London Road – traffic/crossing signals out until Wednesday

The signals have gone down at Gipsy Lane and there is currently no pedestrian crossing signal in operation near the junction of Latimer Road and London Road because of damage to an underground cable.

The County Council has called in the signals company to investigate the fault, and unfortunately repairs cannot be carried out until next Wednesday 3 September.

David and I have asked that this work is given highest priority.

National traffic statistics

untitled1.JPGThe Department for Transport’s annual road statistics have been published this month. They show that traffic has increased by 14% and that there are now 7,000 more roads since Labour came to power.

The statistics also show that HGVs have increased by 9.4% since 1997, and that 82% of them break the 50 mph speed limit on non built-up dual carriageways.

In the last fortnight, Ruth Kelly announced yet another £6bn to widen motorways.

Speaking in 1997, John Prescott said: “I will have failed if in five years’ time there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car. It’s a tall order but I urge you to hold me to it.”

Licensing applications

David and I have received quite a few enquiries lately about licensing applications concerning premises in the Headington area.  If you want to find out more, please click on the Council’s licensing application search link

I shall make a link to this search site from the left hand toolbar so that you can reach it quickly at any time 

Phone boxes on London Road

First it was thought to be a green box, and then it grew into a phone stand. Next to the junction of London Road with Old High Street, and next to the existing phone boxes, a new stand has been erected at right angles to the existing boxes.

The new stand — it can hardly be called a box or a booth — did not need planning permission, though its advertising did (07/02672/ADV, for those with a desire for detail). But the question now is: why are there three phones at that point, blocking up the pavement?

The answer is that, when they made their advertising application, BT said that the new stand is a replacement and that the others will be removed. But they didn’t say when. So, Ruth and I have chased to find out when the pavement will be freed up again. We are told that BT are waiting for the electricity to the old boxes to be switched off, which Southern Electric will do on the 19th September. The boxes will be removed soon after that point.

Is the Green Belt sacred?


This is the title of an interesting article in this week’s “Total politics” magazine about the importance of the Green Belt. Some figures are quoted by the Chief Economist at Policy Exchange that are quite surprising.

Which of these would you agree with?

75% of England is developed

50% of England is developed

25% of England is developed

15% of England is developed

or less than the above?

The answer is that, although 54% of survey respondents thought half of England was developed, the real answer (including garden space in cities) is 9.8%.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks account for 55.2% of England’s land.

More than 1.6m hectares in England (12.9% of land) is classed as Green Belt.

It’s important that we discuss the issues around the Green Belt in a measured, non-emotive and rational way. Local residents are best placed to consider housing and other economic needs in our communities, not national government. We need to keep up pressure on central government to give us greater powers of decision-making in any future review of the County’s Green Belt.

The Big Tidy Up

Fed up with litter? Like to make where you live a better place? Well now’s your big chance. Keep Britain Tidy is launching the Big Tidy Up, the country’s biggest ever litter tidy up!   Oxford City Council and Oxforshire Waste Partnership are supporting the Big Tidy Up and we are encouraging people to have their tidy up in September 2008, however tidy ups can happen anytime throughout the year.  Schools, groups, businesses, or even just you and your neighbours – lets all get together and have a great Big Tidy Up! 

Go to the Oxfordshire Waste Partnership website to register

All tidy up groups will be entered into the draw which takes place at the end of September with one lucky group winning £250


David and I helped the New Headington residents tidy up in Kennett Road last year, don’t forget to let us know the dates and times of your Big Tidy Up events! We’re keen to help.

Manor Ground development – watch this space!

Those brave enough to stay till the end of the North East Area Committee meeting on Tuesday will have noted that David and I pushed hard for action on the Manor Ground development scheme.  Beech Road residents have made it clear to us that they are disappointed that the promised affordable housing units have not yet been built and made available for use.

We have secured the Area Committee’s backing to call for a progress report from the Head of City Development.  Our Area Co-ordinator Angela Cristofoli is arranging a meeting between officers in Planning and City Housing/Development and David and myself to agree an action plan.  We will post up more news when we have this space!

Cleaning up the underpass

Some residents have commented recently about the smell in the underpass. Ruth and I have asked the Council to get to grips with this problem and officers have responded by agreeing to a daily disinfecting of the underpass. So, hopefully, it will return to being a pleasant route avoiding the dodgems of London Road! If you have any other concerns about the underpass, do drop us a line.

Planning applications re Starbuck’s

I have been asked why the planning applications made by Starbuck’s are no longer on the Council’s planning website. This is the information I have been given by planning officers.

The original Starbuck’s planning applications have been made invalid.

The original applications were served on the owners of the building but
incorrect details were quoted.  When this was realised, Starbucks
withdrew the applications, and submitted new ones with the correct
details.  These are currently being processed by planning officers and will be added to this week’s list

This means that the applications get logged all over again  and won’t come up before North East Area Committee till November.  

Important notice for residents who have sent in comments about the original applications

You will need to send in new letters quoting the new applications. 

Letters quoting the old applications will not be considered with the new applications.