Taking up complaints with Thames Water

Thanks to everyone who attended the area committee meeting tonight, it was good to see so many residents willing to ask questions of the representatives from Thames Water, and I am really pleased we were able to discuss our issues with them.

I mentioned the complaints procedure to follow if you feel that an issue you have reported has not been dealt with appropriately or there has been a service failure. The first thing to do is to use Thames Water’s own formal complaints procedure – click here for details

If you are unable to resolve it, you can contact the Consumer Council for Water Thames – for consumers of Thames Water, Three Valleys Water, Sutton and East Surrey. Their address is

Fourth Floor (South), High Holborn House, 52/54 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6RL

Click here for details – their services are free

Help us shape Oxford survey

A survey is being carried out across the county, and you may be one of the lucky people to get a questionnaire through your letter-box! It’s part of a national Place Survey Programme which is asking residents aged 18 and over to comment on their immediate neighbourhood, public services, and whether they get involved in their community.

If you need any help in filling in the form or want to know more about the survey, please click here for details. Your comments are important to us – let the Councils know how happy you are with their local services!

WaterWatch Oxford

tap1.jpg Got a problem with Thames Water?

David and I have started up a campaign site called WaterWatch Oxford for any resident in Oxford to email us with reports of the issues they have with Thames Water utility services. We want to log how many issues there are across the City so that we ask Thames Water about them next Tuesday and continue to chase progress

If YOU have a problem you wish to report, please click on WATER WATCH OXFORD on the left hand toolbar and tell me

WHAT happened?

WHERE it happened?

WHEN it happened, and has it happened again?

WHO did you contact to get it fixed?

WHAT did they do to fix it?

Rubbish collection in Kennett Road

In response to residents’ concerns, I have made several phone calls and sent a number of emails to staff at City Works about the possible confusion caused by refuse collections being carried out in Kennett Road on the same day of the week as the Farmers’ Market 

The flats whose access is into the first part of Kennett Road are London Road addresses and their scheduled collection is Thursday – the refuse collection vehicle will collect this waste from the London Road End.

The Kennett Road residents will have their refuse collected on Fridays. On the Fridays when the market is in operation, the refuse collection vehicle will reverse, using a bansksman, from Bateman Street as far as the “No Entry” signs at the far end

City Works believe that the refuse collection will not affect the operation of the Farmers Market.  They say..

The market organiser has in fact stated that there is sufficient room for our vehicles to turn around near to the market without affecting it if we so wish.

As far as other road users are concerned, these problems are faced daily: in other parts of the city and in roads that are considerably narrower. There is sufficient space in Kennett Road for other vehicles to pass the Refuse Collection Vehicle but do recognise that sometimes this may cause a delay to other road users but not normally more than one or two minutes.

One would expect all drivers to take note of all road and traffic
conditions and manoeuvre accordingly

Please let David and me know if there are any operational problems when the new scheme commences.

Problems with Thames Water?

If you have problems with flooding or sewage or you are confused about your water bills, then come along to the next North East Area Committee and make your views known to the staff from Thames Water ! The meeting is at Bayard’s Hill School, Bayswater Road (parking off Waynflete Road) in Barton on Tuesday 21 October at 6 p.m. Please make yourself known to me as well – I’ll be there to grill them too!

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Anti theft screws for car number plates

Over the last couple of months some residents in Oxford City have been victims of vehicle registration plate theft.
Thames Valley Police has a supply of anti theft screws which can be used as a deterrent to this type of crime. To fit these screws it is first necessary to remove just one of the existing screws on front and rear number plates and replace them with the anti theft device using a conventional screw driver. It is recommended that the new screw head is left uncovered so that it is obvious to a potential thief that the device is fitted.
If you wish to obtain a free supply of these screws they can be collected from the front counters at either St. Aldate’s or Cowley Police Staions on a first come first served basis.

Councils await news of funds invested in troubled Icelandic banks

Councils across Oxfordshire are amongst at least 40 local authorities across the country that have been caught up in the current Icelandic banking crisis and are waiting to hear when their investments in three Icelandic banks will be re-paid.
The councils, which between them have budgets in excess of £1.3bn, have at any one time, cash flow balances which are invested within the banking sector.
In common with all councils, this investment is regulated to seek cash security and uses national bank ratings to ensure credit worthiness. Councils also ensure that risk is spread by limiting the maximum exposure to any one institution – this applies in financially stable times as well as in the current turbulent times.
The Icelandic banks have been highly rated.

The Oxfordshire councils have £28.5m invested with the Icelandic banks, which is repayable at different dates over the year. The situation with the Icelandic Banks remains unclear and has changed several times over the last 24 hours – the council’s are pushing the government for a clear statement on the position of these funds.
How is each council affected?
The breakdown of the funds invested across the council is: £m
Cherwell District Council 6.5
Oxfordshire County Council 5.0
Oxford City Council 4.5
South Oxfordshire District Council 2.5
Vale of White Horse District Council 1.0
West Oxfordshire District Council 9.0

For more details, please see the Oxford City Council website 

Safety of cyclists in Headington

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We know there is a lot of concern from residents about cycling in Headington.  Pedestrians tell us that they experience near misses or are bumped into by cyclists on pavements. Cyclists say they experience near misses or are forced off road by buses. Car drivers tell us that cyclists swerve in front of them without using arm signals. 

The neighbourhood police have been stopping cyclists who ride on the pavements and ask them why they are doing it, and the answer is frequently “because I don’t feel safe cycling on the road”.  Many of these cyclists are adults, not children.  We need to come up with some good ideas about how to improve all this, before there are any more accidents.  At a recent Neighbourhood Action Group meeting some suggestions included:

  • impose on the spot fines for people who cycle on pavements

  • stop those cycling on pavements and give them a warning first time round, if they are stopped again, send them on a compulsory cycling proficiency training course

  • enforce the law that cycle lanes should be used only by cyclists and not by cars – this would make cyclists feel safer

  • devise cycle routes that take cyclists off the main roads and give a map of these routes and a warning to those who cycle on pavements

  • put up signs instructing cyclists to dismount where traffic junctions are particularly dangerous

We have asked for this topic to be raised at a forthcoming North East Area Committee meeting.  There are two questions that must be asked of the County:

  1. Why isn’t there a Cycling Officer for Oxfordshire?

  2. Why isn’t there an up to date County strategy on cycling?

If you have any ideas or suggestions, we would welcome them!