Underground electricity fault in Old Headington area

There has been a series of power cuts over the recent past from the substation next to the garage in London Road through a fairly large area comprising St Andrew’s Rd, St Andrew’s Lane, Laurel Farm Close, Osler Road, Old High Street (and we would assume) Larkins Lane.

The Customer Relations adviser at SSE says there is an intermittent underground fault which could be caused by a number of factors including subsidence, or a knock to the plastic casing of a cable or joint which has induced seepage of water.

When the fault occurs, a safety fuse blows in the substation and has to be replaced. SSE has put in some software to monitor this in the substation – it’s called a Kelvatek “bidoyng” and for those of you dying to know what that is, please click here (thanks to Alexandra for the link)

Apparently it detects a blown fuse, replaces it and also does a search of nearby lines to try and track exactly where the fault is happening. They have also carried out back feeding to try and identify the source. They have ruled out overloading though.

If we get any more details we will post them here. There is currently no guarantee that another power cut won’t happen again but it should be rectified much more quickly – SSE Community Officers have been out door knocking to give advice to their customers.


Abandoned vehicles service offered by the City Council

Abandoned vehicles have a negative effect on the quality of our environment in Oxford but the City Council has an officer dedicated to combat this.
He operates on behalf of the DVLA, using powers devolved from them, to report and remove untaxed/SORN vehicles from the public highway and other ‘off road’ areas.

He also acts on behalf of other Council departments such as Housing, Parks, and Corporate Assets, to investigate vehicles that they have concerns about and remove them. This is usually done through a 15 day notice, but if a vehicle is declared dangerous, it can be removed immediately.
This service is also offered to the private sector, such as housing associations, independent companies and private individuals.

All online and telephone enquiries are investigated, and he also tags and removes abandoned bikes. Most bikes are removed after bi-monthly inspection of the 186 racks throughout the city. Around 1,000 bikes a year are removed and these are offered to different charities or are recycled.

You can report an abandoned vehicle on the City Council website at https://www.oxford.gov.uk/homepage/122/report_an_environmental_problem

Revised single unitary plans proposal

Thanks to all residents for sending in comments to the proposal for a single unitary. Some of these comments have brought changes in the revised proposal, particularly a significant increase in area boards and strengthened governance for Oxford City.

The latest revised proposal is at www.betteroxfordshire.org

The next steps for the proposal are that it will be considered by Vale of White Horse’s Cabinet on Monday. The county council’s Performance Scrutiny Committee will consider the proposal in detail on Thursday 9 March, including a presentation on public engagement exercise. The County Council Cabinet will consider the proposal on 14 March.

Cllr Price, the Leader of the Oxford City Council has commented:

“Our position remains the same. We call on the County Council to end this wasteful exercise that now seems more confused than ever and focus instead on solving the issues we are all facing over housing, infrastructure and skills shortages.”

We would welcome all comments from residents on the revised proposal. It seems that some changes have been made in response to resident concerns. We certainly agree with Cllr Price that the exercise has been wasteful of council taxpayers’ money, but this applies to the City Council as well as the County Council. We look forward to the results of various Freedom of Information requests to find out the total cost incurred by both authorities on consultancy and marketing at a time when adult social services and children’s services are fighting to maintain service levels at a time of huge government cuts. We believe that the outcomes need to be about quality, sufficiency and effective management of services to our residents.

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.

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.


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


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


Bravo County Council! Changes to parking permit service

Thanks to residents for telling Customer Services Manager Mark Peet your views at our Ward Focus Meeting. He has investigated your issues and reports back below on actions taken.

As promised I have a further update on improvements to the Residents and Visitors Parking Permit service.

In July I  advised that I would be looking at further ways to improve our online service and document validation service for residents, in particular around the Headington area, who are unable to upload documents as part of the application process.

I am pleased to inform you I have made changes to reflect the need to improve both of these areas.

  1. Online Payments – As part of the online application process for Resident and Visitor Permits, residents in Controlled Parking Zones can now complete the full application online including paying for their permits. There is now a secure, safe and PCI compliant way to pay for residents when applying. This service was made available from Monday 8thAugust and we have had over 100 applicants in less than a week choosing to apply and pay using this service.
  2. Document Validation – On the 8thand 9th of September our team in Headington Library will be training in Document Validation which will enable them to validate parking documentation. This service will then be available in Headington Library from week commencing 12th September. This means customers will be able to validate the documents we need as part of the application processes without needing to send them into us. We will simply check the documents and hand them back to the resident once we have confirmed they are correct.

It’s good to see positive changes being made by the County Council and an officer keen to come out to public meetings to listen to and act upon our residents’ concerns.

Children’s centres latest

We are frequently asked for latest news on children’s centres. Here’s the latest County Council briefing.

This briefing updates you on the latest position with the council’s proposals for children’s services and its work with communities to identify local solutions for the delivery of open access services for children.

Children’s Centres & Early Intervention Hub Contract Extension

In February 2016 Cabinet approved the proposals for new arrangements for an integrated children’s social care and early intervention service to support children and families in Oxfordshire. It was recently announced that county council contracts for Oxfordshire’s children’s centres and early intervention hubs have been extended until 31 March 2017. This extension provides time for Cabinet to consider how to allocate an additional £2m that the council agreed not to cut from the early intervention services, when the budget was set in February.

A decision on how the additional £2m will be spent will be taken by Cabinet on 24 May. Information about the proposals is available on our website here, and we will be sending further updates after this decision is taken by Cabinet.

Community Engagement

The extension of contracts will give us more time to continue working with communities to develop the best possible local solutions for the continuation of open access services. We are now planning to host a community engagement event in November 2016, and any new community initiatives will likely be in place in March 2017.

We will shortly be updating our website, draft community framework and FAQs to reflect our new timeline. In the meantime we continue to welcome any enquiries from community groups who would be interested in continuing open access non-statutory services in their area.

Relief is at hand for late night shoppers in Headington

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Following our request for WC availability after 17:00 in Headington, we’re delighted that the City Council’s Streetscene team has enabled one of the Bury Knowle Park toilets near the London-bound bus stop to open 24/7.

We hope this will help residents and visitors caught short in the evenings, and encourage folk to use our restaurants, cafes and shops into the evening.

Headington is the only district centre with this facility.

Latest news from Fire and Rescue Services

During the month of November crews from Slade Fire station have attended:

  • road traffic collisions in the area
  • a number of property fires in the area
  • five vehicles on fire
  • an elderly lady fallen and unable to open door
  • gas leaks
  • flooding to property
  • carbon monoxide detectors actuating
  • persons stuck in lift.

There were 87 property fires (max target is 113).

There were 41 fires in people’s homes (max target was 45).

6 of these homes didn’t have a smoke alarm working.

Fortunately, nobody has died as a result of a fire in their home.