Long awaited consultation on health services launched

A public consultation on changes to services in Oxfordshire will run from 16 January 2017 to 9 April 2017

This is the first phase of a two part consultation – phase 2 consultation will follow later this year – and the consultation focusses on the following:

  •   Changing the way we use our hospital beds and increasing care closer to home in Oxfordshire
  •   Planned care at the Horton General Hospital (planned care includes tests and treatment planned in advance and not urgent or emergency care)
  •   Acute stroke services in Oxfordshire
  •   Critical care (critical care helps people with life-threatening or very serious injuries and illnesses) at the Horton General Hospital
  •   Maternity services at the Horton General Hospital including obstetrics and the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).
    The full consultation document can be found here 

Don’t forget the energy pipe drop-in tomorrow 18th May

Invitation to Community Drop-In Exhibition on the Oxford University Hospital Energy Link Project

The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Vital Energi are preparing a planning application for The Oxford University Hospital Energy Link project.

Before we submit a planning application to Oxford City Council, we would like hear your views on the proposed route of the Energy Link and how we intend to minimise disruption during construction activities. 

To find out more about the benefits of the scheme and to comment on the project, you are invited to visit a community drop-in exhibition on Wednesday, 18th May, 2016 at:  

                League of Friends Café, Churchill Hospital, Old Road from 8.30am – 11.00am

                League of Friends Café, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way from 3.00pm – 6.00pm

We hope to welcome you at the exhibition. Members of the project team will be on hand to listen to feedback and answer any questions.

If you are unable to attend, the exhibition material will be uploaded from 18th May, 2016 online at www.ouh.nhs.uk/about/developments/energy.  

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jo Lennon, Community & Stakeholder Liaison by phone on 07342 086843 or by email at hospitalenergyproject@ouh.nhs.uk.

For and on behalf of Vital Energi and The Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust


Energy pipe latest

Clarification about applications involving two routes

At yesterday’s Headington Ward Focus meeting, we promised to contact the
planning officer for advice on a question asked about the up and coming
planning application for the energy pipe.

The question was basically: “If there are two routes proposed for the pipe, do
residents need to say which route they prefer in the neighbourhood
consultation? Will it be almost like voting for which one is best?”

We’ve asked the case officer for this application, and he has sent
the following clarification:

It is understood that there are proposals to provide a preferred and an
alternate route for the energy pipe. The most obvious approach with this would
be for the developer to apply for their preferred route and do a separate
application for the alternative route (just dealing with that section of the
route). If planning permission were granted for both schemes then a legal
agreement could be considered to ensure that only one planning permission is

To clarify, it would not normally be recommended to apply for both routes in
the same application as this could be confusing.

Following discussion with the officer, our understanding re timescales is as

If the application is for one route only (via All Saints Rd and Lime Walk), the
paperwork will need to be verified, a decision will be made on whether it needs
environmental impact screening, then if not and all is well it would go out for
8 weeks consultation. The case officer would write a report, informed by public
comments, with a recommendation either to grant or refuse permission, and the
report would be presented at East Area Planning Committee who will determine
the outcome. This would be the quickest option for the applicants. Yesterday it
appeared that the earliest date the application will be ready may well be May –
in which case it may just make the July 6th meeting or potentially the meeting
on 3rd August.

If a separate application is made for an alternative section of route (via
Stapleton Road and Old Road), the process would take longer as a legal
agreement will need to be arranged, and that could take a further 6-8 weeks or
so. That’s to ensure that works don’t happen in both Stapleton Road and Lime
Walk at the same time, it’s got to be one or the other. So in that scenario the
timescale might slip to September/October before EAPC can make a determination.

The Lime Walk option is currently the preferred route. But we won’t know for
sure till we see the application.

Energy pipe – more delays

Here is a copy of the latest press release from the OUH NHS Foundation Trust. There will be further delay while a full planning application covering all aspects of the project is prepared, and then the City Council will need to decide whether it needs an environmental impact assessment. It now seems unlikely to us that this application can be decided until June or later.


Following a meeting between Vital Energi and Planning officials at Oxford City Council today (17/03), Vital Energi has been asked to seek further professional planning advice to submit one planning application which covers the Energy Link pipeline as well as related work on both hospitals sites (such as the modifications to the Energy Centres and work on Churchill Drive).

They also discussed changing part of the route of the pipeline to take the Energy Link pipeline east at All Saints Road to proceed south along Lime Walk to the Churchill Hospital as shown in the maps below. Accordingly, the application will include two different proposed routes for consideration.

Vital Energi’s considerations when proposing this alternative section of route are:

  1. Lime Walk is wider than Stapleton Road so it will not need to be closed. Instead, temporary traffic lights will be used to enable traffic to flow in both directions. This will reduce the traffic displaced by road closures and addresses residents’ concerns that, under the original route proposed, Lime Walk may have become a ‘rat run’ for displaced traffic.
  2. It reduces amount of time Vital Energi will be working on Old Road.
  3. By keeping Lime Walk and Stapleton Road open and reducing the time spent on Old Road, this option addresses some concerns about potential traffic disruption.

Vital Energi will seek further planning advice and aims to submit the single master Planning Application for the Hospital Energy Project for consideration at the Eastern Area Planning Committee in June.

Mark Neal, Head of Estates of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Hospital Energy Project is essential for our Trust as it safeguards our energy and heating at the JR and Churchill hospitals for the next 25 years. In addition to guaranteed savings on our heating and energy bills, once this new energy and heating system is up and running, we will have reliable modern heating and cooling systems in both hospitals for the first time in many years.

“Equally importantly, we will cut our carbon emissions by 35%, making the single biggest contribution to cleaner air in Headington to date. We know that the work on laying the Energy Link is going to cause disruption for people along the route (whichever route is chosen) and we are extremely grateful for the support, co-operation and understanding of the greater benefits for patients that we have had from many residents so far. Both the Trust and Vital Energi are committed to engaging with the public on the Hospital Energy Project, which solely aims to improve patient environments in a sustainable and financially viable way, and we look forward to our discussions with them.”

Option 1 of the Energy Link Route:

access 1

Option 2 of the Energy Link Route:


We are delighted that Jo Lennon, the Trust’s Community Liaison Officer, has agreed to attend our next Ward Focus Meeting on Tuesday 29th March at 6:00 pm at the NOC Lecture Theatre to answer any questions residents may have.

What next for the energy pipe?

The planning officer has now rendered the energy pipe application invalid.

Why is this?

It’s because the applicant hasn’t sent in enough information.

  • There still isn’t enough information in the Construction Traffic Management Plan
  • A few small changes will need to be made to the route following further investigations
  • There are questions about the ownership of the land – it may be that the County Council does not own all of the land in the affected roads

So what needs to be done?

The applicant needs to send in all the missing information and provide evidence that either the County Council owns all the land or that it has served notice on all owners of the land.(this might be done by publishing a notice in the local press, for example).

Where do we go from here?

We recognise that everyone is getting frustrated with the current situation, and the sooner it is resolved, the better.

Once the above information has been submitted and accepted, the eight week determination period will start again. Fresh notices will be put up, and a full three week consultation period will start.

The planning officer will take into account all comments submitted to date. However if you have already submitted comments, and want to make further comments after you have seen the fresh information, you may do so, and those comments will be taken into consideration too.

Once the neighbourhood consultation date has closed, the officer will compile his report ready to go to the next meeting of the planning committee.

Given that essential information has not yet been submitted, it is looking more likely that the application may miss the April meeting, but it’s difficult to say for sure until the rest of the information comes in from the applicant.

If you have any more questions on process please contact Ruth or Altaf.

Ruth and Roz are planning to speak at tomorrow’s County Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting at County Hall, and we shall attend the Trust’s stakeholder liaison committee meeting tomorrow evening.

Planning application for energy pipe

Ruth has initiated a call in of planning application 16/00101/FUL to East Area Committee so that the decision is made in public by councillors, and people have the chance to speak for or against the application. The call in was successful so it’s possible that the application will be heard by East Area Planning Committee on 2 March. The closing date for comments by neighbours is Friday 12 February.

A question and answer session will be held on the energy project as part of tomorrow’s Ward Focus meeting:

Tuesday 26th January

6:00 – 7:30 pm

All Saints Church House (Upstairs Room) New High Street, OX3 7AL

***If the venue is not big enough, we shall move the meeting to the church (opposite)

Comments on heat pipe must be in by Friday 12 February

Vital Energi’s retrospective planning application for the energy pipe has been registered by the Planning Authority and is available on Oxford City Council’s website. Its reference number is 16/00101/FUL and related documents will be uploaded during the course of the day.

Comments from residents about the application can be sent to the City’s Planning Dept up until Friday 12 February.

You can see the application here

Vital Energi statement on the hospital pipeline project

Ashley Malin, Project Development Director, has sent us the following statement today.

Following our press statement of 6 January 2016, we want to provide an update to ensure everyone in the local community in Headington is kept informed of the current status of the Energy Link of the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust Project.

Vital Energi has taken the decision to apply for planning permission for the Energy Link works, following a detailed review of the letter received from the Local Planning Authority of Oxford City Council on 5 January 2016 and having engaged with the Trust, stakeholders and external planning consultants.  The application is being dealt with in the usual way through the City Council’s planning department and will include a period of public consultation in order for any comments or objections to be raised. The planning application will not affect the Section 50 Street Works licences approved by Oxfordshire County Council before the works took place.

We would like to reassure the local community of Headington that all planning permissions for the works taking place at the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals as well as detailed air quality assessments have been approved by the Local Planning Authority at Oxford City Council during the pre-construction stage. District heating is an emerging technology and has differing requirements from utilities and statutory undertakers which is not well understood in relation to these applications to Heat Networks; planning permission requirements are not always evident.

The Energy Link works will require road closures on 6 roads for a total overall period of 25 weeks. To minimise the impact to residents, the work is programmed to be carried out in small 120 metre sections, with each section of road being closed for a maximum of 4 weeks only. We understand that these works will cause disruption to the residents of Headington, which is why our project team have been and will be readily available to work with residents to reduce the impact on the local community.  

The Energy Link will play a fundamental role in the Hospital Energy Project as a whole providing significant carbon emission and financial savings which can be reinvested by the Trust.

The Hospital Energy project itself involves the removal of aged and inefficient equipment and infrastructure at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and replacing it with new low carbon, high efficiency equipment.  

The Energy Link will connect the John Radcliffe Hospital with the nearby Churchill Hospital providing low carbon heat, hot water and electricity to both Hospitals providing greater resilience to deliver both significant environmental and energy saving benefits, which are guaranteed over the course of the next 25 years

Guaranteed Annual Savings:

  • £2.3million energy savings every year for 25 years
  • Over 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions displaced each year for 25 years

The savings generated mean that future environmental compliances are achieved and the opportunity to invest in frontline clinical services for the 1 million patient contacts the Trust undertake each year.  

Vital Energi will continue to work closely with the Council, the Trust, stakeholders and residents during the period of the planning application and the public consultation. We will continue to keep local residents updated and informed.

Representatives of Vital Energi will be attending the next residents meeting on 18thJanuary to answer questions the residents may have.