Re-elect Altaf as your Lib Dem Headington Ward Councillor!

Roz and Ruth are delighted that Altaf is re-standing in Headington Ward.

All three Lib Dem councillors work closely as a team to represent the views of all Headington Ward residents and get action on your behalf. We send out regular Focus leaflets and e-bulletins to keep you fully informed about local issues, and hold street surgeries and monthly public meetings at which you can hold us to account.

Altaf writes:

I have been residing and working in OX3 for almost three decades and am very well versed with the area, the people and their issues. I am a family man and all my children have been born, bred and schooled locally.

I was first elected as an Oxfordshire County councillor in 2005 for Headington & Marston Division. I was re-elected in 2009 till 2013. I have also been an Oxford City councillor since 2006, I have held various portfolios including Education, Community Development and Safety, Planning and Transport.

 At the Oxford City Council, I have been an Executive Board member for Community Development and Community Safety. In addition, I have held various positions as opposition group member. I have chaired the Community and Partnership Scrutiny Committee (currently member) and was member of the East Area Planning Committee as well.

 In addition to the above, I have made major contribution to Controlled Parking Zone schemes, Traffic calming Schemes and London Road Improvement Scheme. I have always prioritised my constituents’ case work and maintained my visibility through all available means to stay in touch with them.

 I have a close working relationship with both my fellow Oxford City/County councillors, we work in unison for our joint constituents.

 I would like to improve Headington to a cleaner, greener area with respect to Traffic/Transport, Environment, Health and Community development/safety. I would like to keep my focus on planning and community engagement so that the council does listen to the people of Headington.

I am a people person and have always taken pride in my commitment in this respect.

LED lights in Headington – County response

We have contacted the County Council following national newspaper articles on a recent Public Health England document that referred to adverse health effects of LED street lighting.

The street lighting team has sent us a statement as follows (sic):

“The Council is fully aware of the report published by Public Health England, which builds on previous research which has been available for some time and refers primarily to the much  5000k LED lights that are available on the market which, whilst the most energy efficient, contain a higher level of blue light. Since the council started implementing LED lighting however, the council has acknowledged the need to balance potential savings in energy use and potential health impacts and as such have specified a warmer light for residential areas (3000k) and slightly bluer light (4000k) for the strategic road network. This approach follows the guidance outlined within the PHE report. Notwithstanding this, it is recognised that there are always people who may be more sensitive to such lighting than others, and where this has occurred the council has worked with individuals to install further modifications to minimise the impact and will continue to do so on a case by case basis.”

 

Latest on Access to Headington

We have just received this information from the County Council.

You will all no doubt be aware the Oxfordshire Growth Board announced the Year 1 growth project allocations yesterday and A2H received the full monies asked for. The announcement came a week earlier than we were expecting, it means that the Headley Way works will be continuing as originally scoped. 

I will update you with more information when I have it but the intention will be to start the Headley Way works after Easter, an Easter start would then have the programme running to Christmas 2018 (weather permitting). We will start at the Marsh Lane roundabouts as per our original programme but the programme at the JR access will be changed as we’ve managed to do some early works in advance that should reduce the disruption there.

As before, we will be undertaking a pre-construction exhibition at a location/time TBC.

The funding announcement also allows us to reintroduce elements of the work that were removed from scope including the pedestrian crossing on London Road at the Osler Road bus gate. A plan is attached showing the proposals for your information.  The proposals differ from the originals in the following way:

  • Original provision showed a toucan crossing incorporating the bus gate, after developing the design further it was determined that a controlled crossing could not be delivered safely.
  • Alternatives were considered, including a zebra, which had similar safety concerns.
  • The best alternative was to provide an uncontrolled crossing, incorporating a build out to shorten the crossing and providing a refuge in the middle of the road
  • There remains a broad local support for pedestrian provision in this location but bus companies are understandably concerned that the changes may affect the level of bus priority they receive with this latest proposal and we’re engaging with them to mitigate their concerns.

We will be looking to start the work as soon as possible, taking advantage of the Easter holidays if at all possible. It’s envisaged that the work would take 6-8 weeks given the site constraints.  We will be publicly advertising the attached shortly and will advise of the programme of works and TM phasing once approved by network management.

We are checking that works to trees can be done at this time, bearing in mind that this is the start of the nesting season.

Change in ward boundaries

A cross-party working group has agreed a joint response with the City Council officer to the Boundary Commission in respect of changes needed in ward boundaries to accommodate shifting population across the City.

The map of the ward boundaries proposed to the City’s executive board can be found below. The Boundary Commission will consider it along with responses from other consultees and there will be a consultation on the draft recommendations over the summer. Changes would be implemented in May 2020.

In this proposal, Headington Ward’s eastern boundary would extend further along the northern side of London Road, which we are very pleased about! This would make it one of the largest wards in the City in terms of population served.

Proposed ward boundary map

Council launches new local business guide and interactive online service to support businesses

The City Council has launched its 2017-2019 Oxford Business Guide, which showcases the city’s economic strengths, growth opportunities, and range of services designed to support business.

Produced in partnership with Burrows Communication, the guide is in hard copy and also in interactive digital format, and supports business with local regulatory functions, through to business networks and advice.

The accompanying ‘It’s Local’ Oxford online service provides an interactive listing of local businesses and organisations that provide services to business and consumers right across the city. All businesses are encouraged to sign up to ‘It’s Local Oxford, and add their free company profile.

The Oxford Business Guide e-book can be accessed here: www.itslocaloxford.co.uk/oxford/desktop/flip/index.html

‘It’s Local’ Oxford: www.itslocaloxford.co.uk

New appeal – 29 Old High Street

We’re advised of the following by Oxford City Council:

Site Address: 29 Old High Street, Headington

Appeal Reference: APP/G3110/X/17/3191929

Mr Young has appealed against refusal of planning permission issued by the Council for the application to certify that Proposed sub-division of existing house to form 2x 2-bed flats and erection of x3 dwellings to create a 2x 2-bed flat and 1x 1-bed flat is lawful (planning reference 17/02576/CPU).

This appeal will be decided by an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State at a public inquiry, date to be determined.

Those who sent in comments during the initial consultation period have until 5th April to amend or withdraw those comments, or to submit new or additional comments, copies of which will be sent to the appellant and the Inspector.

 

Rationale for Access to Headington scheme

The following statement was sent today by one of the County Council transport planners in response to queries about the validity of the Access to Headington improvements. We display it here for the benefit of residents.

I can confirm that prior to government funding being awarded the project was subject to a full Department for Transport business case. This confirmed that the proposals would deliver significant benefits linked to reduced vehicle delay and an uptake in cycling as a result of junction improvements and new and improved cycle lanes and priority at junctions. This was reported in a paper that went to a Cabinet Member Decisions meeting in June 2016, when the scheme was also approved by the county council following an extensive period of consultation. The paper can be viewed via the following webpageI can confirm that prior to government funding being awarded the project was subject to a full Department for Transport business case. This confirmed that the proposals would deliver significant benefits linked to reduced vehicle delay and an uptake in cycling as a result of junction improvements and new and improved cycle lanes and priority at junctions. This was reported in a paper that went to a Cabinet Member Decisions meeting in June 2016, when the scheme was also approved by the county council following an extensive period of consultation. The paper can be viewed via the following webpage

The same paper also confirmed that alternative roundabout designs were considered early in the design process for the Marston Road/Headley Way/Marsh Lane junctions. However, detailed modelling confirms that these designs would still cause large queues and delay, whereas junction modelling of the proposed signalised arrangement estimates that total vehicle delay and queuing will be significantly reduced. As a result, more of the junction’s capacity can be given over to prioritising buses through selective vehicle detection, cycle safety can be improved with the introduction of cycle pre-signals, and additional controlled crossings for pedestrians and cyclists can be installed, without having a negative impact on general traffic. 

In terms of the bus-link at Northway then this was planned for local bus services only given the roads in Northway are narrow and the route to the JR Hospital less direct than the B4495, which also serves more destinations. Furthermore, the Access to Headington aligns with the Oxford Transport Strategy (OTS), which proposes a series of projects that look to address citywide connectivity on Oxford’s orbital and radial routes, with proposed improvements on the B4495 delivering the first phase of infrastructure needed to achieve rapid transit and cycle networks as set out in the OTS. There have no changes to the OTS since Access to Headington was planned, design and consulted on which would require the scheme to be re-considered.  

 

Access to Headington latest

The Growth Board met yesterday in closed session. Although the Access to Headington project was not referred to on the agenda, it was discussed under an item with a different portfolio name.

We understand that individual projects are not likely to be announced till the 7th February. So the planned and published Staunton Road closure may still go ahead.

 

Tackling isolation and loneliness

Ruth recently attended a meeting convened by Headington Action on support for the lonely and isolated in Headington. Yesterday she asked a question in Council relating to the minute of a CEB meeting which said
136.Scrutiny Committee Reports Preventing Elderly Isolation 

Cllr Gant said the Scrutiny discussion had been supported well by officers and the Board Member. The Committee had looked at some specific matters as well as the more general ones reflected in the recommendations. He welcomed the positive response to the recommendations from the Board Member. 

The Chair noted that isolation was not just a function of age or ethnicity and should be considered across the piece. This was a subject which warranted some more concrete action and to that end he would ask for it be picked up by the Oxfordshire Strategic Partnership. 

Ruth said that Headington Action had convened a meeting on support for the lonely and isolated in the Headington Neighbourhood Area which had been very useful, and were actively working on mapping what is currently available. Could the Board Member indicate in what way he thought the OSP might take this forward?

Bob Price said he was very interested to hear about the Headington initiative. At a recent meeting of the OSP, support for the isolated (of all ages, not just the elderly) was identified as a key issue, and they would be setting up a Task and Finish Group to identify further action at their March meeting.

He would welcome an email from Ruth giving contact names from the Headington Community who might like to input to the discussions of the Task and Finish Group, and we have let Headington Action know. It would be great to have a Headington presence at this strategic level!

 

How to complain about noisy construction work

We now have a contact at Oxford City Council who is prepared to field all complaints from residents about unacceptable noise levels from construction work, which is particularly relevant for those living in Latimer Road.

The correct advice is for all complainants to report this to:

noise@oxford.gov.uk

We are aware that the works on the Winvic Beech Road site are rushing for completion, but we need to ensure the noise levels of works are acceptable

 Unfortunately the Out of Hours service for noise doesn’t cover Sunday daytime, it primarily being a late night/early morning service – details are here: https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20058/noise_pollution/145/report_a_noise_complaint/2

Overall, the responsibility for regulating commercial noise comes under the Business Regulation Team and that includes noise from construction sites. There are 2 main powers – noise nuisance legislation and Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974. These may be used where the construction activity is assessed to be having an unacceptable impact on residents and where best practice is not being applied. In addition good construction companies usually approach BRT to obtain a noise consent (Section 61 of the CPA74) if they have the need to do noisy work outside “normal” hours (see web pages here:

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20058/noise_pollution/149/noise_control_advice_-_construction_sites