Brookside sewage spill latest

Tuesday’s blockage affecting Brookside and London Road was caused by paper and rag. This morning’s blockage has been cleared but a network engineer has been sent to site to determine whether pollution has spread to Boundary Brook.   Thames Water is digging up and repairing a damaged section of sewer on the opposite side of the London Road,but at the present time there is too much flow in the line for a camera to be put down which would help identify whether this is a contributing factor or whether there are other problems below ground.

If there is any evidence of pollution into Boundary Brook, Thames Water will carry out tests and report findings to the Environment Agency.

We are in daily contact with Thames Water over this issue.

Planning application for energy pipe

Ruth has initiated a call in of planning application 16/00101/FUL to East Area Committee so that the decision is made in public by councillors, and people have the chance to speak for or against the application. The call in was successful so it’s possible that the application will be heard by East Area Planning Committee on 2 March. The closing date for comments by neighbours is Friday 12 February.

A question and answer session will be held on the energy project as part of tomorrow’s Ward Focus meeting:

Tuesday 26th January

6:00 – 7:30 pm

All Saints Church House (Upstairs Room) New High Street, OX3 7AL

***If the venue is not big enough, we shall move the meeting to the church (opposite)

Vital Energi statement on the hospital pipeline project

Ashley Malin, Project Development Director, has sent us the following statement today.

Following our press statement of 6 January 2016, we want to provide an update to ensure everyone in the local community in Headington is kept informed of the current status of the Energy Link of the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust Project.

Vital Energi has taken the decision to apply for planning permission for the Energy Link works, following a detailed review of the letter received from the Local Planning Authority of Oxford City Council on 5 January 2016 and having engaged with the Trust, stakeholders and external planning consultants.  The application is being dealt with in the usual way through the City Council’s planning department and will include a period of public consultation in order for any comments or objections to be raised. The planning application will not affect the Section 50 Street Works licences approved by Oxfordshire County Council before the works took place.

We would like to reassure the local community of Headington that all planning permissions for the works taking place at the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals as well as detailed air quality assessments have been approved by the Local Planning Authority at Oxford City Council during the pre-construction stage. District heating is an emerging technology and has differing requirements from utilities and statutory undertakers which is not well understood in relation to these applications to Heat Networks; planning permission requirements are not always evident.

The Energy Link works will require road closures on 6 roads for a total overall period of 25 weeks. To minimise the impact to residents, the work is programmed to be carried out in small 120 metre sections, with each section of road being closed for a maximum of 4 weeks only. We understand that these works will cause disruption to the residents of Headington, which is why our project team have been and will be readily available to work with residents to reduce the impact on the local community.  

The Energy Link will play a fundamental role in the Hospital Energy Project as a whole providing significant carbon emission and financial savings which can be reinvested by the Trust.

The Hospital Energy project itself involves the removal of aged and inefficient equipment and infrastructure at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and replacing it with new low carbon, high efficiency equipment.  

The Energy Link will connect the John Radcliffe Hospital with the nearby Churchill Hospital providing low carbon heat, hot water and electricity to both Hospitals providing greater resilience to deliver both significant environmental and energy saving benefits, which are guaranteed over the course of the next 25 years

Guaranteed Annual Savings:

  • £2.3million energy savings every year for 25 years
  • Over 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions displaced each year for 25 years

The savings generated mean that future environmental compliances are achieved and the opportunity to invest in frontline clinical services for the 1 million patient contacts the Trust undertake each year.  

Vital Energi will continue to work closely with the Council, the Trust, stakeholders and residents during the period of the planning application and the public consultation. We will continue to keep local residents updated and informed.

Representatives of Vital Energi will be attending the next residents meeting on 18thJanuary to answer questions the residents may have.


Roads re-open in Highfield

All Saints Road, Bickerton Road and Latimer Road are now open to through traffic, pending the submission of a planning application by the contractors Vital Energi to Oxford City Council.

A temporary road surface has been tarmacked across the top of the filled in trench as an interim measure. When the pipe is laid and the road surface is reinstated after the works, the finish will be of a much higher standard.

The City Council hopes to receive the planning application and supporting documents early next week.

Thanks to all residents for your forbearance while this is sorted out.

Temporary surface at All Saints Road

County instruction to energy pipe contractors

The Strategic Manager for the County Highway Network has contacted us with the following news.

In answer to your email I am writing to let you know that we have written to VitalEnergi this morning with an instruction to leave the site, fill the dug up trench and reinstate the road with the temporary surface IF they cannot guarantee that they will be in a position to restart their work tomorrow.  If VitalEnergi are planning to restart tomorrow there is no action needed and the work and closures and suspensions continue as now.

In case they cannot guarantee tomorrows’ return and the road is reinstated and opened, TTRO is not going to be suspended and access will be available.  There is no need for suspension of the TTRO nor for Parking Notices as the Order is valid for the period of 18 moths from the start date and is worded in such way that the parking suspension can be implemented as the work progresses.  What it means in practice is that the work can commence and finish within this period as long as it will not go beyond 18 month deadline.  If it does the promoter of the works must apply for the extension to the TTRO.

With regard to parking in the event of work not continuing, the suspension signs will stay in place but the County will not enforce the suspension on any resident parked in the bays with cars displaying valid permit. Change to the information on the actual suspension sign will be made when work starts again and if an extension of the suspension is required.  If however the works will not be restarting within the initial parking suspension time period, as currently shown on the signs, we will then remove all signage and a new application for parking suspension will be required.

PLEASE NOTE If Vital Energi restart their work tomorrow there will be no change to the current situation

For information, the Trust’s position is that this is a matter for the contractor and the local planning authority to sort out.

The City Council’s Planning Dept has written to the contractors explaining what information will be needed if/when a retrospective planning application is made.




Energy link work suspended temporarily

Here is a press release which was sent to us by Vital Energi this evening

“We have received correspondence from the Local Planning Authority of Oxford City Council regarding the energy link which we are currently investigating further. Works associated with the energy link underground utility services and the formation of the service trench have been suspended whilst discussions with the Local Planning Authority continue. We will continue to work closely with Oxford University Hospitals Trust, the Local Planning Authority, Residents and Stakeholders to minimise disruption. Further updates will be provided in due course.”


Ashley Malin, Project Development Director, Vital Energi

We are presently trying to find out whether parking suspension notices in Stapleton Rd can now be withdrawn, whether the fencing in All Saints Road can come down, and whether the road closures will remain. We shall update this site as soon as we know more.


The Head of Planning and Regulatory Services has sent a letter today to contractors Vital Energi  stating that planning permission is required for the works to install the energy transfer equipment and apparatus on behalf of the Trust.

We asked the City Council to investigate whether this s50 work needed to go through the planning process when details of the project were released.

Our view has always been that the planning process would ensure that residents’ comments were fully taken into account, details of what was proposed would be made clear, and appropriate conditions would be set.

You can see the full letter by clicking this link: vitalenergi final

We are waiting to hear the response from Vital Energi and will update the website when we know more. It appears that an environmental impact assessment may also be needed – that is something else that our residents have asked us to find out more about.

Signage for the Hospital energy works project

Contractors have agreed to put up signs advising cyclists to dismount when using footpaths in roads affected by the works, after we followed up a suggestion from a Lime Walk resident.

We have discussed signage with the contractors at some length, and residents have written to us complaining that traffic is U-turning at the bottom of Bickerton Road. We’ve agreed with Vital Energi that signs off Old Road will advise that the road is closed except for access. Other signs in and around Stapleton Road are also being moved.

If you see any signs that are misleading or placed incorrectly, please let us know.

First road closure in All Saints Road

First road closure in All Saints Road