View more tweets

How far do planners consult residents on applications?

I have been contacted by residents to ask about the degree to which public consultation has taken place with regard to the prospective application to install a mast at Rock Edge. Please click on the planning application website to view this application and quote planning reference 08/01162/CPU. This is the reply from Planning Officers.

There are three types of proposal for telecommunications:

1. Permitted development notifications
2. 56 day proposals ( up to 15 metres)
3. Full applications.

For all three we notify neighbours within 100 m and schools within 200m,
although blocks of flats will get just a notice put up in the foyer.

In addition for those:
For category 1 above the letter advises that this is permitted
development and neighbours should write to the company not us.

For category 2 we also put up 4-5 site notices on community notice
boards and other strategic sites in the area

For category 3 as well as the site notices we also put a formal notice
in the local press.

This application falls under permitted development. It
appears from the system that the 100m ruling was applied in this
instance.

**********************************************************************I

If you are a resident living close by this development (i.e. within 100 metres) and you feel you should have been consulted about the application but this has not happened, please get in touch with me via phone or email or via this website and I will investigate this further.

The planning officers have been working on a consultation guide outlining the extent to
which they should consult on all types of applications received by Oxford City Council’s Planning Dept. A copy will be posted on the Council’s website as soon as it has been signed off, and I will post a link to it from this website as soon as this has been actioned

What do Estate Managers do?

Since becoming a Councillor, I have taken the opportunity to find out more about the services provided by Oxford City Homes: I have discussed the housing policy and services provided by the City Council and its partners with senior officers, learned about the work done to offer vacant properties to tenants and about the work that is needed to ‘turn round’ newly vacated properties to make them conform to ‘decent homes standard’, and I have also taken part in a tour of some of the Council’s properties with members of the Tenants’ Involvement Panel and other tenants in Barton, Wood Farm, Rose Hill and Donnington.

Oxford City Homes have invited me to work shadow Estate Managers in Headington and in Blackbird Leys, and this will give me the chance to find out and appreciate what work they do to help tenants around the City. Here are some of the things I shall be learning about:

  • providing housing surgeries for general enquiries
  • visiting all new tenants within 28 days of them moving in
  • visiting all the tenants in the local area once a year
  • organising walkabouts with residents and councillors to inspect the areas on a regular basis
  • inspecting the communal areas to all the blocks of flats on a bi-monthly basis
  • helping tenants with their individual enquiries
  • dealing with reports of anti-social behaviour promptly and appropriately.
  • working with other agencies to the benefit of residents

If you are a tenant or leaseholder, and you would like me to ask any particular questions when I meet the Estate Managers, do let me know! Our local Estate Manager is Adrian Stone, and I shall be spending at least half a day with him in August or September  in our ward. I will post up what I learn!

Programme of construction work on the London Road

The Site Agent for Oxfordshire Highways has contacted residents living near the London Road to let them know the schedule for roadworks. I thought it would be useful to reproduce this information below.

North side from Pullens Lane to Headley Way 21 July – 20 October 2008

  • diversion of underground services
  • carriageway widening
  • drainage works
  • reconstruction and re-paving of the footways
  • installation of new traffic signs

North side from Headley Way to Osler Road 21 July – 13 October 2008

  • diversion of underground services

North side from Headley Way to Osler Road 18 August – 17 November 2008

  • carriageway widening
  • drainage works
  • resonstruction and re-paving of the footways
  • installation of new traffic signs
  • preparation work for changes to traffic signals

South side from Brookside to opposite Pullens Lane 20 October – 11 December 2008

  • diversion of underground services
  • carriageway widening
  • drainage works
  • reconstruction and re-paving of the footways
  • installation of new traffic signs
  • preparation work for changes to traffic signals

South side from New High Street to Brookside 17 November – 19 Jan 2009

  • diversion of underground services
  • carriageway widening
  • drainage works
  • reconstruction and re-paving of the footways
  • installation of new traffic signs
  • preparation work for changes to traffic signals

Oxford Brookes University public space area 18 December – 13 January 2009

  • installation of new kerbing
  • drainage works
  • installation of high quality paving materials on the footways
  • re-positioning and upgrading of the Pelican crossing outside the Gipsy Lane Campus
  • installation of new traffic signs

Headley Way to Osler Road 19 January – 9 February 2009

  • installation of traffic lights and pedestrian islands
  • re-surfacing of the road
  • installation of new road markings

Pullens Lane to Headley Way 26 January – 23 February 2009

  • installation of traffic lights and pedestrian islands
  • re-surfacing of the road
  • installation of new road markings

Regular scheme updates will be posted on the County Council’s website

The Oxfordshire Highways Enquiry Line is 0845 310 1111

Resident involvement in NAGs

The next meeting of the Headington North NAG (Neighbourhood Action Group) is taking place on Wednesday morning. If you live in Old Headington or in the area between the JR and Headington shops and you would like me to convey your views to our neighbourhood police officers and parks officers about issues relating to crime, anti-social behaviour, roads, or open spaces, please contact me by email or phone, or post a comment above.

I talked to Chief Inspector Olly Wright from Thames Valley Police about involving more residents in NAG meetings. It is tricky to get a balance between just having one or two local representatives from Residents’ Associations at NAG meetings, or making NAG meetings essentially ‘open house’ (which could get unwieldy). He is currently writing a constitution for NAGs which he is hoping to introduce across the whole of the Thames Valley Police area in order to make NAGs more consistent. Some residents don’t attend Residents’ Association meetings but still have a view on the way their area is policed or have concerns about one specific issue, and I worry that these people’s views don’t reach the authorities. I would welcome views from residents on this.

As you know, I have given some presentations on resident involvement in NAGs to NAG chairs and members of Thames Valley Police. Recently, following on from this, I was asked to write a short script and do a piece to camera for a police training video on tackling anti-social behaviour. The experience took me out of my safety zone as it was the first time I had embarked on such a project, and I was duly equipped with microphone, a Mastermind chair, brilliant lighting and an autocue machine, complete with a team of sound technician, cameraman, autocue operator and script editor, at the police training HQ in Sulhamstead. The filming will form part of a DVD for duty officers new to an area who are called upon to deal with anti-social behaviour, and will be used for training purposes from October. I think it’s really encouraging that the police trainers are involving members of the public in developing their training materials rather than doing this solely in-house. That’s got to be a good thing.

Night Patrols by police in Headington

You may well have seen that the bus shelter on London Road near Sandfield Road has suffered repeatedly from vandalism. As was explained on this site earlier in the month, the shelter itself is in line to be replace soon, and your LibDem councillors have ensured that a notice is placed on the shelter to make sure residents know what’s going on. All the more importantly, we have followed up this and other incidents with the police, encouraging them to increase patrols, in particular on Friday and Saturday nights. We are delighted to say they have now done so and that it is being promoted in the local press.

Improved bus service from Headington to Cherwell School

I have just been informed of the following improvement brought about by successful lobbying of the County Council by the parent of a Cherwell student who lives in Headington.

RH Transport, who run the 700 between the JR and Water Eaton have agreed to run the 0805 service from the JR via Summertown, i.e. along Marston Ferry Road, to reach Cherwell by 0820. This should help those pupils who come from Headington and Marston to Cherwell. Until now that service has used the ring road instead to avoid congestion – but this should not be such a problem in that direction at that time.


Time to review residents’ parking zones?

car.JPG

The County Council says it will carry out regular reviews of residents’ parking zones. One has just been completed in West Oxford.

Isn’t it time that our RPZs were reviewed in Headington? That’s what residents in New Headington are telling David and me.

We shall be working with residents’ associations to push for action on this.

Why should residents have to pay to park their cars outside their own homes?

Why are some zones 24/7? Is this unfair for residents living in busy areas?

Why should residents in 24/7 areas have to pay for passes for every visitor to their homes?

Tell us what you think!

Latest planning appeals – Stephen Road

The Inspector has dismissed two appeals for refusal of planning
permission for:
At 10 ~Stephen Road: Demolition of existing building comprising of 2
flats, garages and lock up storage. Erection of 4×3 bed houses, 1×2 bed
flats and 3×1 bed flats. Retention of existing single storey unit at
rear for commercial use. Provision of on-site car parking. (Amended
plans and description).

And at 10 and 12 Stephen road:
Demolition of existing property divided into 2 flats, garages/lock up.
Erection of 5 x 3 bed terraced houses and 2 x 1

The original decisions by City Council were by North East Area Committee overturning
the planning officer recommendation to accept.

So both appeals have been dismissed, meaning neither has been given planning permission.
This decision is final and can not be appealed. The developers can put in another planning application; if they do so, they will have to overcome the reasons for refusal as expressed in this decision.

Old Road cycle route

At a meeting of stakeholders this morning at Cheney School, many people expressed frustration that developer money still had not been spent to improve cycling routes in this area.

There was widespread support for a 20 mph speed limit on Old Road, possibly enforced by a time over distance speed camera.

Another suggestion was made to remove the central white line from the middle of the road which reduces the sense of certainty that encourages drivers to speed.

Everyone wanted to support Cheney School’s cycling to school policy.

The suggestion to put in speed cushions or raised tables was not so popular.

Another suggestion was to enable cyclists to bypass the queue at Windmill Road junction by using a cycle track painted on the footway which would drop away to the advanced stop line marked on the road.

County officers were asked to look into ways of obtaining extra funding for improvements along this busy stretch of road which serves the Churchill Hospital, Cheney School, the University of Oxford, and Oxford Brookes University.