Re-lining in Bickerton and Stapleton Roads

We have followed up suggestions from the Highfield Residents’ Association for changes/improvements to the re-lining scheme and here is the advice (in blue) that we were sent by the County Council.

Arbitrary painting solid white lines in the road between houses where there is a gap but too narrow for a car, or not asked for by the owners:

  • Between nos 10 and 12
  • Between nos 20 and 22
  • Between nos 23 and 25
  • Between nos 44 and 46
  • Between nos 48 and 50

As you are probably aware the Highway Code tells motorists not to “obstruct” dropped kerbs. Since marking a parking bay across them seemingly contradicts this rule, we need to provide something to indicate the presence of an access and deter any obstruction. As the access protection line (APM) is only advisory and cannot be routinely enforced, it should not have a great effect on residents’ parking. Unless the access owner complains to the police that they are obstructed. However, this can only occur when they are trying to use it.

Consequently those who have the sole right of access can park over their own access/APM since they cannot obstruct themselves. In cases where the access is not owned by the driver, they would need to ensure that those with the right of access agree. Similarly with joint accessways both owners would have to agree.

I would also add that in addition to the access owners’ agreeing any parked car would also have to abide by the control in the parking bay (i.e. displaying the appropriate permit).

I also appreciate that the gaps between houses might be too narrow for most modern cars but there are other vehicles which might require and have the right of access. 



Continuous double yellow lines extended unneccessarily to include width of front of house

  • Outside nos 21A and 21
  • Outside no 37
  • Outside no 51

Yellow lines are not being extended at these locations. We are unable to make changes to the parking controls since this is only a maintenance scheme which does not involve any changes being made to the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which defines the controls.

Adjustments to existing double yellow lines:

  • Between no 28 and 30 there is an adjustment to the double yellow lines, yet the householder has asked for them to be removed  as the gap is too narrow for use and a parking bay inserted instead 

This corrects an error in the original markings. 

Existing double yellow line that should be removed:

  • Outside the being built 17A has no parking entitlement, so presumably the old double yellow lines and dropped curb will be removed?  Not marked as presumably builders’ lorries were parked there when the road was being marked up 

This length of yellow line is not marked to be refreshed since it is not defined in the TRO.






Energy pipe given planning go ahead…with conditions

The East Area Planning Committee met tonight to discuss the energy pipe application 16/01565/FUL

It granted consent subject to 20 conditions, some of which were amended or added during the meeting*. There are also 6 informatives. Provisionally we noted these as follows (but are subject to change as minutes not yet available):


  1. Development begun within time limit.
  2. Develop in accordance with approved plans.
  3. Materials.
  4. Tree Protection Plan (TPP) 2.
  5. Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) 2.
  6. Monitoring and Supervision of Trees.
  7. De-compaction of RPAs.
  8. Noise mitigation measures.
  9. Temporary Car Park. *Extra lighting
  10. JR Compound.
  11. Churchill Compound.
  12. Welfare Compound.
  13. Visitor Permits.
  14. Construction Traffic Management Plan. *To be a living document with sign off by the Head of Planning and Regulatory Services in conjunction with the Chair of the East Area Planning Committee and the four ward councillors in the affected wards
  15. Hours of Work.
  16. Arch – Implementation of programme.
  17. Use of Pipework.
  18. Air Quality Measures.
  19. Communications* to include leaflet, web updates, disability provision, clear instruction on how to claim for damage arising from works, residents to be leafleted promptly if unexpected delays to works occur
  20. Charging point for electric vehicles* – check availability at hospital sites to ensure facility is available


  1. All works to be noticed in accordance with the NRSWA Act including applying for Section 50 licence….
  2. All works must comply with the code of practice for NRSWA, namely chapter 8 Signing and Guarding, and reinstatements
  3. Traffic management associated with the proposed work to be agreed …with County Council officers….
  4. Any Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders or Temporary Traffic Signals required must be duly applied for in a timely manner..
  5. City Council’s legal position re ownership of land affected*
  6. Additional maintenance work may require planning permission*


To include the willingness of the applicant to make available a community contribution

Before sign off of CTMP, clarification/action needed for:

  • road sweeper will be hired to clean roads as required  – required by whom?
  • highways condition survey must be done and recorded for the entire route prior to commencement

The draft minutes will be produced by Friday afternoon 9/9/16 and any 12 councillors may call in the decision for deliberation by a further planning committee Tuesday 13/9/16.

If unchallenged, the decision notice is likely to be sent out before the end of next week.

Technically, the County Council requires three weeks notice before works can start so works could theoretically begin as early as 10th October, however work will need to be done to satisfy certain conditions first. The start date for works will also need to fit around the Access to Headington works which are due to start at the Roosevelt Drive/Old Road junction the following week. No energy pipe work can be carried out in Churchill Drive till the Access to Headington works finish in Roosevelt Drive so the phasing of works will need to be revised.


Headington Neighbourhood Plan out for FORMAL consultation

All comments on the submission document will be sent to the formal examiner. Here is some background information.

Headington Neighbourhood Forum has been preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for the Headington Neighbourhood Area (designated in April 2014).  It is intended that the Neighbourhood Plan will be used to guide future development and manage the change alongside Oxford’s Local Plan.

The previous consultation stages were organised and managed by the Headington Neighbourhood Forum.   The Forum has taken account of comments raised at each consultation stage in drafting the policies in the plan.  The Consultation Statement, which has been produced by the Headington Neighbourhood Forum, is available on the City Council’s website:

The next stage of the project is the Submission Document, which includes the Headington Neighbourhood Forum’s proposed wording for their Neighbourhood Plan.  This consultation stage is managed and organised by the City Council.

The Submission Document has been published for consultation from: Friday 26th August to Friday 7th October

The Neighbourhood Plan documents and all other supporting information are available to view on the City Council’s website:  The documents are also available to view at the City Council’s main offices in St. Aldate’s, Monday to Friday between 09.00 and 16.30 and in Headington Library.

All comments should be submitted on a Comment Form which is available (and can be completed electronically) from the website.  Paper copies are available at Oxford City Council Offices in St. Aldate’s and in Headington Library.

All comments must be received at the City Council’s offices by 4pm on Friday 7th October 2016

Comments made during the consultation period will be collated and sent to an independent examiner.  The independent examiner will have regard to any relevant comments when examining the document.

It is important that comments in support of the plan are sent in as well as objections to ensure that the examiner gets a completely balanced picture of people’s views.

Please contact us if you require any further help or information.

Latest on the energy pipe application

We have left an A3 hard copy version of the Construction Traffic Management Plan relating to the energy pipe application at Headington Library for residents to study. This is a work in progress and subject to change.

The planning committee meeting about the energy pipe application is going to take place on 7th September. The construction traffic management plan is being prepared now by the County Networks Team and the applicant and will only come into operation if planning consent is granted.

We are working closely with the County Networks Team which manages traffic when works happen. They have asked us some questions which we shall be talking to residents about:

  • Lime Walk South is likely to be one way only (downhill direction towards London Road) while works are ongoing in that area. Do residents consider that Bickerton Road and Stapleton Road could usefully be made one way while works are happening between London Road and Old Road?
  • Should access to the above area be signed “Access to frontages only” while works are on-going?
  • The works to All Saints junction would make it trickier for residents in New Headington to access their properties – do they think that the bollards at the end of Bateman Street should be removed temporarily so that people who live in Piper, Windsor, Wilberforce, Perrin, Bateman Streets and Kennett Road will have a second route in/out during the period these works are happening? (c3 weeks)

Please let us have your views on these issues as there is limited time to influence this traffic management plan to best advantage.

At present it seems that the County meeting held in public on whether consent should be granted for a street works licence will happen at 2pm on 5/9 with a City briefing on the legal implications to councillors in public very very soon afterwards (date to be confirmed) and certainly before 7/9.

Update on works at Beech House (corner of Latimer Road)

Here are unconfirmed notes taken from yesterday’s meeting of the developers/construction company with the community. We are finding it progressively more difficult to help co-ordinate building works  in what appears to be an absence of any work schedule for the Access to Headington project. We are bombarding the County Council’s A2H team with requests for information on what will happen when!

Issues so far

  • Latimer Grange residents very upset by noise from piling work RW. Piling work will stop on Friday, machinery will be removed Mon/Tues next week
  • Start times adjusted following complaint from RW
  • Complaint from RW re car in Latimer Grange private space into which a worker on site had driven into at speed and parked displaying a notice “car broken, waiting AA” had been resolved by site manager
  • County Networks had complained the road needed wetting and cleaning, this has been done
  • Winvic staff very helpful in helping elderly residents cross the road (McMaster House and RW)

Current situation

  • Had met Planners this morning, useful meeting. Need to look at resolving some issues incl. ramp from London Road entrance – concerns about tree roots, bin storage areas, waiting for reply from Headington School re fins/window treatments
  • Promised to reinstate pavement for McMaster House – have already tarmacked the other side and McMaster House warmly appreciative
  • Promised to sort out the half-block wall outside which now looks unattractive

Outstanding issues

  • Contribution towards Latimer Grange barrier ready to be made but don’t know who is going to do the work. (RW chase Hastoe Housing Association manager)
  • Newsletters have ceased after the one in May, site manager will issue a brief sheet explaining what has been done so far and what will happen over the next 4 weeks

Likely timetable

  • For the following 6-8 weeks, Cairncross will deal with ‘civil works’ within the curtilage
  • Storm water drain connection will necessitate works in London Road. Likely to be Jan/Feb but plans still to be drawn up
  • Co-working in close proximity with other major projects needs to be more joined up  (RW chase County again for Access to Headington plan and speak to County Networks about tie-ing in works with Vital Energi if the pipe application gets consent)
  • Drainage/sewerage issues – existing pipework may be insufficient diameter, certainly in Latimer Road and Brookside (RW asking Drainage team for advice before contacting Thames Water)
  • Tower crane needed end Oct/early Nov. Jib needs to be assembled in 36m of space before attaching to mast. There may not be enough room on site to do this so likely to ask Networks for road and footway closure at top of Latimer Road on a Saturday (date to be confirmed, could be beg. November)

Contacts on site

  • Site Manager is going on holiday 17/8
  • Mick Walsh taking over rest of this week, we have his contact number
  • He goes on holiday for Bank Holiday week so there will be a relief manager sent there for the 3 working days of that week, details not yet known. Mick will inform stakeholders

All questions to Ruth (RW) please.

Latest on Brookside sewer system

We have received this update from Thames Water.

Our Technical Specialist has reviewed the footage from the recent clean of the sewer in Brookside. He was unable to obtain a clear picture of the condition of the pipework due to the high level of flow in the sewer. He has asked our camera team to repeat the survey, ensuring they have a tanker to control the flow in order to obtain a clear picture of the sewer.

This work has been scheduled for 8 August. Once completed the footage will be uploaded and assessed by our Technical Specialist to determine if further work is needed. I will continue to monitor our progress and will contact you with our next steps by 22 August at the latest.

Pollution fears by residents justified

The Brookside sewage spills were very upsetting for residents, and there were also fears about pollution to Boundary Brook.

We have received the following report from the senior case manager at Thames Water and will publish follow-up correspondence.

Dear Councillor Wilkinson

Thank you for highlighting the repeated external sewer flooding suffered by residents of Brookside. Sewer flooding is always a terrible experience and I fully appreciate residents’ desire for a solution to be put in place given the repeated nature of the problems and the pollution caused as a result.

I would like to reassure you that our investigations into the cause of the flooding are ongoing but our initial findings have not identified a lack of capacity in the sewers. The recent flooding incidents have all been caused by blockages of paper and toilet wipes, rather than hydraulic overload. Hydraulic overload is where the flows in the sewers are higher than they are designed to cope with and usually occurs after heavy rainfall. 

I understand from your email that other residents in Brookside have experienced flooding which they have not reported to us. It is really important that they do report any flooding as soon as possible to our 24 hour Customer Contact Centre on 0800 316 9800. This allows us to investigate and help them as soon as possible and also allows us to build a full history of issues in Brookside, which our operational team then use to justify further investigations or improvements.    

Our operational team have been working hard to identify and resolve the root cause of the blockages. If there is a defect or obstruction in the pipe this would cause items to catch and lead to flows backing up and causing the floods. Our engineer’s inspection of Boundary Brook on 13 July confirmed that floodwater had entered the highways drainage and then into the Brook causing a pollution. As a result he arranged for a full clean and camera survey of the 150mm foul water sewer in Brookside to be completed to check for any obstructions or defects in the line. When our engineer revisited Boundary Brook on 16 July he confirmed that the pollution has stopped but also arranged for our team to complete a clean-up of the Brook on 18 July.     

Our camera team completed the clean and camera survey of the foul sewer in Brookside on 19 July. They cleared scale and debris from the line and left the pipe free-flowing and fully operational. The footage will be shortly viewed by one of our technical specialists to determine if further work is required. I will contact you with the results of the review by 4 August.

Cuckoo Lane wall

The condition of the wall in Cuckoo Lane (inside Osler Road entrance, north side) is often questioned by residents.

Is this wall safe?

Is this wall safe?

We have received the following report from a council building control surveyor which may be of interest to residents.

 I have visited the site and from my inspection consider the wall is not dangerous or in a position to collapse in its current state of repair. 

The reason for the crack and bulge appears to be from a historic ivy covered tree stump located right against the retaining wall bulge which when the cut tree was alive and growing, pushed the wall out prior to its removal causing the bulge.  

The large mature conifer close to the stump appears to be at full maturity and not likely to exceed in size which is unlikely to push the wall further out a couple of metre further down the pathway from the reported wall crack and bulge. 

The other reason for the crack is from thermal expansion and contraction of a very long straight wall running along Cuckoo Lane with no expansion joints (typical of a wall of this age and construction) which in colder periods, the crack will increase in size and on hotter weather close up almost completely, hence would not recommend it to be filled either to allow for the thermal expansion.

Therefore in its current condition, the wall is not in a dangerous state of repair and no remedial work required at this stage.

I trust the above is of assistance and reassurance

Action on Children’s Centres

At the full Council meeting of Oxfordshire County Council on Tuesday 12th July, the Liberal Democrats amended motion on Children’s Centres was passed unanimously.

The motion as amended is below:

Council continues to supports the general principle that those in greatest need should have the highest priority. However, Council regrets that it has been compelled to abandon the concept of universal provision offered by our Children’s Centres in Oxfordshire as a result of the Government’s cuts in Local Authority funding. In the meantime, Council is aware that, as a result of the focus on the most needy children and families in our County, there will be large areas- particularly in the West which now have no Children Centre buildings – the same areas likely to suffer most from rural isolation as the Council removes bus subsidies. Ensuring that there was some compensation for these areas was a key statement agreed by Council in its February budget.

  1. Council therefore believes that it is now essential that the effects of the loss of Children’s Centres, in these areas, is compensated for by:
  2. Offering active support to the parents, volunteers and Parish Councils taking over or hoping to take over the vacated Centres.
  3. Persuading District Councils to join us in giving as much support to these bodies as possible.That the £1m Transition Fund agreed at the February budget should be committed to these areas to achieve the above.

Councillor Richard Webber, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group said:

It is hard to find much to be pleased about in the current atmosphere of austerity and uncertainty, so it was something of an achievement for the Liberal Democrat Group to have gained the unanimous backing of OCC for using £1m of transition funding to alleviate some of the pain being caused by the cuts to the County’s Children’s Centres.

Don’t flush toddler wipes – Brookside sewage spill weekend update

There have now been three sewage spills in four days in the area around the top of Brookside and London Road. All blockages in the line have been cleared, the latest was completed Friday night.

The line has been jetted upstream and cleared but the underground flow is so strong that it is currently not possible to get a camera down to make a closer inspection of the pipe.

This problem is complex in that there a number of factors that need to be taken into account.

  1. All the blockages have been caused by ‘rag’, a term which includes a number of possible items including baby wipes. Baby wipes have often been visible when the line is unblocked. We have found out that confusing and misleading product labelling can lead to people flushing toddler wipes and sanitary items which can take a number of years to break down. The Thames Water website comments:

There are currently no restrictions in place to prevent these products being sold as ‘flushable’. 

The only product to pass water industry ‘flushability’ tests so far is toilet paper. Manufacturers have their own tests, which are more lenient resulting in a greater number of products being labelled ‘flushable’. 

To resolve this, the water industry and manufacturers are working together to develop a shared protocol. This project is also hoping to influence product labelling.

2. The frequency and volume of blockages seems to indicate that the diameter of the pipe may not be big enough or that the pipe has got too old or is damaged.

3. The timing of these blockages coincides with works to replace part of a sewer on the northern side of London Road and engineers want to find out if the two are related.

The situation currently is that a network engineer is making a site visit today to make an assessment. Hopefully a camera can be used to determine the state of the pipe below. A cleaning up operation will be done by contractors next week if the all clear is given. The work has priority 1 status. Engineers need to assess whether any pollution of Boundary Brook has taken place – tests will need to be done and if found positive, the Environment Agency will be informed, but we have no information on this yet and it may turn out that tests will be negative.

Your local councillors are in contact with both Thames Water and their contractors. It would help us if residents could express concerns over whether the diameter of the pipe is big enough whenever they speak to TW or to contractors.

Actions for councillors

  • We are pressing for updates and actions from Thames Water
  • We have agreed with Thames Water that they will carry out a leaflet drop to residents in the surrounding area about what can and cannot be flushed away
  • We have agreed with Thames Water that we shall publicise this web page to the wider area
  • We have obtained a Headington sewer map so that residents and councillors can see where the pipes run to and from in the area
  • We are in touch with Trading Standards to find out how best we can get movement from manufacturers on the shared protocol for product labelling and will consider how best to take this forward nationally