Bridge and road closures in London 29-30 July

On Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July, as part of a weekend of Prudential RideLondon cycling events, certain roads in east, west, central and southwest London and Surrey will be closed to traffic.

There will be bridge and road closures from early morning on both days. Road users are advised to plan journeys well in advance. Many bus routes will be on diversion or will stop short of their normal destination. Stations along the route may get busy at certain times. More information will be on our website closer to the time.

For the most up to date information, please visit tfl.gov.uk/ridelondon

Beech House construction traffic – response from Planning Enforcement

As promised, here is the response from the City Council regarding the requests from us and from Highfield Residents’ Association for enforcement action regarding the change of access route for construction vehicles to/from the Beech House site in Latimer Road via Highfield residential roads.

I have reviewed the original planning permission, the Construction Traffic Management Plan and the information sent in by yourself and the local residents.

Whilst the Construction Traffic Management Plan does limit the access to the development from London Road, on to Latimer Road and into the site, having discussed the matter with a number of council officers and under the circumstances, it is the council’s decision that is not expedient to take any enforcement action against the breach of planning control in this instance.

The National Planning Policy Framework advises that “local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control”. In this instance, the developers are not wilfully choosing to breach their planning conditions under normal circumstances but have been forced into a temporary deviation due to other unrelated works that affect access into their site. It would not be reasonable to prevent deliveries from accessing the site or stop the site from developing whilst the Hospital’s energy pipework is installed.

Even if the council did decide that enforcement action was expedient and proportionate, the amount of time it would take to prepare, serve a breach of condition notice and the time for compliance allowed to the developers would likely exceed the time the London Road/Latimer Road junction is temporarily closed for. Any prosecution the council tried to bring against the developers would likely be dismissed as the developers would have a more than reasonable argument as to why they couldn’t temporarily comply with the condition.

The council is working with the county Highway team and the developers to try to make the situation as manageable as possible during the road closure and ensure residents are impacted as little as possible.

During the temporary closure of the London Road/Latimer Road junction, issues of highway safety should be referred to the Highway team at the county council or to the local police force who have the jurisdiction to deal with such matters.

I appreciate that this is not a welcome decision for you or the affected residents but I hope you can appreciate the reasoning why the council have arrived at the decision we have.

Beech House construction traffic in Highfield

We have been contacted by a number of residents with concerns about the high volume of construction vehicles in various streets in Highfield. Residents have reported queues of construction vehicles in Latimer Road, a low loader in Stapleton Road, blocked access to driveways, use of a private road for construction vehicles turning and damage to trees.

The original construction access route approved with the planning consent specified entry and exit via London Road. London Road is now closed for three weeks for the energy pipe trench work. An application was sent to the City Council Planning Dept last week requesting alternative access to the site. There was recognition that this would entail the use of smaller vehicles. Councillors have not been sent a copy of this document so we don’t yet know the exact details.

The process for this type of variation application is for the planning officer to send out the revised scheme to County Council depts. for comment before making an informed decision under delegated authority.

The decision on whether or not to grant consent has not yet been made as comments are still being collated.

Until planning consent is given for a revised access plan,  we are advised that access to the site other than via London Road is technically a breach of condition of planning consent. It is possible to request investigation by the Planning Enforcement team if a breach of condition can be substantiated. In the light of the above complaints from residents, both Ruth and Highfield Residents’ Association have made a request for enforcement action.  We are awaiting a formal response from the City Council and will post it up on this site when we get it.

Ruth and Altaf have also written separately to the planning case officer to make sure that the impact on residents and particularly the safety of childen and families on their way to school is fully taken into account when the delegated decision is made on whether the revised plan should go ahead, and to ask for the County Networks Team to re-consider any comments they may already have made to reflect the experiences of today.

Frontier has sent the following statement following a full and frank discussion regarding construction traffic to/from the Winvic Beech House site.

We have spoken but to confirm I have spoken with our team and can report as follows:

The low loader that came today had not been booked and Winvic had no knowledge of its arrival. The vehicle has been removed and will not be returning to site and the contractor involved has been severely reprimanded.

There have been 2 lorries on Latimer Road and one is a stationary stud welding vehicle and needs positioning to carry out work. It will only be there today and will not be returning. The other deliveries are being called in as required.

Winvic are in touch with [redacted] at Oxfordshire and he is fully aware of what we have in place to manage construction traffic while the energy works are being carried out and the Construction Traffic Management Plan has been updated accordingly.

I can assure you that we will keep working to make sure our scheme runs smoothly with minimum disruption to the community. Please do let us know if there are any other issues.

Access to Headington update

Residents who live near the current works have been sent the following letter by the project sponsor at the County Council.

The first section of the Access to Headington project, which has seen us working at the junction of Gipsy Lane-Old Road-Roosevelt Drive-Warneford Lane, is on schedule to complete at the end of February 2017.

On Monday 6th February, we will begin a short period of night works whereby we will be surfacing the whole of the junction in parts. This work will be done overnight between the hours of 7pm and 6am when traffic is at its lightest. For diversion routes, please visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/accessheadington

The closures will be as follows:

Monday 6th February – Old Road will be closed in both directions.

Tuesday 7th February – Warneford Lane eastbound, Gipsy Lane (in both directions)

Wednesday 8th February – Warneford Lane westbound and Roosevelt Drive (in both directions) will be closed

Thursday 9th February – Old Road will be closed in both directions
Friday 10th February – Warneford Lane eastbound, Gipsy Lane (in both directions)

Monday 13th February – Warneford Lane westbound and Roosevelt Drive (in both directions) will be closed

The work we are carrying out can be noisy and we do apologise for this. We have a Section 61 agreement in place with Oxford City Council whereby we are only permitted to carry out certain work until 11pm. After 11pm we will only carry on with the less disruptive work in order to cause as little disturbance as possible.

Access to your property

As we will be closing roads, there may be times when access to your property is restricted, however our team on site will be more than happy to assist you getting to and from your property should you need to.

Closure of Paddington station over Christmas

Paddington station will be closed over Christmas this year to allow for electrification and Crossrail works.    The six-day closure starts on Christmas Eve, Saturday December 24th through to Thursday 29 December.  This will mean trains are very busy on Friday 23 December, and GWR is recommending customers to book ahead and travel early if they can.

Trains will start and finish at Ealing Broadway throughout the closure with customers completing their journey by London Underground.  There are no lifts at the station.  GWR is therefore recommending that customers use trains to and from London Marylebone changing at Oxford. It has arranged for tickets to be valid on these services.

You can find full details on their website  including details on travelling with bikes, their sleeper service and their Pullman dining service.

Science Transit Bus route update

Following intervention from Headington Lib Dem councillors, the following communication has been received from the University.

After meeting the County and discussion with UNO Bus Ltd we have agreed to maintain the service on the current routing for the time being and not to implement a diversion.

We will continue to review the situation and if it does transpire that congestion causes problems with reliability we will again re-examine.  However, a diversion by Lime Walk is clearly in no-one’s interest whilst the Heat Pipe works are in operation.

I will contact you in advance if this situation changes and would be happy to meet in due course

Ruth says,

This is a welcome move by the University at a time when many residents are beset by roadworks, parking displacement, and temporary road closures.

Access to Headington – financial costs

County Cllr Roz Smith sent in a question about costs to the Cabinet member for Transport. The answer to this question has been published on the County’s website, and is worded as follows.

Councillor Roz Smith

“Access to Headington project – a question about costs

Please could the Cabinet Member give further details on costs relating to the Project:

  • expenditure to date on consultants/consultancy work
  • approximate costs for the proposed raised pedestrian entry treatments recommended by officers
  • approximate financial savings generated from changes to the original proposals made after consultation as per the officer’s report & recommendations
  • approximate costs for the changes to the double mini-roundabouts and junctions in Headley Way, and the changes to the mini roundabout junction into the JR Hospital?”

 

Response by Cabinet Member for Environment

“The information you requested is set out below.

  • Expenditure to date on consultants/consultancy work – £517,000
  • Approximate costs for the proposed raised pedestrian entry treatments recommended by officers – £6,000 – £8,000 per treatment. Actual cost depends on the amount of drainage work required. Cost also includes traffic management.
  • Approximate financial savings generated from changes to the original proposals made after consultation as per the officer’s report & recommendations – no savings have been made by changing theproposals; in fact there is an additional cost for the provision of the retaining wall on the western side of Headley Way which is estimated to cost £246,243. The additional costs will be funded from the existing project budget. 
  • Approximate costs for the changes to the double mini-roundabouts and junctions in Headley Way -£2.5m (including public realm improvements)
  • Approximate costs to changes to the mini roundabout junction into the JR Hospital – £845,000

Costs may change as the detailed design process continues, but these are the latest estimates we have.”

 

Supplementary question from Councillor Roz Smith

“I note it’s estimated that for every £1 spent there would be a benefit of £3.50 but how would that be monitored and by who.”

Response by Cabinet Member

“Essentially there is a required minimum level of value for money which is part of the agreement for the scheme along with a requirement for before and after monitoring.”

Consultation: pedestrianisation of Queen Street

There is a County Council consultation setting out proposals for pedestrianizing Queen Street. Here is their information below.

Summary

  • Oxfordshire County Council proposes to improve Queen Street in central Oxford by prohibiting buses, taxis and private hire vehicles from using it. This would in effect make the street largely ‘pedestrianised’ – similar to Cornmarket.  
  • No changes are proposed to access for cyclists and delivery vehicles, which would continue to be permitted between 6pm and 10am.    
  • Between New Road and New Inn Hall Street (i.e. through Bonn Square), cycling will continue to be permitted 24 hours a day, as now.

Why pedestrianise Queen Street

Queen Street forms part of one of the main east-west routes across the city centre, and pedestrian and cycle numbers are expected to increase significantly in future as a result of development in the city’s West End and elsewhere across Oxford

It is vital that strong pedestrian and cycle links are maintained and encouraged, and improvements to the pedestrian experience are made, to ensure a well-connected and joined up city centre that will continue to thrive

The pedestrianisation of Queen Street is part of the county council’s Local Transport Plan and Oxford City Council’s development plan for the West End, the West End Area Action Plan. It is an important element of wider improvements to the public realm in the city centre, such as the recent transformation of Frideswide Square

It is proposed that the changes required to pedestrianise Queen Street are made by the time the new Westgate centre opens in autumn 2017

This is because major changes to bus routes and stops will be required when the new Westgate centre opens in any event. Co-ordinating these changes with the Queen Street proposals will minimise disruption and will also mean Queen Street will be better able to cope with the increased numbers of pedestrians and cyclists going to and from the enlarged Westgate centre once it opens

This proposal is not part of the Westgate development, but Oxfordshire County Council is working closely with the Westgate Oxford Alliance (the owners of the Westgate centre) to plan this project

Proposed changes

The project includes a package of measures to provide alternative arrangements for buses, taxis, and private hire including:

  • New bus routes around the city centre to allow buses to avoid Queen Street and serve the expanded Westgate centre
  • A new bus turnaround at the Worcester Street/New Road junction, including new zebra crossing facilities on New Road, Worcester Street and Park End Street
  • Changes to bus stop locations, including removal of the bus stop in Bonn Square
  • Changes to the pick and set down points for many bus services
  • Relocation of loading bays on certain streets
  • Relocation of disabled parking bays on certain streets
  • Relocation of taxi rank at Carfax

Project costs and funding

It is estimated that the infrastructure required to close Queen Street will cost around £965,000. This includes some major works to create the turnaround at the Worcester Street/New Road junction, provision of new bus stops and shelters, and changes to pavements

At this stage the project is not fully funded; funding sources are to be confirmed following further design work to finalise the proposals, including consideration of the feedback from this consultation.

This consultation

This consultation will run from 9th May to 6th June. Your views are invited on all aspects of the proposals.

Future consultation on Traffic Regulation Orders

Some of the proposals require amendments to existing Traffic Regulation Orders. These will be advertised separately later in the summer, as part of the formal consultation on the scheme

Responses to this consultation will be used to further refine the scheme in advance of that formal consultation

Project timetable (subject to consultation and funding)

Initial consultation                                     May/June 2016

Consultation on TRO amendments          Summer 2016

Detailed design commences                    Autumn 2016

Construction period                                  April – Sept 2017

Westgate opens and changes come into effect   October 2017

Details of all of the proposals are available at https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/Queen_Street_Pedestrianisation/consultationHome.

Paper copies are available on request.

contact details are below.

Oxfordshire County Council

Speedwell Street

OX1 1NE

Or e-mail them at:

The deadline for comments is: Monday 6th June 2016

Telephone: 01865 792422

LTS.Team@oxfordshire.gov.uk

 

Proposals to retain some parking in Headley Way and Windmill Road

Please click the links for Headley Way or for Windmill Road from the Access to Headington web page to view these new proposals.

https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/A2H_TRO_additional_options/consultationHome

We wish to thank the County Council’s transport planning team for taking into account the responses made to earlier stages of this consultation.

Comments on these new proposals should be sent in by 23rd May, details are available on the above website