Trees on the JR site

In following up a resident enquiry, we have made contact with the Facilities Manager at the OU Hospitals’ Trust who has kindly sent us the following update about trees on the JR site.

The two Poplars mentioned were felled on 14th Jan ’17 due to disease, one was rotten at the bottom and the other was rotten further up. Both were detailed to the council in our application and we will be imminently replacing these with lime trees.

The other tree mentioned was our precious Mulberry that unfortunately had major decay in the main stem and limbs so we had to pollard it quite severely so as to prolong its life and encourage it to grow further. This was completed on 21st Jan ’17.

The Trust does not have a tree management policy as such but I would like to assure you that we complete Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM). We contract professional services to conduct Tree Safety Surveys every 2 years and from this report we program in essential works that are required with our contracted professional tree surgeon; dependant on the available funding. As previously mentioned, any works within the conservation area will be detailed to the council for their review prior to commencement. Any trees that require felling do get replaced with suitable alternatives to continue to preserve our valued landscapes.

I do have other works to complete in the near future that I have briefly detailed below:

  • 2 x tall Poplars to fell due to visible cavities in the main stem.
  • 2 x tall Poplars to reduce to previous pruning point.
  • 1 x False Acacia to fell due to main stem decay caused by laetiporous.

 

Tree concerns

cutting-tree-with-axe

We have written to the Tree Officers concerning the number of trees being felled in the Ward. Numbers appear to be climbing (although this may be due to the time of year) and we are trying to find out if replacement trees will be planted in order to maintain the ward’s tree canopy cover.

The latest lists include:

16/02229/CAT

Fell 1no. Beech Tree, Prune 1 Cedar Tree, Raise crown of 1no. London Plane tree and Crown Raise group of trees (G1) to provide highways clearance in Old Headington Conservation Area.

JR Estates, Osler Road

16/02265/CAT

Fell 1 Eucalyptus tree Old Headington Conservation Area.

24 Old High Street

16/02247/CAT

Fell 1 Western Red Cedar tree in Old Headington Conservation Area.

35 St Andrew’s Road

16/02327/CAT

Fell 1 Sycamore tree in Headington Hill Conservation Area.

The Bursary Headington School Headington Road

Cuckoo Lane wall

The condition of the wall in Cuckoo Lane (inside Osler Road entrance, north side) is often questioned by residents.

Is this wall safe?

Is this wall safe?

We have received the following report from a council building control surveyor which may be of interest to residents.

 I have visited the site and from my inspection consider the wall is not dangerous or in a position to collapse in its current state of repair. 

The reason for the crack and bulge appears to be from a historic ivy covered tree stump located right against the retaining wall bulge which when the cut tree was alive and growing, pushed the wall out prior to its removal causing the bulge.  

The large mature conifer close to the stump appears to be at full maturity and not likely to exceed in size which is unlikely to push the wall further out a couple of metre further down the pathway from the reported wall crack and bulge. 

The other reason for the crack is from thermal expansion and contraction of a very long straight wall running along Cuckoo Lane with no expansion joints (typical of a wall of this age and construction) which in colder periods, the crack will increase in size and on hotter weather close up almost completely, hence would not recommend it to be filled either to allow for the thermal expansion.

Therefore in its current condition, the wall is not in a dangerous state of repair and no remedial work required at this stage.

I trust the above is of assistance and reassurance

Temporary closure of Bury Knowle Park play area due to tree works

We have just been notified that two Scots pines in the play area will be removed in the next month and this will involve the temporary closure of the play area (see works detailed below)

As soon as we have firm dates, we shall publish them here.

The City Council will replant in the Park for all trees removed, but this won’t happen till the tree planting season from Oct/Nov 16 – Feb/Mar 17. The replanted trees may be located in a different place in the Park and their location will be discussed with the Friends of Bury Knowle Park. If you have any views on this, please get back to us and we shall pass on your comments to the relevant officers.

 

 

Sgl/489 (348900) Scots Pine in play area 3MANP Parks – Three Man Team

GRIND Grind Stump
SEFL Section Fell to ground level

SPEC SPECIALIST EQUIPMENT signs and cones, close play area

 

Sgl/490 (348904) Scots Pine in play area 3MANP Parks – Three Man Team

GRIND Grind Stump
SEFL Section Fell to ground level

SPEC SPECIALIST EQUIPMENT
signs and cones, seal play park gates and close area (5 gates), land rovers only

 

 

 

Temporary closure of Headington Hill this SUNDAY

The A420 Headington Road will be closed on Sunday 18th October from 08:00-15:00 between the junction of Marston Road and Gipsy Lane.

A “No Waiting” restriction will also apply. This means that vehicles will need to be removed from the highway where there are yellow “No Waiting” cones in place.

The closure is to enable tree work including tree removal by crane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Access to Headington proposals: response from Roz, Altaf and Ruth

The response from Headington Lib Dem councillors to the County’s proposals are now published.

Our response is in three parts:

Comments on the proposals: click on  Headington Lib Dem councillors response to Access to Headington consultation 150807

Appendix giving additional comments received from residents: click on Appendix 150807

Comments on the consultation process: click on Headington Lib Dem councillors concerns re consultation process 150807

Here is the executive summary:

The Access to Headington consultation was not fit for purpose.  There was little context or factual data to inform the decision-making of residents, many of whom were not made aware of the proposals until late in the day. (see separate document on the consultation)

We believe that these proposals do not achieve their objective to support health and well-being, and reduce transport’s environmental impact.

Transport congestion in Headington is most acute for approximately 4 hours a day, five days a week during term-times.  These proposals will significantly affect Headington residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. Impact on residents is disproportionate.


The proposals focus on incoming commuter traffic from outside Headington, but do not take local context and local traffic needs of the whole community sufficiently into account.


We oppose the removal of an as yet unspecified number of trees and verges proposed by the County Council, (see general comments, section 3).


We believe that better alternative proposals for road layout and cycle improvements can be made that are more environmental sustainable, and list some ideas proposed by local residents (see projects).


We do not believe the current proposals for cycling improvements give sufficient priority for the safety of cyclists at junctions. We believe that, where possible, cycle routes should be segregated e.g. adjacent to Marston Road. If carriage width allows, we believe that mandatory cycle lanes should be accommodated, but not at the expense of the loss of trees (see general comments, section 6)


We oppose the proposals to remove on-street parking for reasons stated (see general comments, section 4).


We have concerns about the scheme’s impact on access to parking and/or frontages for disabled residents on Cherwell Drive, Headley Way and Windmill Road where existing on-street parking including disabled spaces could be removed, and this raises equalities concerns. (see section 1, area 2)


We believe that greater priority should be given to pedestrians in the next round of proposals. (general comments, section 5)


We believe these proposals will have little or no impact on modal shift by those who work in Headington.

We have sent these comments to County Cllrs Ian Hudspeth and David Nimmo-Smith, and to the County Transport Planning team.

New proposals to improve access to Headington’s employment sites

The County Council’s Access to Headington proposals can be viewed here.

We strongly urge residents to view these plans as they will impact significantly across the Headington area.

Headington is an area of significant job growth, and it also hosts many hospitals. The Government’s Local Growth Fund has allocated £8.2m for improvements in access to major employment sites in Headington, and there is an extra pot of developer money which can be used for this purpose.

Changes are proposed from the bottom of Headley Way, along London Road, along Windmill Road and the Slade, and also in Osler Road and Old Road. These include a redesigned crossroads in the centre of Headington with a pedestrian crossing which can be used diagonally. There are also changes and new junctions in and around the entrances to the JR and the Churchill sites.

In order to widen roads enough to make improvements to cycle lanes, planners are proposing to reclaim some verges and trees, and remove on-street parking from Headley Way, Windmill Road and the Slade. There are no indications within the current proposals where residents affected by this change will park their cars.

Headington Lib Dem councillors invite comments from our residents about the proposed scheme. We shall send in comments based on the views we receive.

Our initial thoughts are:

  • The potential removal of green verges and trees is contrary to the emerging Green Space policy in the draft Headington Neighbourhood Plan and  insufficient weighting has been given to green space and trees in the proposals (no indication of where these can be substituted elsewhere in Headington)
  • Will the removal of on-street parking make it easier for traffic to exceed the speed limit more often in Windmill Road  and Headley Way? (already an issue)
  • Where will residents affected by the removal of on-street spaces park their cars?
  • Which disabled parking spaces will be affected and how can the County Council help those residents?
  • Will the reduction of verges and widening of Osler Road lead to an increase in buses in this residential road?

We are currently discussing various issues with Tree Officers at both City and County, and are initiating discussion with Oxford Unlimited, a group concerned with transport issues for those with mobility challenges.

At the initial briefing, we flagged up the following suggestions:

the possibility of introducing pedestrian crossings of some sort in:

  • Windmill Road (between Langley Close and Bateman Street) to aid access to schools, improve pedestrian access, and create a break in the traffic to mitigate possible speeding
  • Headley Way (near the junction with London Road) to aid access to schools and Brookes, and improve safety as there have been near misses due to jaywalking here. The crossing lights could link into the junction lights

the possibility that ‘countdown’ crossing lights can be installed in the centre of Headington

that local construction companies and tradespeople should be contracted to do the work wherever possible

We have only just seen the plans, and will look forward to a wider public discussion before we send in comments in full. There are some very positive proposals too which we welcome, but for now we are concentrating on negotiating with the County Council over alternative options to address some of the above issues.

Contact details for the consultation:

Name Access to Headington Transport Proposals
Description The county council is developing plans to improve access across Headington and at major employment sites
Dates From 3 Jul 2015 at 00:00 to 7 Aug 2015 at 23:59.
Status Open
Contact Name Ian Williams
Contact Email Address ian.williams@oxfordshire.gov.uk
Contact Phone Number 01865 815548
Contact Postal Address Access to Headington Project,
Infrastructure Development Oxfordshire County Council,
Speedwell House (3rd Floor),
Speedwell Street,
Oxford,
OX1 1NE

Exhibitions will also be held as follows, where you will be able to view plans and discuss proposals with officers:

  • Friday 3rd July, 13:00 – 20.00

St Anthony’s of Padua, 115 Headley Way, Oxford

  • Saturday 4th July, 10:00 – 16:00

New Marston Primary School, Copse Lane, Oxford

  • Thursday 9th July, 13:00 – 20:00 

Wood Farm School, Titup Hall Drive, Oxford

  • Saturday 11th July, 10:00 – 16:00

St. Andrew’s Primary School, London Road, Oxford

 

 

The trees on the Botnar boundary

Bedroom 1

 

Ruth met the Council’s Tree Office for a site visit in Cecil Sharp Place last week prior to his meeting with the University about the maintenance and management of trees on their boundary.

The officer tells us that the University agreed the following:

  1. To reduce the height and spread of conifer trees along the boundary with Cecil Sharp Place to address the complaints from residents in the short term. An elder tree near the northern end which over hangs the garden of no.s 1-4 will be removed completely at the same time. The OU Parks Superintendent is going to put together a specification for these works and send it to the City Council for approval under the conditions of planning permission for the Botnar building. When approval is given the work will be carried out.

  2. To prepare a plan for removing and replacing the conifer trees along the boundary with Cecil Sharp Place in the longer term. The plan will be to remove the existing conifers and replace them with a mix of holly, yew, birch and scots pine trees planted further from the boundary fence to replace the screening in a way which is less of a problem for residents and easier to manage by the University. The University will actively consult with residents on the proposals;

  3. To continue managing the conifers along the boundary with properties in Wilberforce Street at their existing height. The trees were reduced in height last year and this work will be carried out every 3-5 years as necessary.

 

The scope for the pruning work in 1. above is quite limited; these trees don’t have dormant buds underneath the bark and so unlike broadleaved trees will not produce new growth if they are cut back beyond the green foliage. To avoid creating an ugly brown face to the trees for residents it will not be possible to prune back to the boundary.

It was confirmed that trees further east along the boundary with Mattock Close properties are not within the Botnar site and responsibility. We are contacting the NOC separately about works to those.

 

 

Botnar trees: impact on neighbouring residents

Bedroom 1

The Botnar trees on the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre’s site boundary have not been trimmed back for some time, and we have been pressing for this to be carried out.

Management of the trees has passed to the University of Oxford. The University wants to consider replanting its boundary and is keen to consult residents about all alternative options.

We were advised that a consultation meeting would take place with residents in December, but this has been delayed pending confirmation that there is no extant condition attached to the original permission which specifies the species of trees that would be acceptable. If that’s the case, a fresh planning application varying conditions would need to be made and there would be further delay. We have put the University and Botnar manager in touch with the City Council’s Tree Officer whose advice is that they can go ahead and consider all options with residents, and we are pushing for an early consultation otherwise we shall be into bird nesting time again. We’ll keep you posted.