Shotover issues

We;ve been asked to investigate whether the council may wish to consider putting in more controls over the access into the main car parking area at Shotover where much of the fly-tipping takes place. We’ve also been asked whether it’s possible to narrow the entrance and put a bar to stop any trucks coming up, as that appears to have worked in other places and put more enforcement notices around.

We’ve contacted the City Council and have received this response.

The Plain is also access to the farms and Shotover estate so this would cause them issues. Also, most of the fly-tipping there is householder stuff rather than commercial so comes in transit vans and trailers which a height barrier wouldn’t stop anyway. 


Damage caused by delivery lorry in Stephen Road


On Tuesday morning, a PH delivery lorry damaged street tree branches and damaged the wall of Stephen Court. It parked on double yellow lines while the delivery was made to Tesco’s in London Road.

A resident kindly informed us straightaway and took some photos of the wall and the lorry.

We reported this to Tesco Customer Care and they put us on to the company which deals with the distribution side and principally whether distribution lorries are driven properly. They will contact the company concerned and get back to us with a progress report (nothing sent yet)

We reported it to the police on 101 but they said they wouldn’t note it unless it was a highway obstruction

We reported it to County Highways and City Trees Team. County routed it through to the out of hours City Council Highways team to make sure all loose bricks were off the highway and City Trees went down yesterday to assess how much damage had been caused. (not heard back yet)

We called in at Tesco in London Road today and updated the manager in case she received any enquiries.

We have contacted Breckon and Breckon who are acting as the agents for Stephen Court and have supplied them with the above details.

Parking entitlement in car-free developments

Should permission be granted to build car-free accommodation in Headington?

If you agree, then should anyone moving into that accommodation be entitled to ask retrospectively for CPZ visitor permits?

This is a hot topic in Headington. Currently those living in “car-free” accommodation are not eligible for parking permits but a planning inspector has ruled in the favour of a developer who has asked retrospectively for the decision on one of his flats to be overruled.

This and other issues of concern will be debated in the Open Session at our next Ward Focus Meeting on Tuesday 26th September at 6pm in Headington Baptist Church Hall after the presentation by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Full Council meetings – getting your issues raised

One of the ways councillors get action on issues concerning Oxford residents is to ask questions of Board members, speak on agenda items, and submit motions for debate at Full Council meetings.

At next Thursday’s Council meeting, Ruth will be speaking to the following items as well as contributing to wider debate. Altaf will be speaking on tower block safety, hate crime and lease agreements with community groups.

If you would like your councillors to ask a specific question at Council or submit a motion on any specific issue, please get in touch.

Questions on notice

Cllr Wilkinson to Cllr Brown

Please can the Lead Member provide dates, times and duration in minutes of all instances when any part of the Council’s internet service has been down, including access to the Planning Portal, both on and off site, between 1/1/17 and 30/6/17 on

  • weekdays
  • out of hours

Cllr Wilkinson to Cllr Hayes

The 101 non-emergency service is used by both the public and by neighbourhood police team officers, and residents tell us they have waited for 30 minutes and over for a human reply to calls on that number. Is the Lead Member able to advise what progress has been made by TVP on identifying a more efficient Contact Management Platform and what priority is being given to this?

Cllr Wilkinson to Cllr Hayes

During the temporary pedestrianisation of Queen Street and the completion of the Westgate development, bus stops have been relocated to High Street outside the Covered Market. Queues for buses (particularly the 3 route to Rose Hill), pedestrians, and long lines of visitors including language school students are crowding pavements to such an extent that people are finding it necessary to walk on the carriageway. Residents tell me they are worried about safety both of pedestrians and cyclists. Can the Board Member please tell us what advice is being given by Oxford City Council to tour guides and language school co-ordinators on using alternative walking routes through Oxford if their destination is not a bus stop in the High?

Cllr Wilkinson to Cllr Hollingsworth

What are the arrangements for access, for members of the public and for academics, to historical planning records which pre-date the material available via the City Council website please?

Cllr Wilkinson to Cllr Hollingsworth

Can the Board member please confirm what air quality standards were imposed on the new underground car park at the Westgate Centre by the city during the planning process?

Cllr Wilkinson to Cllr Smith

Over the past month, an increasing number of white goods and other items have been dumped in the car park at Shotover. This started with five fridges which were there for a week after the Council was notified, and more fridges started to accumulate. Additional waste was dumped there on 13 July. Residents are calling for CCTV cameras to be installed. What further action is planned to address this, please?

Debate on agenda papers

Statement in support of the adoption of the  Headington Neighbourhood Plan

Motion on Notice

19f Fair employment: voluntary charter “Dying to Work”

Proposed by Councillor Wilkinson

Liberal Democrat member motion

This Council seeks to provide support and guidance to all its employees. In its Fair Employment Statement published in October 2016, the Rights and Responsibilities section makes it clear that:

“Every employee and potential employee has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and not to be discriminated against, victimised, bullied or harassed or to be treated less favourably than any other on any basis of any protected characteristic.”

It is acknowledged that unforeseen events can affect the lives of council workers, and that it is important that the Council does all that it can to maintain the dignity of staff who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Council notes that the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign includes a voluntary charter for employers to sign which sets out an agreed way in which their employees will be supported, protected and guided through their employment, following a terminal diagnosis.

The charter states the following:

·         We recognise that terminal illness requires support and understanding and not additional and avoidable stress and worry.

·         Terminally ill workers will be secure in the knowledge that we will support them following their diagnosis and we recognise that, safe and reasonable work can help maintain dignity, offer a valuable distraction and can be therapeutic in itself.

·         We will provide our employees with the security of work, peace of mind and the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families which helps them through this challenging period with dignity and without undue financial loss.

Council notes that a significant number of other city councils have signed up to this charter including Birmingham, Leicester, Liverpool and Sheffield.

This Council supports the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign so that all employees battling terminal illness have adequate employment protection and have their death in service benefits protected for the loved ones they leave behind.

Council therefore asks that Oxford City Council signs the Dying to Work voluntary charter to show its on-going commitment to supporting rights and responsibilities towards its staff and to bring back to Council any consequential changes to policy.

It further requests that the City Council informs Oxfordshire County Council and the other district councils in Oxfordshire of its actions so that they may consider whether to follow its example.

Should Oxford impose a tourism levy?

Ruth’s Lib Dem motion for Oxford City Council to lobby nationally for the power to impose a tourism tax was carried unanimously with cross-party support at Full Council on Monday.

The issues around tourist taxes are quite complex. Here is the text of Ruth’s speech.

In his 2007 inquiry into local government, Lyons recommended that the Government should consider legislating to allow some authorities to introduce a tourism-related tax where appropriate.

In January, the London Finance Commission reported on options for a tourist levy. It sets out international comparisons and estimated revenues.

Here are some broader economic arguments that have been made about tourist tax.

  • Tourists impose costs on the host society that are not paid for by the tourist. Residents should be compensated.
  • Tourists consume un-priced natural amenities and public goods
  • The tourism sector should bear the costs of promotion
  • Tourist taxes are common in many European cities
  • Hotel taxes may lead to a decrease in demand
  • The tourism sector is already heavily taxed in terms of ticket taxes, airport taxes and VAT
  • Tourist taxes shouldn’t only be levied on hotel accommodation
  • The admin burden would fall on businesses

How could a tourism-related levy work?

  • Flat rate per night’s stay e.g. in Lisbon
  • Percentage per hotel stay cost e.g. Berlin and Amsterdam
  • Flat rates set in bands e.g. according to star rating like in Paris and Rome

AirBnB has agreed with Amsterdam authorities to simplify the payment of the tourist tax by collecting and remitting those taxes on behalf of hosts.

There are alternative voluntary schemes too but audit would need to be transparent.

In Hackney, a £1 per night voluntary donation is added to guests’ hotel bills for:

  • hospitality training schemes supported by council programmes
  • Support for cultural events
  • Improvements to public spaces

The Heart of the Lakes accommodation company in the Lake District automatically adds £2 to every invoice it raises – guests can opt out (but don’t)

There are Tourism Business Improvement Districts in Loch Ness and Torbay, and consultation is underway on another one in Birmingham.

Westminster, Birmingham, Brighton, Bath, Edinburgh and Cornwall have all considered a tourist tax in recent years but none have gone ahead because the power to impose this has not been devolved by national government.

Camden Council wants to charge a tourist levy of £1 per person per night to use for extra street cleaning in popular areas like Camden Lock.

The figures for average hotel stay in Oxford are different from those in London where the average stay is much longer at 5.83 days. Inbound tourism is set to increase with the Westgate retail offer but how much of this will translate into increased hotel occupancy?

The devolution of power to local authorities to impose tourist taxes may be well worth fighting for, at a time of post-Brexit uncertainty and public spending cuts. I look forward to a wider debate.

Here is the text of the motion that was agreed.

Power to impose a tourist tax in Oxford

Council notes that a number of local authorities are currently lobbying for the power to impose tourist bed taxes or “hotel levies”. These include Camden, Westminster, Bath, Birmingham, Brighton, Edinburgh and Cornwall.

Council also notes the recent support by the Mayor of London for the introduction of such a levy following the publication for the London Finance Commission by the GLA of Working Paper 83 entitled Options for a tourism levy for London. This report gives details of tourist taxes levied across the world in cities that have a high proportion of tourists.

Council recognizes that the British Hospitality Association is strongly opposed to any imposition of a bed tax, and that the VAT rates in the UK on hotel accommodation are much higher than in other EU countries.

Oxford is the seventh most visited city in the UK by international visitors and is the tourism gateway to the rest of Oxfordshire. The opening of the new Westgate retail offer is expected to generate increased visits to Oxford. Council welcomes tourism in Oxford as this brings many benefits to the City, however this does bring with it an extra demand for infrastructure and environmental improvements, and cost to the Council of increased workload in some departments, for example Streetscene and Parks.

Council notes that there are uncertainties ahead post-Brexit with respect to Oxford’s economy, and that it may be wise to join other authorities in lobbying for the power to introduce and retain a tourism levy.

Council therefore asks the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council to work with other local authorities representing cities with high rates of tourism to lobby jointly for the devolution of the above power. It further requests that Council writes to Oxford’s two MPs to inform them of this Council’s motion and ask for their support.

Useful references:


Rough sleepers in Headington – how to help

Residents have asked for contact details of agencies they can ring to get help for rough sleepers in the area.

Oxford City Council supports the homeless services in the City in several ways, by funding several organisations who assist people who have fallen into need and supporting them to get back on track. This includes funding the Oxford Street Population Outreach Team (OXSPOT) who make daily contact with Rough Sleepers in the City to encourage them to access services to assist them with finding accommodation. There are two homeless hostels in the city, as well as other dispersed  supported accommodation for rough sleepers and single homeless people. Oxford SPOT will work with anyone rough sleeping to support them into suitable accommodation, either in the city or elsewhere, as well as link people up with any other relevant support they need.

Information on individuals sighted sleeping in the City is always welcomed as this can help us to target our approach in helping them. Please record any sightings, or raise concerns through OXSPOT who can be contacted directly on 01865 304 611 or via email outreach.oxford@MUNGOS.ORG or by recording on Streetlink,, who will then notify  OXSPOT.



Who should empty your bins? Join the debate

There is ongoing debate about whether local councils should be reorganised. Austerity cuts affecting the County Council means that it’s having to cut or reduce services that are important to people, and it thinks reorganisation of the whole structure is necessary to use money more effectively.

There are two schools of thought on whether complete reorganisation is necessary.

Here is the link to the One Oxfordshire proposal supported by the leaders of the Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour groups on the County Council: it seeks to abolish the county council and the five district councils and replace them with one new unitary authority.

The City Council believes that the necessary incremental savings can be made if all existing authorities can come together and work as one combined authority, however it is likely that this can only be allowed by central government if the proposal includes a directly elected Mayor.

Here is the Oxford City Council web page article explaining the rationale for its petition against the One Oxfordshire proposal.

Disclaimer: any inaccuracy of information displayed on the above linked web pages are entirely the responsibility of the local authority concerned.

Currently the county and district councils (the city council is a district council) are split over whether reorganisation should go ahead, and what form it should take.

We urge all our residents to take part in the public consultation on the One Oxfordshire proposal, whether you are in favour of it or not – your comments will count. We are interested to hear your views on this: we think there are strengths and weaknesses to both proposals. Unitaries may be the future, but their number, size and even the principle are not yet decided and deserve wide discussion.

We think it is very important that all authorities continue to debate the issues with one another, rather than take polarised positions.

Air quality in Headington

Here is an update we have received from the City Council about air quality monitoring in Headington.

By way of background, we monitor air quality at 75 locations across the city.  This specifically looks at Nitrogen Dioxide.  In order to gain good coverage across the city we rotate monitoring locations on an annual basis. A number of sites are maintained year on year in order to gather long-term data. We prioritise sites where we see breaches of the air quality objectives, as it is important for us to understand where the worst air pollution is experienced in the city

In Windmill Road we had a number of monitoring points in 2015, the majority of which showed air pollution levels well under the annual objective of 40ug/m3.  One monitoring point, called Windmill Road W, showed air pollution above this objective and we have therefore continued monitoring at this site. The other monitoring sites in Windmill Road, due to their relatively low readings, were moved elsewhere during 2016.

Monitoring data for 2016 will become available in the next couple of months, following ratification and approval by DEFRA and will be available on the Oxfordshire Air Quality Website so you will be able to see what has been happening at Windmill Road over the past year.

Beech House monthly update

Simon Houldsworth is the new project manager for the Beech House works in Latimer Road.


He reports as follows:

Progress on site:

Concrete works to the basement is progressing well, despite the drop in temperature and the limited access to site. We have managed to make our drainage connections in Latimer Road during the Vital energi works to reduce the impact on the access to Latimer road at a later date.

Work to be progressed over the next 4 weeks

We shall be completing the concrete works to the basement and starting the foundation to the maisonettes, as well as setting up a material delivery area.

Christmas shutdown

We will shut down for Christmas on Friday 23rd December and return on Wednesday 4th January.   There will be full time security on site all over Christmas.  









































Drop in councillor surgery in Sandfield Road Sunday morning

We have secured a minuted assurance from Vital Energi that a community contribution will be paid to mitigate disruption caused to residents along the energy pipe route.

So far we have received a number of bids for the following and are awaiting final quotes:

  • A drop kerb for pedestrians at the junction of Latimer Road and Latimer Grange
  • Removal of footway paving and replacement with tarmac outside Latimer Grange
  • Latimer Road footway overlay
  • Traffic calming measures in Highfield (from Highfield Residents’ Association)

We are concerned that there are no bids on the table from residents in the area north of London Road and we are holding an informal street surgery to discuss ideas with residents.


Sunday 20 November


by the Community Noticeboard at Cuckoo Lane/Sandfield Rd junction.

All three councillors will be available to answer questions relating to dates and times of energy pipe works too – and of course any other issue residents wish to raise. If you can’t come along but want to get in touch, here are our details:

Ruth –   Altaf: 07931 345554   Roz: 07584 257156