Exhibitions at the railway station concourse

There will be exhibitions of the plans relating to the development of Oxford Railway station and the surrounding area at the station concourse on the following dates:

Oxford Station concourse

  •  Wednesday 12th July to Friday 14th July; on Friday 14th July council officers as well as technical consultants will be available to discuss the proposals (9.00am – 12.00pm and 3.00pm – 6.00pm),
  • Wednesday 26th July to 28th July, on Saturday 29th July council officers as well as technical consultants will be available to discuss the proposals (9.00am – 12.00pm and 3.00pm – 6.00pm),
  • Wednesday 9th August to 11th August, on Saturday 12th August council officers as well as technical consultants will be available to discuss the proposals (9.00am – 12.00pm and 3.00pm – 6.00pm)

Town Hall(Long Room)

  • Saturday 12th August – a drop-in session for the public and stakeholders to meet council officers and the technical consultants

The online consultation is available here: https://consultation.oxford.gov.uk/consult.ti/StationSPD/consultationHome and it ends on 25th August.

The plans are currently unfunded.

Windmill Road 20 MPH limit

The County Council issued the following notice in the local press yesterday.

A full set of consultation documents is available on the Oxfordshire County Council website here

Objections to the proposals and other representations, specifying the grounds on which they are made, may be sent in by completing the online questionnaire or by writing (quoting ref: AK/12.6.134) to the officer below by 11 August 2017.

Christian Mauz, Oxfordshire County Council, County Hall, New Road, Oxford OX1 1ND

The Council will consider objections and representations received in response and they may be disseminated widely for these purposes and made available to the public.

Any unresolved objections will be reported to the Council’s Cabinet meeting later in 2017. The papers for the meeting will be available on the County Council’s website about a week before the meeting.

Lib Dem response to Oxford City Centre transport improvements and experimental Queen Street closure consultation

Here is the response to the above from the Liberal Democrat Group on Oxford City Council and from Oxfordshire County Councillors Paul Buckley and John Howson. Please click on this link for the full consultation documents

 

Our principal concern about these proposals is that we do not believe that the safety of pedestrians and cyclists is given high enough priority in a very busy tourist, visitor and employment centre.

We believe that the overall cost-benefit of these proposals is too small; we note that the cost of the changes will be nearly £1m but this is not fully funded. What is the shortfall and where will it come from? These proposals are submitted without any apparent agreement with the County Council about funding, and without reference to Cil contributions. Is the City expected to contribute and, if so, in what proportion.

We are concerned that no evidence is supplied with this consultation document to support this package of major transport changes. It is therefore not clear what the problems are which the ‘permanent’ transport measures and the ‘experimental’ closure of Queen Street would seek to remedy.

We believe that the proposed change to the Worcester Street junction is over-engineered.

There is no mention of the proposed Worcester Street bus gate, which would impact heavily on this plan. If it is to be introduced, the pros and cons need to be taken into account at this stage.

 

Our comments on the individual area plans are detailed below:

  1. Overview Plan – Queen Street Area (Oxford) Various Traffic Proposals
  • The development of Becket Street as a bus lay-in and start point for key services such as routes to London would alleviate congestion in the George Street/Worcester Street area and could be implemented ahead of the current scheme for the Railway Station outlined in the City Council’s supplementary planning document.
  • An increased number of bus stops cannot help but increase congestion.
  • We would like to see an increased number of air quality monitoring stations set up to aid evaluation of environmental impact throughout the ‘experimental’ period. We would like to see figures for air pollution in St Aldates and The High Street over the last 12 months, for comparison purposes with results over the next 12 months.
  • Accident data has not been included within these proposals and we would find this helpful to inform decision-making.

 

  1. Consultation Plan – High Street Bus, Taxi & Loading Bays
  • There is currently pedestrian congestion at temporary bus stops in High Street outside the covered market. As a result the entrances to the covered market are less visible. Waiting passengers obstruct shop windows and doorways, and passers by and tour groups get mixed up with bus queues moving forward to board buses.
  • There is also a negative impact on heritage. St Aldates and The High Street are two of the most architecturally significant streets in the City. Waiting buses will impede views for tourists and citizens and this proposal does not preserve or enhance the central conservation area.

 

 

  1. Consultation Plan – St. Aldates / High Street Changes to Waiting Restrictions
  • ‘No waiting’ restrictions outside the Town Hall need greater enforcement, has funding been set aside for this purpose?

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Proposed Taxi Turning Area in Cornmarket Street

We strongly object to this proposal on a number of grounds.

  • Concerns about the width of the street when taxis perform U-turns
  • Concerns for safety as this is an area heavily used by pedestrians and by cyclists who are allowed to ride down the street after 6pm
  • Impact on street entertainment and events held in that location which helps attract trade to that area
  • The number of taxis allowed on the rank at one time is not set out here. The number of taxis in Queen Street currently in the evenings is so great that some park on the opposite side of the road too, and we are concerned that the proposed taxi rank space appears unrestricted
  • The present location is nearer the new Westgate shopping development

We consider that the existing taxi rank at the eastern end of Queen Street should be retained and/or that the new Westgate Centre should provide a taxi rank.

 

  1. Consultation Plan – George Street / Worcester Street Proposed Junction Layout Amendments 

We object to some of the proposed changes because the proposals do not sufficiently address the flow of pedestrians, which is heavy at this point because this is a major route to and from the railway station.

  • We can see no evidence for taking away the existing crossing facility in Hythe Bridge Street
  • We accept that cyclists need more protection at the Worcester St junction, but we believe there should be better solution than the use of a traffic island next to a pelican crossing
  • The traffic island proposed will narrow the turning into Worcester St from Hythe Bridge St, making it very difficult for lorries to manage the turning. Pedestrians will use this traffic island as a way of avoiding waiting for the lights – to the danger of all
  • Taxis are not mentioned on this drawing but they usually use bus lanes, will they be able to use the bus left turn cut-throughs?

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Park End St / New Rd / Worcester St Proposed Zebra Crossings
  • There is insufficient evidence of pedestrian desire to access Upper Fisher Row (this is a footpath – no vehicle access) to justify a new zebra crossing at the entrance from Park End Street, and a crossing here would impede traffic flow.
  • Bus flow is impeded at the junction of Worcester Street and Park End Street. Consideration should be given to making this a No Right Turn

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Speedwell Street / St. Aldates Proposed Zebra Crossings
  • We have concerns about the safety of cyclists (a) turning right from St Aldates into Speedwell Street across the path of incoming buses, and (b) travelling north across the path of buses turning right into Speedwell Street.
  • We believe that the retention of lights here, operational at peak times, would provide an additional safety measure for those choosing to cycle to and from work and study

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Bus Lay-Over Bay Speedwell Street

We support this proposal.

 

  1. Consultation Plan – Park End St / Hythe Bridge St Additional Bus Facilities

We object to these proposals for the following reasons:

  • It is proposed to locate bus stops immediately opposite each other in Park End Street. If both sets of bus stops are being used at once, the width of the road would be insufficient for traffic to flow.
  • There is insufficient evidence that an extra bus stop is needed in Hythe Bridge Street outside Fusion. The road is not wide enough and cycle safety is an important issue here as it is a well-used route. R9 in Hythe Bridge St should be removed and replaced with use of the double bus stop on the north side of Park End St. These buses are at their route end, approaching their lay-over in New Road, and will be carrying few passengers beyond the city centre, so the marginal extra distance to Park End St is preferable to the problem which would be caused by a bus stop on the south side of Hythe Bridge St.
  • Insufficient cost benefit to install a zebra crossing on Park End Street at its junction with Fisher Row (see note above)

 

Information Plan – Proposed Changes to Bus Stop Locations (DRAFT)

Information Document – Provisional Bus Stop Allocations (DRAFT)

Buses from Blackbird Leys, Barton, Marston and Wood Farm will stop directly outside Westgate shopping centre but the 3,3A and the 16 from Littlemore and Rose Hill will terminate at St Aldate’s on the way into town. The 16 appears to have to run along High Street to the Plain for no other reason than to turn round at the end of its route to pick up at Carfax, which does not appear to be energy efficient. Neither of these services access the railway station as Rose Hill residents had been promised.

In conclusion, our view is that:  

  • When the Gloucester Green coach station was planned, the longer, larger, more frequent coaches that now use it were not envisaged. Insufficient thought was given in the planning of the new Westgate to the effect on an already congested public transport situation in the city centre.
  • A solution to traffic problems in the city centre depends on relocating the Gloucester Green bus station. We would propose the Becket St parking site, with a shuttle service into the centre.
  • The longer term impact of these proposals, if they are not modified as we propose, will be to concentrate the flow of transport to suit retail and restaurant use in one part of the City (Westgate) to the detriment of businesses in other parts of the City.

We do not support permanent pedestrianisation of Queen Street which has less culturally significant architecture and heritage than St Aldates and The High Street.

 

Sent to Oxfordshire County Council 20 June 2017

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.