Lights out in Headington!

Scottish and Southern Electric have confirmed that the recent spate of power blackouts in Osler Road/London Road, Headington have definitely been caused by a fault with an underground cable and have had nothing to do with the Christmas lights.

SSE explained further blackouts have occurred because a fuse has been blown associated with the load being too high; this is likely to have occurred due to a particular business tripping the power with a new piece of equipment. SSE Engineers are currently onsite trying to trace the exact source of the problem.

Should any of the businesses in Headington want to contact SSE directly, they need to ring 0800 072 7282 (emergency number if another power blackout occurs) or 01865 845 800 (for general information). The caller will need to give SSE their address details including postcode so they can track the job and provide the most up to date information

Water Watch – action in St Andrew’s Road

At eight o’clock last night, a big tanker lorry turned up with hoses in order to clear the manhole  in St Andrews Road, at the corner of Laurel Farm Close.  Thames Water has jetted the sewer at high pressure.

If you live nearby, and have been experiencing problems with either sewage or drainage, please keep David and me informed about how things are going – it would be good to know if this jetting has cleared the problem!

UPDATE!  Thames Water rang me today to advise that the sewer cleaning in St Andrew’s Road is scheduled to take up to 10 days from 4 December

Bus proposals in County Plan

There seems to be some movement in the County Council’s Transform Oxford proposals on buses. More details can be found on their website but I have copied and pasted an extract below. David and I attended a meeting at County Hall last week and asked some questions about bus services for East Oxford residents that seemed to provoke some irritated comments, and it seemed to me that the public transport proposals for East Oxford are causing considerable concern and re-consideration. I wonder if there is scope in this text for bus routes to operate into Oxford City Centre from East Oxford? See what you think!

So far, we believe that there are three options for achieving a reduction in bus flow in High Street and St Aldate’s:
Re-route certain services that do not necessarily need to use the High Street and St Aldate’s to other routes – for example Abingdon Road or Marston Ferry Road and Banbury Road. Because of the detours involved, this approach may only be appropriate for a limited number of services but will still help us achieve a reduction in bus flows.

Use larger vehicles to serve the routes that feed into the High Street, but reduce the service frequencies – i.e. carry the same number of passengers on fewer, larger vehicles. This could mean significantly fewer vehicles not only in the city centre but throughout the routes into the city from the east.

Use “normal” size buses to serve the routes that feed into the High Street but terminate those buses to the east of the High Street. There are two points where routes converge – at The Plain and at London Place. There appears to be scope at both locations to create an appropriately landscaped terminus. Travel onwards into the city centre would then be by a very high capacity, high frequency (leaving at least every five minutes) transfer bus (some vehicles are available that take almost four full “normal” bus loads) or on foot or, possibly, by a hired bike.

Options 2 or 3, probably in conjunction with option 1, could result in at least a 50% reduction in bus flows in High Street and St Aldate’s.
From a passenger’s perspective, option 1 could mean longer journey times. Option 2 means lower service frequencies but no need to interchange; option 3 maintains high frequency services but means an interchange. Making the options work well for passengers is clearly vital and that will be the focus of our work.

We will consult stakeholders and the public on these options to try to find the right balance between convenience for bus passengers and local environmental improvements.
Because of the huge amount of work involved, we are not expecting to deliver major bus reductions in High Street and St Aldate’s before 2011.

Cuckoo Lane: wall to be made safe

David and I have contacted the City’s senior structural engineer regarding a wall in Cuckoo Lane which appears to be in danger of collapse  between Osler Road and Old High Street

He has now met the owner who was aware of the problem and keen to take
action but unsure of how to proceed.  He has given her contact details for a local stonemason who is the Council’s first choice for any similar work and phoned the stonemason later to advise him that the wall should be made safe as a matter of urgency.

Some cones have been placed in the area, presumably by the County, in an attempt to keep pedestrians away from  the immediate area. Unfortunately Cuckoo Lane is very narrow and any falling masonry would be likely to spill beyond the coned-off area, so he has suggested that the County consider closing this part of the lane until the wall is made safe.

We will update this post once we have more details from the County

Reminder: temporary closure of Sandfield Road

Just to remind everyone that the London Road entrance to Sandfield Road will be closed for one week from 4 December because of roadworks – signs are in place already.

Our latest information from the County Highways Dept indicates that the closure will be for three days only from 2 December in order for gas pipes to be laid. This information conflicts with the red and white sign at the end of the road and we are trying to find out why!

Got a parking problem?

The contract for monitoring car parking in Residents’ Parking Zones has been transferred from APCOA to NCP.

The telephone number to contact NCP is 0845 337 1138. There are various
options to chose from such as

Help Line 0845 337 1138

Option 1 Payments
Option 2 Parking Shop
Option 3 Control Room (to report an illegally parked vehicle or to request parking information)
Option 4 NP (PCN queries)
Option 5 Oxfordshire County Council
Option 6 Suspensions

I will post this up as a sticky link on the left hand toolbar shortly

Help with planning applications

Planning Aid is an organization which provides free, independent and professional town planning advice and support to communities and individuals who cannot afford to pay planning consultant fees. It complements the work of local planning authorities, but is wholly independent of them.

Planning Aid can help people to:

Understand and use the planning system

Participate in preparing plans

Prepare their own plans for the future of their community

Comment on planning applications

Apply for planning permission or appeal against refusal of permission

Represent themselves at public inquiries.

I shall put a sticky link on the left hand menu to this web page as it may be a useful contact point for residents’ associations and those making (or commenting on or objecting to) planning applications

Headington Christmas Experience




Congratulations to Jill Cummings and all involved in organising the very successful Headington Christmas Experience over the last three days!

This is a picture of the Leiden brass band entertaining us in London Road this lunchtime. County Cllr Altaf Khan and I enjoyed meeting business owners and thanking them for their support for the community by providing promotions and contributing to the “Odd one out” competition. All the residents we spoke to said they had thoroughly enjoyed the events of the last week, and the children out and about today thought the balloon modeller was cool!

It was a really ‘feel good’ experience on a really ‘feel cold’ day! A big Thank You to all concerned!