Outcome of White Hart Application

Some of you might remember the White Hart’s licensing application to be able to use its garden for smokers. There has now been a decision on it, allowing the use but with limits placed on it. Specifically, the conditions are:

  • The garden area shall not be used after 2300 hours except for patrons wanting to smoke in the designated smoking area. Drinks shall not be taken outside the premises by customers using the designated smoking area after 23.00 hours. 
  • The designated smoking area after 23:00hrs shall be used by no more than 10 persons at any one time.

This is certainly a compromise solution. It’s to be hoped that it works for everyone involved, both residents and those using the pub. If any issues do arise, please do drop Ruth or myself a line and, as always, we’ll get onto it.

Oxford Mail exclusive on the London Road lights

Residents may like to see the Oxford Mail coverage of our endeavours to get the crossing lights repaired in London Road, which was featured in our earlier post.

David and I would like to thank the Oxford Mail for helping us resolve this long-running issue, and also say a big thank you to Len and Audrey and Mrs Cox for assisting with our photo-shoot.

How to report crime in South Headington

As those who attended the Area Committee last night will know, the email address for Headington South Neighbourhood Action Group has been withdrawn due to technical problems and David and I have been pressing for details of the new one.

There is now a new email address for this NAG and it is not yet on the NAG website.  The new address is


Don’t be put off by this address, this NAG covers a huge part of our ward too – all roads on the South side of the London Road including Brookside, Latimer Road, Lime Walk, New High Street, Kennett Road, Windmill Road, Stapleton Road, Bickerton Road, York Road, Rock Edge, St Anne’s Road, Old Road and all the interconnecting roads in between.

Do contact this NAG if you are aware of any antisocial behaviour in the area

Success: London Rd lights back on

Here’s a tale of how public concern — and the press — can have a positive effect. Those of you who are attentive readers — or who are residents of the area around the London Road — will know about the problems with the traffic lights near Latimer Road. As previously reported, they have not been working for some time, making it really difficult for elderly residents to get about at all. My hyper-energetic colleague, Ruth, has been dealing with the issue but we’ve been so frustrated with the response that we called the Oxford Mail and arranged a photo-shoot for this morning.

I was up there and met the redoubtable Len of Latimer Grange, as well as Mrs Cox of McMaster House. While we were waiting for the photographer, I noticed the County workmen getting busy and trying to switch on the lights. That failed but I talked to the officer (Mike Best who lives up to his surname: thanks for your work on this one) and he arranged for a contractor to come as soon as possible. In fact, that meant just after the photographer had left. Dave, the contractor, found that the wrong fuse had been put in — a 6 amp rather than a 16 amp — replaced it, and now, at last, the lights are working again.

I do wonder how long it would have taken to get these lights going again if it hadn’t been for Ruth and my contacting the press and their agreeing to run a story. That, plus being able to talk to an officer on site. We will not know for sure but I’d like to think that the fact that local residents were willing to be in the paper helped get this sorted out in the end. The tale is a sad one of buck-passing between a privatised utility and the County Council but, to give them their due, the County officers and contractors on the ground did a sterling job, giving the tale a happy ending: thank you.

Got a gripe about the roads?

Considering the mail-bags both Ruth and I receive, transport issues are high up on the list of the concerns of residents in Headington. This was also borne out by the well-attended meeting on residents’ parking in New Headington last Wednesday, at which a County officer helpfully attended.

But, as that officer said, ‘it’s councillors who make the decisions.’ In which case, we should all be directing our questions, comments and complaints to the relevant County Councillor responsible for our highways. And you can do just that this coming Tuesday, 16th September, when the grandly-titled Cabinet Member for Transport (the Tories like grand titles) comes to St Andrew’s School for the North East Area Committee, which begins at 6pm. We hope to see you there!

Stephen Road — new planning application

Some of you will remember that there is a long history of planning applications for the area around and including 10 and 12 Stephen Road. It seems only a few weeks’ ago that a planning inspector dismissed appeals on two previous applications at this site. Now there is a new application for the same address. It is similar to the previous applications but the developers hope that they have found a way to overcome the concerns of the planning inspector. As there is history on this site, it is only right that this application is heard at a future Area Committee — if, that is, Labour have not abolished the right to have such cases heard locally by then — and I will be interested to hear both sides of the argument at that stage. That’s the point when I’ll make up my own mind. But if you want to form your own view now, do go to the Council’s planning portal and look under the reference number, which is:  08?01961/FUL.

London Road – crossing signal failure

That’s it. We’ve had enough. We are organising a press call and photo shoot with the Oxford Mail regarding the power failure of the crossing lights at the Latimer Rd/Windmill Rd junction

Ruth is calling the Oxford Mail Friday morning to arrange for a photographer to take photos of elderly folk from Latimer Grange who have had extreme difficulty in accessing the shops, church, and the doctor’s surgery, along with David as City Councillor. This is the last chance for the utility company and the County Council to address this issue before it goes to the press

Safety worries at the Windmill Rd/London Rd junction

Following our street surgery in St Anne’s Road, we have reported residents’ concerns about near misses due from the traffic light sequencing to the County’s Safety Officer. Here is his reply:

As you will be aware, the changes to the traffic light phasing here were introduced in late 2007 to help improve traffic flows. We have been monitoring safety here very closely, and although there have been two reported accidents (one resulting in serious injury to an elderly pedestrian, and one resulting in slight injury to a pedal cyclist) neither appear to have been in any way related to the changes. It is nevertheless worrying to hear about the recent incidents; we are now working on the next phase of the London Road project covering the length between Osler Road and Wharton Road, and one objective will be to make the shopping area as friendly a place as possible for pedestrians, and an important part of this will be trying to achieve consistently low speeds on the approach to , and through the junction. We hope to consult on the proposals in the spring 2009, which will be an opportunity for all users to express their views and help shape the scheme.

Tree planting in Headington


We have been in contact with the officer in charge of planting trees within the City, as a diseased tree was taken down in Latimer Road, and residents have asked if a new one could take its place.

We have had a promising response which I post below – maybe there are other locations in Headington suitable for tree planting requests? Please hit the comment button or use the Contact us button on the left hand tool bar if you have any ideas.

I have a number of trees available for planting this winter. I will
ensure an appropriate replacement is reserved for this location. 

London Road power loss – the saga continues…

Right. Where to start?

My latest information is that the controller that makes the crossing lights work was replaced last week and a call was put through to the utilities company to come and turn the power back on.

Unfortunately the utilities company now says it has no record of the call being made. A subsequent call has definitely been logged and the electricity company has indicated that employees will be on site today (or Wednesday at the latest) to sort this out.

Mike Collins, the Project Manager at the County end, is going to make a site visit this afternoon to ensure that work is progressing and to monitor what is going on.

We know that this is causing great inconvenience for everyone, particularly the elderly people living in Latimer Road who are unable to cross the road and get the bus to the doctor’s, the shops and church, and I assure you that David, Gail, Altaf and I are doing all we can to get this resolved as quickly as possible

I’m considering chaining myself to the crossing signal post tomorrow and dragging in the Oxford Mail photographer for a photo shoot if these signals aren’t up and running by the time I finish work, I may call on elderly residents to join me. Watch this space.