Energy pipe – Christmas update

Work on the first phase of the energy pipe works is coming to an end. Trenches in Lime Walk, All Saints Road and Latimer Road are being backfilled and resurfaced, ready for a final clean on Friday. At today’s meeting with the County Council, Vital Energi and the Trust, we discussed the lining in the affected roads. It was agreed that double yellow lines would be painted before the start of the Christmas weekend – if this cannot be scheduled by the City Council, this will be done by Vital Energi as we don’t want any safety issues to come up from parking on corners and other hazardous spots. White lines for parking slots need to be checked to make sure locations tally exactly with traffic orders, so will be re-painted back in the New Year.

The second stage of works to the south side of London Road will resume on 3 January. Work on the north side of London Road is scheduled to start on January 16th. For the schedule of works, please go to the Trust’s website via this link.

Latest news on energy pipe works

There has been a change of plan regarding traffic management in Lime Walk up until Christmas. Three way traffic lights have now been ruled out for various reasons e.g. this would significantly increase the currently congested situation causing a bottleneck and as a result parking bays would need to be suspended in order to accommodate traffic waiting at a red light. We asked for assurances about the safety of pedestrians at that junction if another solution was found.

The preferred course of action by Vital Energi and the County Council now is for the traffic flow to continue as it is now, but with marshalls for pedestrian safety & manual traffic control.

Re enquiries about signage, the yellow diversion signs in the Stapleton/Bickerton Road areas are in place for drivers of vehicles unable to turn into Latimer Road from London Road who are following a diversion route. We realise that local residents don’t find these helpful but they are placed there to help visitors to the area.

Energy pipe works – latest news

Residents have raised a number of queries about the energy pipe works – all complaints have been understood and resolved. It is normal to have teething problems at the beginning of a major project.

Why did works start at 7am Tuesday morning?

A delivery on Monday morning at 8am had caused tailbacks. An unauthorised decision was taken to try and avoid this today by manoeuvring a delivery earlier in the morning so that traffic would not be affected so significantly. This has been reported and it has been made clear to all contractors that works shall not commence before 8am in future.

Why is there some fencing off of pavement, we were told pavement would not be affected?

The location of the pipe is very close to the kerb on All Saints Road. The HERAS fencing has now been moved to be as close to the kerb as possible, allowing for 2m of pavement for pedestrians

Why has the end date before Christmas been moved from 16th to 23rd December?

The Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) made it clear that there should be no work after 16th. However the County Streetworks Team is trying to make sure that the Vital Energi works dovetail with the Winvic works at Beech House. There is one section of Latimer Road where connections need to be made from Beech House to each of the storm and foul water drains. Winvic need to dig a trench under the pavement and Vital Energi will enable that trench to connect to the sewers under the road surface in conjunction with its own energy pipe trench. The Winvic work has to be done before Vital Energi can combine it into their trench work because the connecting pipes run downhill. The County Council wants this joint working to happen so that (a) that part of Latimer Road isn’t dug up twice and (b) to minimise disruption to residents.

So the 23rd December has been mooted as a contingency date in case the Winvic works aren’t done in time to meet Vital’s deadline. The County officers have been to site to ensure all kit for the Winvic work is ready to go asap, so we are hoping that all work by both teams will still make the deadline of the 16th.

This has been reflected in the new signage.

There was noise overnight from the generator in the temporary Sandfield Road car park 

This has been rectified and will not happen in future.


Parking during the energy pipe works


The County Council has put up parking suspension notices along the whole energy pipe route. This has worried residents who had previously been told they can continue to park as normal, except for when the energy pipe trench is being dug immediately outside their property.

We’ve queried this with the County Council. The reason they do this is that if works progress more quickly than planned, the construction company can move into a new section of road straightaway without further delay.

We’ve explained to the County Council that this is not appropriate for this particular project in interconnecting residential streets. They have agreed to
only display parking suspension notices in directly affected areas, and movethese along as works progress – but only if Vital Energi gave an assurance that 5 days clear notice will be given before a new section of trench is dug. Vital has been keen to make that assurance.

So an instruction has now been given by the County Council for many of these notices to come down again. I’m not sure when that will be but I hope it’s very very soon.

We are also checking with the City Council over recycling collections in areas that will be directly affected next week. We’re trying to ensure that this will
go without a hitch, but the City’s recycling teams have requested that people show extra consideration as bin lorries manoeuvre their way through the area.

Headington Ward councillors are writing/printing street letters to post through the letterboxes of those affected so that everyone knows what’s going on. Please get in touch with us if you have any other concerns about the project.

Breaking. Parking suspensions along the energy pipe route SUPERSEDED – SEE ABOVE

Residents have contacted us because they are concerned about the parking suspension notices that the County Council has put up along the whole of the energy pipe route.

It’s standard practice for the Council to blanket cover the whole area where works will take place. This is ensure that parking is suspended should the works on one section finish earlier than expected and gives the contractor the facility to get work done more quickly.

In this case, the project will continue for four and a half months, so blanket coverage of suspension signs is causing needless concern.

We have discussed this with the Civil Enforcement Manager at the County Council and have secured an undertaking that superfluous parking suspension notices will be removed until needed, provided that Vital Energi undertakes to give 5 clear working days notice before moving works from one section to another. The Vital Energi project manager is happy to give that assurance but we are waiting to get official confirmation before we send out emails and street letters to that effect.

Councillors will discuss parking suspensions in Lime Walk (which will become one way after Christmas) at a meeting with County Networks and Vital Energi tomorrow.

This post will be updated later today

Visitor permits link for those affected by energy pipe works

The link is now live on the County’s website for those people wishing to request visitors permits in advance of energy pipe work outside their houses. You can find it here

You will be prompted to choose which CPZ area you would prefer.

HE covers Central Headington from Lime Walk  – New High Street and all points east

HB covers Highfield – Latimer Road and Stapleton Road and all points west

HA covers the area north of London Road around the Sandfield Road area

Your application will go straight to the County Parking Team in Kidlington where a dedicated member of staff will be able to help you and fast track your visitor permits back to you. Information to this effect will be included in a leaflet posted through your letterbox two weeks ahead of the works.

We have made sure that the change of pipe route has been taken into account.

We expect details of timings of each phase of the works to be published next week – this has had to be revised following publication of the Access to Headington works phase 1 in Roosevelt Drive

Energy pipe given planning go ahead…with conditions

The East Area Planning Committee met tonight to discuss the energy pipe application 16/01565/FUL

It granted consent subject to 20 conditions, some of which were amended or added during the meeting*. There are also 6 informatives. Provisionally we noted these as follows (but are subject to change as minutes not yet available):


  1. Development begun within time limit.
  2. Develop in accordance with approved plans.
  3. Materials.
  4. Tree Protection Plan (TPP) 2.
  5. Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) 2.
  6. Monitoring and Supervision of Trees.
  7. De-compaction of RPAs.
  8. Noise mitigation measures.
  9. Temporary Car Park. *Extra lighting
  10. JR Compound.
  11. Churchill Compound.
  12. Welfare Compound.
  13. Visitor Permits.
  14. Construction Traffic Management Plan. *To be a living document with sign off by the Head of Planning and Regulatory Services in conjunction with the Chair of the East Area Planning Committee and the four ward councillors in the affected wards
  15. Hours of Work.
  16. Arch – Implementation of programme.
  17. Use of Pipework.
  18. Air Quality Measures.
  19. Communications* to include leaflet, web updates, disability provision, clear instruction on how to claim for damage arising from works, residents to be leafleted promptly if unexpected delays to works occur
  20. Charging point for electric vehicles* – check availability at hospital sites to ensure facility is available


  1. All works to be noticed in accordance with the NRSWA Act including applying for Section 50 licence….
  2. All works must comply with the code of practice for NRSWA, namely chapter 8 Signing and Guarding, and reinstatements
  3. Traffic management associated with the proposed work to be agreed …with County Council officers….
  4. Any Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders or Temporary Traffic Signals required must be duly applied for in a timely manner..
  5. City Council’s legal position re ownership of land affected*
  6. Additional maintenance work may require planning permission*


To include the willingness of the applicant to make available a community contribution

Before sign off of CTMP, clarification/action needed for:

  • road sweeper will be hired to clean roads as required  – required by whom?
  • highways condition survey must be done and recorded for the entire route prior to commencement

The draft minutes will be produced by Friday afternoon 9/9/16 and any 12 councillors may call in the decision for deliberation by a further planning committee Tuesday 13/9/16.

If unchallenged, the decision notice is likely to be sent out before the end of next week.

Technically, the County Council requires three weeks notice before works can start so works could theoretically begin as early as 10th October, however work will need to be done to satisfy certain conditions first. The start date for works will also need to fit around the Access to Headington works which are due to start at the Roosevelt Drive/Old Road junction the following week. No energy pipe work can be carried out in Churchill Drive till the Access to Headington works finish in Roosevelt Drive so the phasing of works will need to be revised.


Energy pipe latest

The situation currently is that the energy pipe works cannot proceed until
consent has been given by the County Council as local highways authority for
Vital Energi to break open the highway surface (this takes the form of street
licences) and planning consent has been granted by the City Council as the
planning authority.

A small but informed group of residents and councillors attended the County’s
Planning and Regulations Committee meeting yesterday, raised issues that still
need resolving, and fought for improvements to conditions. There was a proposal
to defer the decision until after planning consent was given and to allow time
for further discussion of other issues to take place but that was voted down
7-5. On the second vote along the lines of the officer recommendation (with one
slight change to one condition which is covered in the Construction Traffic
Management Plan already) councillors voted 9-0 to permit the licences with
several abstentions.

Following that meeting, the small but informed group re-assembled at the Town
Hall to ask questions of City Council officers and Vital Energi about legal
issues. Vital Energi gave a presentation in which for the first time slides
were presented showing workings for costs and energy efficiency that are not
included in the documentation submitted with the application on the planning
website, but explained they cannot display this more widely as it is
commercially sensitive.

The issue of whether to grant planning consent will be discussed by East Area
Planning Committee at the Town Hall on Wednesday 7th at 18:00 and is the first
item on the agenda. Members of the public speaking for or against need to fill
in a speaker’s form ahead of the start of the meeting. The Chair has discretion
to allow longer speaking time but it is likely not to exceed 10 minutes in
total for all speakers put together.

Any decision taken by East Area Planning Committee is subject to a call-in
period of 48 weekday hours following publication of the minutes. If the
decision is not called in, it will stand.

If the application is agreed subject to a long list of conditions and
informatives, works could start as early as three weeks after the decision
notice is sent out by the planning authority. (required lead-in time for the
County Council to publicise street works/TTROs)

However there is another external factor. We have been advised that Access to
Headington works will start in Roosevelt Drive mid October (date to be
confirmed) so the timing and sequence of energy pipe works may be affected by
this. The County Council is giving priority to its own project with regard to
road closures so there are lots of meetings going on to work out the logistics
of it all.

Timetable for determination of the energy pipe application

Residents have asked about speaking rights at the various meetings to be held w/b 5 September about the energy pipe application.

The County Council’s Planning and Regulatory meeting is at 14:00 on Monday 5th September at County Hall. There is a slot for petitions and public address, please contact the Clerk for more details.

The legal briefing for councillors in public will take place at 16:30 on Monday 5th September in the Long Room at the Town Hall. The agenda will be published ahead of the meeting but is not yet available – as above, please contact the Clerk if you have any enquiries about speaking rights.
The East Area Planning Committee meeting will be held in the Long Room at the Town Hall on Wednesday 7th September at 6pm and there is a long agenda in preparation.
The agenda will be displayed the week before the meeting and the Chair will allow speaking time to those for and against the application. It is likely that speaking time may be extended from 5 minutes in total to ten minutes in total at the Chair’s discretion. But that will be ten minutes shared by all those who wish to speak. For more details on speaking rights, please contact the Clerk listed on the web page.