Franklin Road bus stops/shelters

Residents in Franklin Road have contacted David and me about the unexpected appearance of bus shelters in their road, despite the fact that they no longer have access to public transport themselves since the no.10 bus route was pulled from Headley Way

I made a site visit this morning, and David and I will investigate this today with Rye St Antony School and the county council. We shall keep residents informed of developments

UPDATE 23 April

David is arranging to meet the Bursar of Rye St Antony School to discuss this and other issues early next week

Latest on the Waitrose development and Old High St. Car Park

We have been informed that the developers have allocated an area for
disabled parking and can also confirm that they have cross hatched four
bays, allowing traffic to flow more freely around the car park.

We are waiting for an instruction to confirm that it is possible to remove a
section of the car park wall to allow access onto the footpath.  

The disabled parking could then be relocated
over to that area so customers with walking difficulties will have a
shorter distance to walk to gain access to Headington.

Over the last couple of days council officers have indicated that the general
situation does seem to be improving. This seems to be confirmed by a
reduction in complaints. Officers will be visiting the site again next
week to check on the progress made, and update us on developments

Water Watch: Boundary Brook

tap1_thumbnail.jpgAfter a considerable period of time, and a great deal of inconvenience to those who live alongside Boundary Brook, we have received this promising message from Thames Water:

In terms of progress, the whole house misconnection in New High Street
consisting of 13 separate misconnected appliances has now been dye tested
to confirm correct rectification to foul.  More significantly, further
investigations have taken place at Manor Hospital and the flow monitoring
has confirmed that the surface water discharges from their storage tank do
correspond to the high flows experienced in the open culvert in Brookside.
However, whilst the connection of this tank to the surface water system is
in accordance with normal practice, our further investigative survey work
has lead us to believe that some of the flats behind the hospital are
misconnected into this tank rather than the foul sewer. A meeting with the
Hospital has taken place to explain our findings and appraise them of their
responsibilities for the private drainage on their site.  As the flats
drain to the sites private sewer it is the Hospital’s responsibility to
ensure the appropriate Housing Association rectify the misconnections. This
is now being pursued by the Hospital who are thus far cooperating fully. I
would just add that whilst our investigations to date have found evidence
of domestic sewage misconnection from the flats, we have not found any
evidence of misconnection at the hospital itself .

We are delighted that the hospital is giving full co-operation in trying to ensure the housing association sorts out the problems in the flats.  We shall keep you posted of further developments and continue to press hard for as speedy a resolution as possible

Latest on Old High Street Car-Park

The situation is still not wholly satisfactory but some progress is being made. Some signage is up and more is promised. The contractors also accept the need to improve disabled facilities, in terms of both spaces and access.

Another issue has been raised and that is pedestrian access to the car-park now that the entrance from Dead Man’s Walk (next to the Park) is now blocked off by the contractors’ compound. The suggestion has been made that part of the breeze-block wall at the top end of the car-park is knocked down for the duration of the works and replaced by the builders at its end. So far, I’ve only heard support for doing this. Can anyone see any objection?

We’ll keep you posted!

Old High Street car park latest

David and I are being updated several times a day on the situation with regard to the Old High Street (Waitrose) car park.

Signage is going up over the weekend which will help a great deal as motorists get to grips with the temporary relocation of disabled parking spaces and the recycling bins are moved to a temporary location. Officers have requested that Waitrose creates disabled access at the entrance to the car park, albeit temporarily until the usual disabled car park spaces are back in operation after the refit.

Many of the bulkiest delivery vehicles have now departed, the heaviest of these were delivering materials to construct and fill the compound near the store

A complaint was made by a resident that some of the contractors were parking in the car park spaces but were not displaying permits.  This was investigated and it was established that the builders doing this had paid by the Ring Go system, so payment for parking had indeed been made although a paper ticket was not displayed. We have requested that the number of car park spaces is monitored closely over the period of the refit; we are aware that three cars were queuing for places on Friday lunchtime at a busy period when some extra car park spaces were coned off temporarily to allow turning space for the larger lorries.

The City Officer responsible for liaising with Waitrose over the development is Andrew Bradfield-Barnes: he is away for a week’s holiday after Easter but if you have any concerns, please contact either David or myself, or Andrew’s deputy Jason Munro who is working on the Easter bank holiday weekend and all of next week. His office number is 01865 252489 and his email is jmunro@oxford.gov.uk.

Please copy David and myself into any emails you send Jason as we want to ensure that all complaints and concerns are receiving prompt attention, our email addresses are:

david.rundle@oxfordlibdems.org.uk

ruth.wilkinson@oxfordlibdems.org.uk

Waitrose’s plans for Headington

The arrival of Waitrose in Headington is a key development for our area. There are a lot of benefits it could bring, helping revitalise the district centre, but there also possible difficulties. So Ruth and I have been keeping a careful eye on how things develop. I met with a regional manager from Waitrose this week and he outlined their plans for the store. They formally took ownership of the store on Thursday — if you’d been there on the previous days, you’ll have seen the clear-out sale which left Somerfield looking like a Soviet-era supermarket. The shop is now closed for a re-fit, with the plan being to open on Thursday 7 May. No great fanfare is planned: they intend to start trading quietly and iron out any teething problems they have (pardon the mixed metaphors!).

They are up-beat about the prospects for this store. If it does go well, they have plans for a small extension. There have been rumours about their taking over the former Threshers store and they are indeed looking to lease that site. They would also be interested in re-locating the sub-station next door — which would remove a real eye-sore — but it is unlikely Southern Electric would agree to that. If Waitrose did take over the Threshers site, they would apply to knock it down and replace it, but that is some way off. In the short term, they would lease out that site.

There have also been rumours about their closing the Old High Street entrance: I’m told that this is highly unlikely. In fact, they seem to see that entrance as very significant as it’s the closest they have to main road frontage.

They are also interested in discussing the future management of the car-park off Old High Street. I’ve made it clear that this car park is used by a range of local people and must remain public. But if Waitrose are willing to work with the Council to improve the look of the car park, I’m sure we would all see that as positive.

The issue of parking relates, of course, to the big question: the traffic impact of Waitrose. There are understandable worries about this in the area and potential problems for residents of Old Headington if the village is used as a back route to the store. At this stage, we need to know what Waitrose’s own calculations have been about the catchment area of the store and the traffic generation they would expect. I have been promised this information. Only then can we work out how to work with our new neighbours to ensure that the impact for Headington is a plus, rather than a headache.

Headington Car Park

What’s happening to the car park on Old High Street? Several of you have noticed that it’s been taken up by lorries and contractors’ vehicles today. Here’s what I know is going on:

Waitrose are re-fitting their shop and the vehicles belong to their contractors. They came to an agreement with the City Council that, for the period of the re-fit, which will take a month, they will have use of a small part of the car-park. 70 out of the 110 spaces should still be available for users and it is anticipated that that will be sufficient for the expected usage. (Waitrose, by the way, are paying the going rate for using the car-park). The recycling bins are also being moved to near the Bury Knowle wall for the interim.

Obviously, what happened today wasn’t in line with the agreement: most of the car-park was taken up and one observer has called the scene ‘organised chaos.’ Council officers have been promised by the contractors that this was happening because it was the first day; I have asked them to provide firmer reassurances that this is a one-off and that they will be keeping to the agreement.  They have also been reminded that they need to put up notices explaining what’s going on and, in addition, to provide disabled access, as the usual route next to the shop is going to be closed. When we hear more, we’ll keep you informed.

I have also more to report on Waitrose’s plans so keep looking for the next post!

Speed restriction on the way

Please see information attached that relates to a Temporary Speed Restriction for the London Road, Headington, commencing 20 April 2009 and lasting for 5 weeks.  This will be introduced while carriageway resurfacing works take place.

Leon Jolly from Enterprise Mouchel confirmed the following locations and estimated timeframes for delivery.

Phase 1: 19 Apr – 30 April, Headington Campus to Gipsy Lane
Phase 2: 1 May – 12 May, Gipsy Lane to Headley Way
Phase 3: 13 May – 22 May, Headley Way – Osler Road

It’s not clear from the information that we have received what this temporary speed restriction will be in terms of miles per hour, but it’s pretty unlikely that it will be breached given our experiences of the last few weeks