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End to disruption in Latimer Road in sight?

Advice from planning enforcement is that the handover of the site from Winvic to the university is scheduled for this afternoon. This will hopefully see a noticeable reduction in the number of contractors involved with the site on a daily basis and a reduction in the number of vehicles at the site.

Short term parking should ease now that Winvic’s involvement is coming to an end. The disabled parking space is free and available for use.

The container on the road will be removed today along with the plant machinery as well so the road and site should be a little more clear. The skip onsite will be exchanged today in preparation for the final phase of planting/landscaping which is scheduled from 16th February 2018.

All of Winvic’s involvement with the 36-40 London Road site is being handed over today. Site manager Mark Wait is onsite to oversee this.  They will have obviously have some involvement with the tree planting but Brookes will be overseeing a lot of this.

Following the planting/landscaping, there is to be the resurfacing of ‘worn’ section of Latimer Road. This will leave the area looking much better and should be the last stage of disruptive work in the general area of the site. The date for this is yet to be confirmed. We are checking to see if damage to Latimer Grange will also be rectified.

Latest proposals for increased parking charges in City-owned car parks

Current charges for Headington Car Park are £1.70 for 0-2 hours.

The City Council has withdrawn the proposed hike to £2.50 for 0-2 hours after hundreds of people opposed it.

The City Council has made alternative proposals in appendix 7 to item 8 on the agenda for the next CEB meeting on 13th February. New proposed charges at Headington Car Parks are:

£2.00 for 0-1 hour

£2.50 for 1-2 hours

You can see the full figures here (go to appendix 7)

These proposals do not reflect the views of the public made during the Headington Neighbourhood Plan referendum in which there was a stated need to make the first half hour of parking in City Car Parks free.

If you would like to ask a question about this decision at next week’s City Executive Board meeting, here is the process.

Attending meetings

City Executive Board meetings are held in public and you are welcome to attend.

Meeting dates and start times are on the calendar and a notice of each meeting is posted at the front of the Town Hall on St. Aldate’s, Oxford.  The majority of meetings are held in the Town Hall.

On occasions the meeting will agree to consider an item in private and if this is the case you will be asked to leave.  This happens within limited circumstances for reasons that you will see detailed on the agenda and listed in our constitution.

Asking questions, making comments or speaking

When the Chair agrees, up to 15 minutes is allocated for all public questions. Questions can be asked about any item for decision at the meeting. 

They must be sent in writing to the Head of Law and Governance in advance of the meeting.  

For a Thursday meeting, questions must be submitted by 9.30am Tuesday.  

You should email or telephone Catherine Phythian, Committee and Member Services Officer. Tel: 01865 252217

No supplementary questions or questioning is permitted.

Ruth and Altaf are number-crunching alternative tariffs and charges in order to achieve a fairer outcome and a Headington Ward Councillor will speak at the CEB meeting. We are very concerned that these changes are being proposed and decided upon  without further public consultation.

Careers information event coming soon at the Mini Plant

Careers Fest is taking place on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th February at the MINI Plant Oxford.  The event highlights opportunities available to young people in Oxfordshire.

Over 55 exhibitors are signed up, consisting of employers, further education colleges, universities and training organisations and to date there are over 1,800 people registered to attend.  This year also sees the introduction of a twilight session aimed at parents, carers/guardians and families, along with FE/HE students.

If you would like to see careers fest in action please pop in to see staff during the following times;

  • Tuesday 6thFebruary        9:30am – 2:45pm (avoid 1pm – 1:45pm as this is lunchtime)
  • Tuesday 6thFebruary        4pm – 7pm
  • Wednesday 7thFebruary    9:30am – 11:45am

Museum of Oxford seeks volunteers

Find out more about volunteering at Museum of Oxford

The team behind the Museum of Oxford are hosting two free information sessions for members for the public to learn how they can get involved in volunteering.

The sessions, taking place on Monday 5 February, and Tuesday 6 February invites those interested in volunteering to attend two free information talks:

  • Find out more about volunteering: Monday 5 February, 10.30am-12.30pm, at the Heritage Learning Centre
  • Young Innovators open meeting: Tuesday 6 February, 6.00pm-7.30pm, at the Old Museum

The sessions will explore how the public can get involved in volunteering and will feature talks from staff and volunteers, as well as a tour and a chance to ask questions.

The Young Innovators open meeting invites 16-25 year olds who are interested in using their skills to assist in the planning projects and events at the Museum of Oxford. Previously the group have planned live music nights, Halloween evenings, and a family-friendly event examining archaeological finds during the redevelopment of the Westgate shopping centre.

Earlier this month Museum of Oxford introduced Volunteer Makers, a flexible volunteering scheme introducing a new way to volunteer digitally.

In September 2017, the Museum of Oxford as a part of the City Council’s Community Services team received the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard accreditation. The accreditation recognises the team as having best practice of recruiting, training and supporting volunteers.

Access to Headington latest

The Growth Board met yesterday in closed session. Although the Access to Headington project was not referred to on the agenda, it was discussed under an item with a different portfolio name.

We understand that individual projects are not likely to be announced till the 7th February. So the planned and published Staunton Road closure may still go ahead.


Tackling isolation and loneliness

Ruth recently attended a meeting convened by Headington Action on support for the lonely and isolated in Headington. Yesterday she asked a question in Council relating to the minute of a CEB meeting which said
136.Scrutiny Committee Reports Preventing Elderly Isolation 

Cllr Gant said the Scrutiny discussion had been supported well by officers and the Board Member. The Committee had looked at some specific matters as well as the more general ones reflected in the recommendations. He welcomed the positive response to the recommendations from the Board Member. 

The Chair noted that isolation was not just a function of age or ethnicity and should be considered across the piece. This was a subject which warranted some more concrete action and to that end he would ask for it be picked up by the Oxfordshire Strategic Partnership. 

Ruth said that Headington Action had convened a meeting on support for the lonely and isolated in the Headington Neighbourhood Area which had been very useful, and were actively working on mapping what is currently available. Could the Board Member indicate in what way he thought the OSP might take this forward?

Bob Price said he was very interested to hear about the Headington initiative. At a recent meeting of the OSP, support for the isolated (of all ages, not just the elderly) was identified as a key issue, and they would be setting up a Task and Finish Group to identify further action at their March meeting.

He would welcome an email from Ruth giving contact names from the Headington Community who might like to input to the discussions of the Task and Finish Group, and we have let Headington Action know. It would be great to have a Headington presence at this strategic level!


How to complain about noisy construction work

We now have a contact at Oxford City Council who is prepared to field all complaints from residents about unacceptable noise levels from construction work, which is particularly relevant for those living in Latimer Road.

The correct advice is for all complainants to report this to:

We are aware that the works on the Winvic Beech Road site are rushing for completion, but we need to ensure the noise levels of works are acceptable

 Unfortunately the Out of Hours service for noise doesn’t cover Sunday daytime, it primarily being a late night/early morning service – details are here:

Overall, the responsibility for regulating commercial noise comes under the Business Regulation Team and that includes noise from construction sites. There are 2 main powers – noise nuisance legislation and Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974. These may be used where the construction activity is assessed to be having an unacceptable impact on residents and where best practice is not being applied. In addition good construction companies usually approach BRT to obtain a noise consent (Section 61 of the CPA74) if they have the need to do noisy work outside “normal” hours (see web pages here:


Removal of City trees from Staunton Road ‘pocket parks’

The City Council’s Tree Officer has explained to us his reasons for removing two trees from Staunton Road ‘pocket parks’ adjacent to gardens in Sandfield Road.

We are removing two mature Lombardy poplar trees along the boundaries of 64 & 66 Sandfield Road. The trees are located on the boundaries between the park and the properties. I carried out further investigation with our legal department to determine that the trees are in fact under the ownership and responsibility of the city council.

The two trees are being removed because:

1-    They are fast growing with weak wood

2-    The trees have been pruned heavily historically

3-    They do not compartmentalise well and as a result decay forms very quickly on pruning points

4-    The resultant regrowth is now significant on decayed points potentially leading to failure from the crown

5-    The tree behind 64 has characteristics that suggest it has been hit by lightning previously

6-    The risk comes from crown failure and requires removal of the crown beneath existing wounds and pruning points

7-    Any pruning works under these points could lead to the death of the tree therefore requiring repeat visits to remove the cut stump or rapid fast growing regrowth forming weak unions on future decay points.

We have asked several times whether these trees will be replaced, or failing that, whether they can be replaced. We are still awaiting advice on this.

Westgate centre – facilities for the disabled

We have been following up concerns from residents who have mobility problems or other form of disability about facilities in the Westgate Centre and received the following information.

On the seating – we are constantly monitoring whether there is enough – there is a balance between comfortable space for moving around in and amount of seating. We have flexible seating made of moveable modules – sometimes there is some in storage if there are other things going on in the streets – sometimes we move it to where we receive feedback on where people would like to see it.

The number of lifts will not change now for obvious reasons– but we have been experiencing some difficulties in getting some of the lifts commissioned and operating smoothly since opening so we are working hard with the engineers to resolve this. Access consultants were involved in the number and position of lifts throughout the design development. There are lifts to all levels off Leiden Square at the very southern end, and off Middle Square where the centre becomes multi-level. There are also customer lift within the JLP store.

The Changing Places facility was accommodated exactly adjacent to the entrances to the customer toilets and now has a bin.

There are further customer toilets at the ground floor level through Westgate Social – including a disabled toilet. Signs have now been added to the glazing of Westgate Social. 

Disabled parking is not free at the Westgate car park – charges are the same for all users.