headington Ward, we are writing to object most strongly to the proposed changes to the (HEADINGTON CENTRAL) (CONTROLLED PARKING ZONE AND VARIOUS RESTRICTIONS) (VARIATION No. 32) ORDER 20 which seeks to restore the above Gathorne Road properties to full permit eligibility. We set out our concerns below.

  • We believe that the County Council should not be encouraging the use of cars in areas that are excellently served by frequent public transport, especially at a time when the Access to Headington project is facilitating better space for cyclists, and when concerns from our residents about air quality in the area are increasing. The advent of Rapid Transit buses will improve travel for Headington residents still further, and there is a successful car-share scheme currently in operation in the area.
  • Applications to intensify or change the use of flats and HMOs in this area have been permitted by the planning authority including councillors on East Area Planning Committee only on condition that these are car-free developments. Gathorne Road is close to excellent public transport routes in and out of Oxford, the airports and London.
  • There are currently only 18 dwellings in Gathorne Road; on-road parking spaces are already under pressure both from existing permit-holders, and from hospital and care workers seeking to access the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and a Gathorne Road property for tenants with special needs. The removal of some on-road parking spaces in Windmill Road as part of the Access to Headington scheme is likely to shift parking to adjoining residential roads including Gathorne Road. The restoration of permit eligibility to tenants in these six properties would reduce on-road parking availability for current Gathorne Road permit-holders, and potentially shift parking pressure to St Anne’s Road nearby, thus impacting negatively on permit-holders there too.
  • We are anxious that this proposed change arising from what we feel to have been a questionable inspector decision does not serve as a precedent for the Headington area, which contains a very large number of shared houses, HMOs and flats which have only received permission for build or change of use on condition that they are car-free. We recognise that it is most unusual for a local authority to challenge an appeal decision by a planning inspector, but we feel that the arguments for exempting these properties from eligibility for the CPZ are overwhelming.

We urge the Cabinet Member to oppose this change and ask her to continue to exempt these properties from full permit eligibility in the Headington Central CPZ.

Altaf-Khan and Ruth Wilkinson             29/09/17

Here is the submission from County Cllr Roz Smith, submitted 3/10/17

Submission to consultation re change to Headington Central controlled parking zone order: Wingfield House (Flats 1-6), Gathorne Road, Headington, Oxford

 

With advice from Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council planning committee put a condition on this property that it should be exempt from parking permits, i.e. a car free development. The condition was sensible given the proximity of regular public transport, local services within easy walking distance, (GP, Dental, library, schools etc.) plus an active car sharing scheme.

The owner has now appealed this condition and it seems an ill-informed planning inspector found in his favour. This was a shock, given the pressure on the few residents parking spaces within Gathorne Road, nearby St Anne’s and Margaret Roads. If allowed, we could see as many as 12 more vehicles competing for the 18 spaces in Gathorne Road and the few spaces in surrounding area.

Many homes do not have off road parking and the Access to Headington project will see even more pressure when residential spaces in Windmill Road are removed. The detailed work around removal of parking spaces in Windmill Road undertaken by county officers with consultation with residents and local councillors will be undermined by allowing parking eligibility for the Wingfield House development.

The stated aim of Access to Headington is to encourage use of sustainable means of transport. If this change to the eligibility for parking permits is allowed then I envisaged a raft of appeals for changes to parking conditions within the City’s controlled parking zones.

I concur with my city councillor colleagues that if this change is approved then it will be more difficult for the local planning authority, (Oxford City Council), to turn down applications and for the County Council to further its aim of reducing the high volume of vehicle movements within the City.

I recognise it will be unusual, but not the first time, that a local authority to challenge an appeal decision by a planning inspector. However, I feel the arguments for exempting these properties from the eligibility for parking permits in the Headington CPZ are overwhelming and I urge the Cabinet member to continue the exemption for this development.

Cllr Roz Smith

County Councillor for Headington & Quarry

Notice of proposal to change parking in Latimer Road

The County Council has given notice of proposals to amend the traffic regulation order for parking in Latimer Road pursuant to the conditions given to planning consent for the Beech House development and adjacent maisonettes.

Here is the map of what is proposed. Comments must be directed to

Traffic and Road Safety Team (Ref.MR) for Director for Communities, Oxfordshire County Council, County Hall, Oxford, OX1 1ND

by the 29th September

 

Response to consultation: B4495 Windmill Road (Oxford) Proposed 20mph Speed Limit

Here are our comments in respect of the proposal to introduce a 20MPH speed limit in B4495 Windmill Road, Headington which we have sent to the County Council. Please note that this consultation is entirely separate from works in Windmill Road and surrounding streets associated with the Access to Headington project.

We have discussed this issue with residents in the affected area on doorsteps, at street surgeries and at public meetings. There is broad support in the area for the introduction of a 20 MPH limit throughout the whole of Windmill Road to minimise risk of road accidents and facilitate better and safer amenity for residents. We know that Windmill Road Residents’ Action Group and the governors at Windmill Primary School support this proposal.

A significant number of those residents favouring the 20 MPH limit have indicated to us that they would also like to see more robust speed limit enforcement. We are discussing these concerns with the Thames Valley Police Neighbourhood Team who have offered to make available speed indication devices for community speed watch operations. Various police speeding operations have taken place in the area over the recent past and a number of speeding tickets were issued.

We support the proposal to introduce a 20 MPH limit along the whole length of Windmill Road.

Cllrs Roz Smith, Altaf-Khan and Ruth Wilkinson

 

Exhibitions at the railway station concourse

There will be exhibitions of the plans relating to the development of Oxford Railway station and the surrounding area at the station concourse on the following dates:

Oxford Station concourse

  •  Wednesday 12th July to Friday 14th July; on Friday 14th July council officers as well as technical consultants will be available to discuss the proposals (9.00am – 12.00pm and 3.00pm – 6.00pm),
  • Wednesday 26th July to 28th July, on Saturday 29th July council officers as well as technical consultants will be available to discuss the proposals (9.00am – 12.00pm and 3.00pm – 6.00pm),
  • Wednesday 9th August to 11th August, on Saturday 12th August council officers as well as technical consultants will be available to discuss the proposals (9.00am – 12.00pm and 3.00pm – 6.00pm)

Town Hall(Long Room)

  • Saturday 12th August – a drop-in session for the public and stakeholders to meet council officers and the technical consultants

The online consultation is available here: https://consultation.oxford.gov.uk/consult.ti/StationSPD/consultationHome and it ends on 25th August.

The plans are currently unfunded.

Windmill Rd 20 MPH limit is hot topic at Ward Focus Meeting Tuesday 25 July

The County Council intends to make Windmill Road 20 MPH. It is carrying out a consultation on this currently (see below post)

We shall be listening closely to the views of our residents at the Ward Focus meeting on 25th July at All Saints Church House, New High Street 6:00-7:30 on this, and will be conducting street surgeries in the area, details to be announced shortly.

Once we have a clear understanding of residents’ views, we shall submit a response to the consultation – do get in touch with us to raise your issues. We already know and understand that a large number of residents believe that a speed limit can only be effective if there is enforcement too.

 

Oxford Local Plan 2036 consultation now live

Members of the public are invited to take part in the consultation on the Preferred Options main document for the emerging Oxford Local Plan 2036.

The consultation is open from 30 June to 25 August, Oxford City Council states:

The Oxford Local Plan 2036 will become the main planning policy document for Oxford. The Local Plan is important because it will set out how we want our city to look and feel, guiding new developments to the right locations whilst protecting and improving the environment and people’s quality of life. 

Last summer we asked you what issues the new Local Plan should cover. We have listened to what local communities, businesses and other organisations told us and are now considering a range of policy options. The Preferred Options document gives you the chance to comment on our proposed approaches to a range of issues. The consultation period runs from 30th June 2017 until the 25th August 2017. 

On our website (www.oxford.gov.uk/localplan) we have published the main Preferred Options document, background papers and studies on key issues, and a draft sustainability appraisal. There is the opportunity to respond to the main document using our detailed questionnaire online, or to complete the shorter online questionnaire. If you prefer to respond in writing or email, please send to Planning Policy at the address above.

Paper copies of the main Preferred Options document and the draft Sustainability Appraisal are available to view in libraries and St Aldate’s Chambers. In St Aldate’s Chambers we also have paper copies of all the background papers and studies on the website. We also have a consultation leaflet and questionnaire available at libraries, leisure centres, community centres and the Town Hall. 

You can come and see us at events around the city during the consultation period:
Fri 4th August: Templars Square Shopping Centre 11-1.30
Sat 15th July: Headington Funday 2-5; Bury Knowle Park

We urge residents to take a look at the consultation document which is available online and at Bury Knowle Library. Headington residents may be particularly interested in the sections on affordable housing, key worker housing, student accommodation, the use of space in district centres, and sites earmarked for further development.

At a recent briefing to community groups, residents from across Oxford raised some interesting points and comments which included:

  • Is the city council working with planning authorities in neighbouring districts to solve housing crisis?
  • Why is the city council appearing to want a no car policy?
  • What is affordable housing? Should be for those earning c £26K
  • How do we stop private investors buying up all the new build properties?
  • Is there too much emphasis on growth?
  • Why hasn’t some land been allocated specifically for community-led housing groups?
  • Are you saying it’s ok to put up high rise buildings so long as air quality doesn’t get worse?
  • What do you mean by a “tall” building? There’s a 15 storey one proposed for Templars Square at EAPC next week
  • Height limit/constraint for buildings shouldn’t just be in the city centre – consistency and good design is needed
  • Does the consultation adequately take into account the thousands who work or study in Oxford but live elsewhere?
  • Won’t reorganization affect the local plan? More needed for cyclists.
  • See p175 – balance of use in district centres has changed from A1 to Class A so more cafes/fast food/restaurants in Headington and Summertown?
  • Could consent for developments include a condition for car clubs?
  • What can be done about Airbnb?
  • Classification of HMOs – an HMO owned, managed and run by the universities does not count as an HMO for the planning stats, but an HMO owned by a landlord and rented out does. Currently, a road almost full of HMOs containing students had an application to change a property from residential to HMO approved as it was the only private HMO in the street. Change of definition needed?
  • With the emphasis on creating purpose-built HMOs, will private landlords intensify build on their existing sites as this will bring them increased income?

The Local Plan preferred options will be a major topic for debate at the next Headington Ward Focus meeting on Tuesday 25 July from 6:00-7:30pm at All Saints Church House.

Lib Dem response to Oxford City Centre transport improvements and experimental Queen Street closure consultation

Here is the response to the above from the Liberal Democrat Group on Oxford City Council and from Oxfordshire County Councillors Paul Buckley and John Howson. Please click on this link for the full consultation documents

 

Our principal concern about these proposals is that we do not believe that the safety of pedestrians and cyclists is given high enough priority in a very busy tourist, visitor and employment centre.

We believe that the overall cost-benefit of these proposals is too small; we note that the cost of the changes will be nearly £1m but this is not fully funded. What is the shortfall and where will it come from? These proposals are submitted without any apparent agreement with the County Council about funding, and without reference to Cil contributions. Is the City expected to contribute and, if so, in what proportion.

We are concerned that no evidence is supplied with this consultation document to support this package of major transport changes. It is therefore not clear what the problems are which the ‘permanent’ transport measures and the ‘experimental’ closure of Queen Street would seek to remedy.

We believe that the proposed change to the Worcester Street junction is over-engineered.

There is no mention of the proposed Worcester Street bus gate, which would impact heavily on this plan. If it is to be introduced, the pros and cons need to be taken into account at this stage.

 

Our comments on the individual area plans are detailed below:

  1. Overview Plan – Queen Street Area (Oxford) Various Traffic Proposals
  • The development of Becket Street as a bus lay-in and start point for key services such as routes to London would alleviate congestion in the George Street/Worcester Street area and could be implemented ahead of the current scheme for the Railway Station outlined in the City Council’s supplementary planning document.
  • An increased number of bus stops cannot help but increase congestion.
  • We would like to see an increased number of air quality monitoring stations set up to aid evaluation of environmental impact throughout the ‘experimental’ period. We would like to see figures for air pollution in St Aldates and The High Street over the last 12 months, for comparison purposes with results over the next 12 months.
  • Accident data has not been included within these proposals and we would find this helpful to inform decision-making.

 

  1. Consultation Plan – High Street Bus, Taxi & Loading Bays
  • There is currently pedestrian congestion at temporary bus stops in High Street outside the covered market. As a result the entrances to the covered market are less visible. Waiting passengers obstruct shop windows and doorways, and passers by and tour groups get mixed up with bus queues moving forward to board buses.
  • There is also a negative impact on heritage. St Aldates and The High Street are two of the most architecturally significant streets in the City. Waiting buses will impede views for tourists and citizens and this proposal does not preserve or enhance the central conservation area.

 

 

  1. Consultation Plan – St. Aldates / High Street Changes to Waiting Restrictions
  • ‘No waiting’ restrictions outside the Town Hall need greater enforcement, has funding been set aside for this purpose?

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Proposed Taxi Turning Area in Cornmarket Street

We strongly object to this proposal on a number of grounds.

  • Concerns about the width of the street when taxis perform U-turns
  • Concerns for safety as this is an area heavily used by pedestrians and by cyclists who are allowed to ride down the street after 6pm
  • Impact on street entertainment and events held in that location which helps attract trade to that area
  • The number of taxis allowed on the rank at one time is not set out here. The number of taxis in Queen Street currently in the evenings is so great that some park on the opposite side of the road too, and we are concerned that the proposed taxi rank space appears unrestricted
  • The present location is nearer the new Westgate shopping development

We consider that the existing taxi rank at the eastern end of Queen Street should be retained and/or that the new Westgate Centre should provide a taxi rank.

 

  1. Consultation Plan – George Street / Worcester Street Proposed Junction Layout Amendments 

We object to some of the proposed changes because the proposals do not sufficiently address the flow of pedestrians, which is heavy at this point because this is a major route to and from the railway station.

  • We can see no evidence for taking away the existing crossing facility in Hythe Bridge Street
  • We accept that cyclists need more protection at the Worcester St junction, but we believe there should be better solution than the use of a traffic island next to a pelican crossing
  • The traffic island proposed will narrow the turning into Worcester St from Hythe Bridge St, making it very difficult for lorries to manage the turning. Pedestrians will use this traffic island as a way of avoiding waiting for the lights – to the danger of all
  • Taxis are not mentioned on this drawing but they usually use bus lanes, will they be able to use the bus left turn cut-throughs?

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Park End St / New Rd / Worcester St Proposed Zebra Crossings
  • There is insufficient evidence of pedestrian desire to access Upper Fisher Row (this is a footpath – no vehicle access) to justify a new zebra crossing at the entrance from Park End Street, and a crossing here would impede traffic flow.
  • Bus flow is impeded at the junction of Worcester Street and Park End Street. Consideration should be given to making this a No Right Turn

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Speedwell Street / St. Aldates Proposed Zebra Crossings
  • We have concerns about the safety of cyclists (a) turning right from St Aldates into Speedwell Street across the path of incoming buses, and (b) travelling north across the path of buses turning right into Speedwell Street.
  • We believe that the retention of lights here, operational at peak times, would provide an additional safety measure for those choosing to cycle to and from work and study

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Bus Lay-Over Bay Speedwell Street

We support this proposal.

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Park End St / Hythe Bridge St Additional Bus Facilities

We object to these proposals for the following reasons:

  • It is proposed to locate bus stops immediately opposite each other in Park End Street. If both sets of bus stops are being used at once, the width of the road would be insufficient for traffic to flow.
  • There is insufficient evidence that an extra bus stop is needed in Hythe Bridge Street outside Fusion. The road is not wide enough and cycle safety is an important issue here as it is a well-used route. R9 in Hythe Bridge St should be removed and replaced with use of the double bus stop on the north side of Park End St. These buses are at their route end, approaching their lay-over in New Road, and will be carrying few passengers beyond the city centre, so the marginal extra distance to Park End St is preferable to the problem which would be caused by a bus stop on the south side of Hythe Bridge St.
  • Insufficient cost benefit to install a zebra crossing on Park End Street at its junction with Fisher Row (see note above)

 

Information Plan – Proposed Changes to Bus Stop Locations (DRAFT)

Information Document – Provisional Bus Stop Allocations (DRAFT)

Buses from Blackbird Leys, Barton, Marston and Wood Farm will stop directly outside Westgate shopping centre but the 3,3A and the 16 from Littlemore and Rose Hill will terminate at St Aldate’s on the way into town. The 16 appears to have to run along High Street to the Plain for no other reason than to turn round at the end of its route to pick up at Carfax, which does not appear to be energy efficient. Neither of these services access the railway station as Rose Hill residents had been promised.

In conclusion, our view is that:  

  • When the Gloucester Green coach station was planned, the longer, larger, more frequent coaches that now use it were not envisaged. Insufficient thought was given in the planning of the new Westgate to the effect on an already congested public transport situation in the city centre.
  • A solution to traffic problems in the city centre depends on relocating the Gloucester Green bus station. We would propose the Becket St parking site, with a shuttle service into the centre.
  • The longer term impact of these proposals, if they are not modified as we propose, will be to concentrate the flow of transport to suit retail and restaurant use in one part of the City (Westgate) to the detriment of businesses in other parts of the City.

We do not support permanent pedestrianisation of Queen Street which has less culturally significant architecture and heritage than St Aldates and The High Street.

 

Sent to Oxfordshire County Council 20 June 2017

Consultation on City Centre traffic proposals (including no buses in Queen Street)

 

The  proposed Traffic Regulation Orders for the County’s latest proposals have been advertised in the Oxford Times today; Thursday 25th May 2017, and are also available on the Council’s consultation pages below.

Click here to view the revised proposals and have your say.

Oxfordshire County Council consulted during 2016 on proposals to remove the buses from Queen Street and various related changes in the city centre. A number of comments and objections were received in response, so the county council has now developed revised proposals which seek to address the feedback it received in the previous consultations.

The revised proposals being put forward consist of two elements:

  1. Experimental closure of Queen Street to buses, taxis, and private hire vehicles, for a period of 18 months from October 2017
  1. Permanent public transport infrastructure, pedestrian, cycle and traffic management improvements in the city centre.  These improvements would remain in place whether or not Queen Street remains closed after the 18 month experimental period.

This consultation is primarily about the permanent changes and the associated Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) that are required to implement them. However, comments are also invited on the proposals for the experimental Queen Street closure, but note that you will also be able to comment on the closure at any time during the first six months of the experimental period, starting in October 2017.  Comments received during this time, along with other evidence gathered, will be considered by the council before a decision is made on whether or not to make the experimental closure permanent, this will occur at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on the 18 July 2017.

Arrangements can also be made so that you can view the proposals in person at: County Hall, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1ND, between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

Please note that the deadline for responses is 23 June 2017

Ruth is working on a response to these proposals on behalf of City Lib Dem Group. Please copy her into any comments you may have. The bus companies are not happy with some of the proposals and the removal of buses from Queen Street is of particular concern for public transport users.

Daytime support consultation -have your say

Find out more about the County Council’s proposals for a new, flexible system of daytime support across the county, and share your views on the options that have been proposed.

Book your place at one of their meetings.

Call 01865 323410 or email daytimesupportreview@oxfordshire.gov.uk. The County Council can organise transport for you or pay travelling costs if required.

Oxford

Tuesday 22 November 2016, 12.30pm – 2:30pm
West Oxford Community Centre, Botley Rd, Oxford OX2 0BT

Banbury

Wednesday 23 November, 12.30pm – 2:30pm Banbury Town Hall, 1 Bridge St, Banbury OX16 5QB

For more information – visit their website or pick up a consultation pack at a daytime support centre or library.
Closing date for comments: 20 December 2016

 

Queen Street consultation

The County Council’s consultation on the traffic regulation orders and new zebra crossings in Queen Street can be found here

Oxfordshire County Council proposes to improve the Queen Street area in central Oxford by:

  • Prohibiting buses from accessing and driving through it. This would in effect make the street – similar to Cornmarket,
  • Permitting cyclists to travel along Queen Street in both directions at all times of day, for a trial period of 18 months. Currently cycling is banned between 10am and 6pm,
  • No changes are proposed to access for delivery vehicles, which would continue to be permitted between 6pm and 10am,
  • Taxis would continue to utilise the existing rank at Carfax, but with slightly different access arrangements and with changes to the operational hours of the rank. Proposals are for access to be from High Street/St Aldates end only and turning at a point adjacent to the Clarendon Centre. Permitted hours for this arrangement are proposed as 9pm to 6am and again this will be on a trial period of 18 months.
  • A new junction arrangement (replacing the traffic signals with a mini roundabout) at Worcester Street/Park End Street to facilitate the proposed changes by allowing buses to easily turn.

More consultation documents are available on the above web page which address the provision of alternative arrangements for pedal-cycles, buses, taxis, and private hire vehicles

As detailed on the notice, any objections or other representations on the proposal should be submitted by Friday 14th October 2016.