Oxford 2026

There will be a meeting of Full Council next Tuesday 5 August to discuss “Oxford 2026: the Oxford core strategy”. This is a very important document as it outlines the planning vision for Oxford over the next 18 years, and discusses, among other things, the proposed development of Headington and its infrastructure. If you would like to see this document, please click on the website link and select the section you want to view under item 4.1.

The document will be formally published on 5 September 2008 and there is still time to contact either Cllr David Rundle or myself if you want us to raise any associated issue at full Council. Any planning policy changes in the future are likely to refer back to this document, so we need to make sure it reflects the views of our Group and our residents. Please let us know if you have concerns about anything in this document.

How far do planners consult residents on applications?

I have been contacted by residents to ask about the degree to which public consultation has taken place with regard to the prospective application to install a mast at Rock Edge. Please click on the planning application website to view this application and quote planning reference 08/01162/CPU. This is the reply from Planning Officers.

There are three types of proposal for telecommunications:

1. Permitted development notifications
2. 56 day proposals ( up to 15 metres)
3. Full applications.

For all three we notify neighbours within 100 m and schools within 200m,
although blocks of flats will get just a notice put up in the foyer.

In addition for those:
For category 1 above the letter advises that this is permitted
development and neighbours should write to the company not us.

For category 2 we also put up 4-5 site notices on community notice
boards and other strategic sites in the area

For category 3 as well as the site notices we also put a formal notice
in the local press.

This application falls under permitted development. It
appears from the system that the 100m ruling was applied in this
instance.

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If you are a resident living close by this development (i.e. within 100 metres) and you feel you should have been consulted about the application but this has not happened, please get in touch with me via phone or email or via this website and I will investigate this further.

The planning officers have been working on a consultation guide outlining the extent to
which they should consult on all types of applications received by Oxford City Council’s Planning Dept. A copy will be posted on the Council’s website as soon as it has been signed off, and I will post a link to it from this website as soon as this has been actioned

Resident involvement in NAGs

The next meeting of the Headington North NAG (Neighbourhood Action Group) is taking place on Wednesday morning. If you live in Old Headington or in the area between the JR and Headington shops and you would like me to convey your views to our neighbourhood police officers and parks officers about issues relating to crime, anti-social behaviour, roads, or open spaces, please contact me by email or phone, or post a comment above.

I talked to Chief Inspector Olly Wright from Thames Valley Police about involving more residents in NAG meetings. It is tricky to get a balance between just having one or two local representatives from Residents’ Associations at NAG meetings, or making NAG meetings essentially ‘open house’ (which could get unwieldy). He is currently writing a constitution for NAGs which he is hoping to introduce across the whole of the Thames Valley Police area in order to make NAGs more consistent. Some residents don’t attend Residents’ Association meetings but still have a view on the way their area is policed or have concerns about one specific issue, and I worry that these people’s views don’t reach the authorities. I would welcome views from residents on this.

As you know, I have given some presentations on resident involvement in NAGs to NAG chairs and members of Thames Valley Police. Recently, following on from this, I was asked to write a short script and do a piece to camera for a police training video on tackling anti-social behaviour. The experience took me out of my safety zone as it was the first time I had embarked on such a project, and I was duly equipped with microphone, a Mastermind chair, brilliant lighting and an autocue machine, complete with a team of sound technician, cameraman, autocue operator and script editor, at the police training HQ in Sulhamstead. The filming will form part of a DVD for duty officers new to an area who are called upon to deal with anti-social behaviour, and will be used for training purposes from October. I think it’s really encouraging that the police trainers are involving members of the public in developing their training materials rather than doing this solely in-house. That’s got to be a good thing.

Night Patrols by police in Headington

You may well have seen that the bus shelter on London Road near Sandfield Road has suffered repeatedly from vandalism. As was explained on this site earlier in the month, the shelter itself is in line to be replace soon, and your LibDem councillors have ensured that a notice is placed on the shelter to make sure residents know what’s going on. All the more importantly, we have followed up this and other incidents with the police, encouraging them to increase patrols, in particular on Friday and Saturday nights. We are delighted to say they have now done so and that it is being promoted in the local press.

Improved bus service from Headington to Cherwell School

I have just been informed of the following improvement brought about by successful lobbying of the County Council by the parent of a Cherwell student who lives in Headington.

RH Transport, who run the 700 between the JR and Water Eaton have agreed to run the 0805 service from the JR via Summertown, i.e. along Marston Ferry Road, to reach Cherwell by 0820. This should help those pupils who come from Headington and Marston to Cherwell. Until now that service has used the ring road instead to avoid congestion – but this should not be such a problem in that direction at that time.


Time to review residents’ parking zones?

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The County Council says it will carry out regular reviews of residents’ parking zones. One has just been completed in West Oxford.

Isn’t it time that our RPZs were reviewed in Headington? That’s what residents in New Headington are telling David and me.

We shall be working with residents’ associations to push for action on this.

Why should residents have to pay to park their cars outside their own homes?

Why are some zones 24/7? Is this unfair for residents living in busy areas?

Why should residents in 24/7 areas have to pay for passes for every visitor to their homes?

Tell us what you think!

Latest planning appeals – Stephen Road

The Inspector has dismissed two appeals for refusal of planning
permission for:
At 10 ~Stephen Road: Demolition of existing building comprising of 2
flats, garages and lock up storage. Erection of 4×3 bed houses, 1×2 bed
flats and 3×1 bed flats. Retention of existing single storey unit at
rear for commercial use. Provision of on-site car parking. (Amended
plans and description).

And at 10 and 12 Stephen road:
Demolition of existing property divided into 2 flats, garages/lock up.
Erection of 5 x 3 bed terraced houses and 2 x 1

The original decisions by City Council were by North East Area Committee overturning
the planning officer recommendation to accept.

So both appeals have been dismissed, meaning neither has been given planning permission.
This decision is final and can not be appealed. The developers can put in another planning application; if they do so, they will have to overcome the reasons for refusal as expressed in this decision.

Uneven pavements

At Thursday’s meeting of the CNHRA, residents told me that the repair and maintenance of uneven pavements is even more important than the repair and maintenance of roads.

Certainly, if there is any question that a pavement is so uneven that it is causing a tripping hazard, it is really important that the Council is notified about it.

In Headington, we have a lot of problems with “root heave” which is damage caused to pavements by the roots of nearby trees. A resident recently let me know about a case of root heave in Latimer Road (top end near the old Dorset House Site on the corner of London Road), and I contacted the officers to arrange for this section of pavement to be ‘ramped’ – that involves putting a layer of tarmac across the top to make sure the pavement surface is even.

DO YOU THINK IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO SPEND MONEY ON REPAIRING PAVEMENTS OR REPAIRING ROADS?

I would be interested in your comments!

If you know of a particularly unsafe stretch of pavement that we need our City Works managers to investigate, please let me know by clicking the REPORT A PROBLEM button on the left hand menu .

Latest planning applications

Three planning applications have been lodged in our ward during the week 30 December – 5 January, they are in St. Anne’s Road, Windmill Road and Dunstan Road (Ruskin College). If you want to see these in full, please click on Planning applications in the centre tool bar.  All three have been delegated to planning officers. Last date for comments/objections is 30 January