Parking in Woodlands Close during Southern Gas works

We were alerted to works coming up in the Woodlands Close area as follows:

Woodlands Close, Oxford, Oxfordshire
14 September — 30 October
Delays unlikely Some carriageway incursion
Works location:  The Whole Of Woodlands Close
Works description:  Relay Approximately 160 Metres Of 4″ Di With 75mm Pelp + Associated Services
Responsibility for works:  SGN
Current status:  Planned work about to start

Woodlands Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire
14 September — 30 October
Delays unlikely Traffic control (give & take)
Works location:  Jct Franklin Road To Jct Of Sandfield Road – C/W F/W Verge
Works description:  To Abandon 350m Of 4″/6″2″ Si And Replace With Similar Of 90/140/63 Plus Associated Services And Connections
Responsibility for works:  SGN
Current status:  Planned work about to start

We contacted County Streetworks who gave us the contact number for Southern Gas’s contractor. We asked about the implications for resident parking during the works and have received this reply:

We don’t anticipate to restrict parking on Woodlands Road but we may have some slight impact on Woodlands Close. We have applied for a number of parking dispensations for the residents which may be affected by our works and will be in full communication with these at all points during our works.

We have the contact number for the contractor so if anyone has concerns, please get in touch and we will resolve these directly with SPIE Distribution and Transmission.

Gridlock in Headington


There was traffic chaos in Headington this morning when Thames Water did not move off site by the time agreed with the County Council.

Permission had been given by the County Council’s street works supervisor for planned work to go ahead to install a new water supply to a flat above the shops in London Road (and install pipework for a second) so long as working time was between 7pm and 6am.

Thames Water arranged for a grab lorry to take away the spoil at 2am, but an emergency cropped up and the grab lorry was sent to another location instead.

The street works supervisor became aware of the problem when he started work at 5:45 and saw it on the cameras, and chased Thames Water. It was clear there were no Thames Water staff on site dealing with the problem, and it’s rumoured that traffic was backed up as far as the M40.

The County Council has made it clear to Thames Water that London Road must be clear by 6am (likely 4am) tomorrow morning otherwise a stop notice may be put on further work.

Apparently Thames Water is paid to put in new water supply connections by the developer.

Councillors will check this doesn’t re-occur tomorrow.

If anyone wishes to complain, we advise you to contact Thames Water Customer Services at

We are satisfied that the County Council had been given assurances that London Road would not be affected during the daytime. It appears that there was no second grab lorry available for Thames Water to clear the site.


Southern Gas Works in Franklin Road – inadequate notice given?

It appears that the notices which went out to residents in Franklin Road about impending utilities works went out later than they should have done. Some residents got home to find SGN contractors and equipment working outside their properties, but claim they had no prior notification.

We have chased this. Here is the response from SGN


I can confirm our letter to residents informing them of our gas works were sent out 25th April. Our letters explain that our works effecting residents are due commence on the 15th May 2017.

We are currently working at the junction of Headley Way and Franklin Road where we have just completed a gas connection as part of our works in Headley Way, unfortunately during this time a builder decided to operate a large crane blocking off half of the carriageway in Franklin Road adding to the disruption.

We have excavated 2 camera holes in Franklin Road as part of advance investigations but these will not affect gas supplies.

Prior to our works affecting customers in Franklin Road each resident will receive a visit and an explanation of what will happen and agreed date when supplies will need to be interrupted.

If you have any queries about this, please contact us as we now have the contact details of the project manager and can take action fairly quickly.

How to register for priority service in power cuts

Thanks to one of our residents for alerting us to Scottish and Southern Electricity’s Priority Service scheme.

The SSE website gives the following information:

Who is eligible to join our Priority Services Register?

You can join our Priority Services Register if you:

  • Are dependent on electricity for home medical care, for example a kidney dialysis machine or ventilator.
  • Have a chronic illness or short term medical condition; for example you are recovering from a major operation.
  • Are disabled.
  • Have special communication needs; for example because you are blind, partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Have children under 5.
  • Are over 60 years old.

We recognise some of our customers may need support in other ways during power cuts. If you have other needs and feel you will need extra help in the event of a power cut, please contact us to discuss. 

If you would like more information please go to




Old Headington power cuts – latest

We understand the frustration of residents in the Old Headington area who have experienced a series of power cuts over recent months. We are liaising with SSE and they are keeping us up to date with developments.

There was a further power cut of around 2 hours last night. The software that they had put in at the substation to monitor this did work – it detected fuses blowing and replaced them one by one but couldn’t completely prevent the power from going off.

This matter has been escalated within SSE, it has been brought to the attention of the Head of Network Sustainability and head of customer services for the area.

The problem is that the faults happen intermittently and are underground. In these sorts of cases, if water seeps into a nick in the plastic casing around the cables in one place, the fault may manifest itself some distance away at a joint. The software is trying to isolate the fault to a stretch of road between two specific location points – once the stretch of road is identified, SSE will dig it up.

Once the likely site of the fault is determined, the process would be that SSE schedules the digging up of the road and gives 7 days notice to residents. In cases of extreme urgency (permanent rather than intermittent fault), SSE could invoke emergency procedures and give only 48 hours notice, but this is unlikely in this case.

If you wish to talk  to SSE directly, the number to ring is 0800 980 1395 and the reference is 31598

One extra piece of information we learned: SSE does offer ‘suitcase’ packs to households to ensure power can be maintained while works are carried out and the main power is turned off, this may be useful for anyone needing power supply for medical equipment etc.

We are keeping the Friends of Old Headington informed

Underground electricity fault in Old Headington area

There has been a series of power cuts over the recent past from the substation next to the garage in London Road through a fairly large area comprising St Andrew’s Rd, St Andrew’s Lane, Laurel Farm Close, Osler Road, Old High Street (and we would assume) Larkins Lane.

The Customer Relations adviser at SSE says there is an intermittent underground fault which could be caused by a number of factors including subsidence, or a knock to the plastic casing of a cable or joint which has induced seepage of water.

When the fault occurs, a safety fuse blows in the substation and has to be replaced. SSE has put in some software to monitor this in the substation – it’s called a Kelvatek “bidoyng” and for those of you dying to know what that is, please click here (thanks to Alexandra for the link)

Apparently it detects a blown fuse, replaces it and also does a search of nearby lines to try and track exactly where the fault is happening. They have also carried out back feeding to try and identify the source. They have ruled out overloading though.

If we get any more details we will post them here. There is currently no guarantee that another power cut won’t happen again but it should be rectified much more quickly – SSE Community Officers have been out door knocking to give advice to their customers.


Energy pipe update

Here are the official notes from last week’s liaison meeting between Trust, Vital Energi, councillors and resident representatives.

Project manager ENERGY LINK UPDATE:

Lime Walk:

  • Going well and now around 6m from the Old Road junction.
  • Traffic ignoring the All Saints Road No Entry/One Way signs still a problem.
  • Could VE/Trust discuss the TMP for the work on Old Road/junction of Lime Walk as resident rep has serious concerns about everyone’s safety. VE/Councillors have a meeting on Tuesday 28 February with Highways and confirmed that this will be discussed.
  • Historic damage (by ‘moled’ gas work) to the main drain has been fixed by VE.
  • VE has also cleared silted drains where possible.
  • Thames Water will be in Lime Walk later this year to fix a leaking hydrant at the All Saints Road junction. This an historic problem and is nothing to do with VE.


Old Road:

  • A2H roadwork at Gipsy Lane has finished and, as their temporary lights have been lifted, VE will start Trial Holes on Old Road from Monday 27 February. The Trial Holes are being done to locate underground services and, therefore, establish the best route for the Energy Link.
  • There will be three-way lights (East/West on Old Road and Northbound out of Churchill Drive) for the trial hole work.
  • The work to cross Old Road will start on 8 March. At which point Churchill Drive will be closed and there will be two way (East/Westbound) lights on Old Road.
  • Traffic lights will be manned during peak hours (6am – 9am and 3pm – 6pm)
  • Work is 7 days a week and 7.30am – 7pm Monday – Friday; 8am – 4pm on Saturday and 9am – 2pm on Sunday. (TBC).
  • Work will start in the centre of the road and work back to Lime Walk with traffic passing on the hospital (westbound) lane. When this is complete, the work switches to the other carriageway and traffic is on the Lime Walk side of the road (eastbound carriageway) and from there, down Churchill Drive.
  • The welfare unit will be located by the Energy Centre off Churchill Drive.


Latimer Road:

  • Currently, three days delayed because of unknown services and a large concrete culvert. In addition, the gas supply lines to three houses is shallower than others in the road and so the gas pipes are touching the Energy Link. Southern Gas Network will take 28 days to come and do ‘Multiple Alterations’ (a loop on each house’s supply pipe). VE will therefore continue with the current work programme but leave these three areas enclosed in by 3.5m fencing so that they can be tarmacked after the gas board has done the remedial work.
  • The current work section is slightly longer than originally planned because, following discussion with residents, VE has extended the current trench in order to reduce the disruption to residents who live at the end of Latimer Road near the All Saints junction.
  • The reinstatement on Latimer Road and does not follow a dead-straight route as VE has also been fixing poor tarmac and blocked drains (this has been done in close conjunction with the City and County Highways teams).
  • VE was able to work outside 21-25 without causing any further disturbance to the badly degraded pavement, so this will not now be replaced.


Sandfield Road:

  • Three days late because of “moled” unmarked services, but might be able to make some of this time up in the next section (Beech Road – Woodlands Road).
  • Roz mentioned that a resident had been unhappy about the start date being delayed and signage, but generally positive comments about the work.
  • Project manager confirmed that the signage for the Manor Hospital/Beech Road has been put out on Headley Way and Woodlands Road. The Manor Hospital had confirmed that the new wording was a significant improvement.


London Road:

  • VE will be a week late onto London Road because they cannot start this section UNTIL the work on All Saints Road is complete (otherwise Latimer Road would sealed at both ends).
  • There will be manned two-way lights on London Road with no entry/exit to London Road from Latimer Road OR Sandfield Road. This is to avoid a four-way set of traffic lights.
  • The Bus Lane will be suspended between Pickwicks Guest House and the Red Mullions and all traffic (including buses) will be corralled into one lane for this stretch.
  • Work is currently planned: 3-28 April, 7 days a week and 7.30am – 7pm Monday – Friday; 8am – 4pm on Saturday and 9am-2pm on Sunday. (TBC). Work will carry on through the Easter weekend.
  • The welfare unit will be located in Sandfield Road in the 4-hour parking bays.



It was agreed that there was no need for further residents’ meeting as the work on residential roads is largely complete. Jo will email updates and any substantial changes.

Jo Lennon thanked Councillors and residents for their support at these meetings and in general over the last 14 months and closed the meeting.

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.

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.