Potholes fixed quickly but not the track lights

It is remarkable, given the time sequence, that this has been done so quickly and the fact that people are cycling through towards the Recreation Ground, where we are still waiting for the lights to illuminate the cycle track in Croft Road Rec’.

Cllr MICK HAINES, Croft Road, New Marston

A case of moving the goalposts

What surprised me was that they had to bring their own portable goal posts with them – we only have one goal post on this field.

We did have two, but, unfortunately, the other one was taken out by the councillor in charge at the time. The excuse she made was that it was being taken away to be cleaned.

The goal post has never been replaced. I have repeatedly asked for another one but, to my dismay, it hasn’t happened.

I noticed by a photograph (January 13) that the Labour Party used to have a football team playing there. I am very pleased that they used the ground with both goal-posts available.

I’m sure if we had the other goal post replaced, then youngsters who wanted to play football on the field could do so – especially as it’s quoted by a certain Labour councillor that doing sports is important.

Croft Road
New Marston

Marston memorial will not move, Tesco promises residents

A spokesman for the Royal British Legion said: “The Legion is pleased to hear the memorial will remain in place. War memorials and graves honour the memory of the British Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice and those who defend the freedom we enjoy.”

 City councillor Mick Haines with local residents at the memorial bench

 Councillors’ duty is to make sure our area is not spoiled by Tesco

I was surprised to read the remarks made by Councillor Altaf-Khan over his concerns regarding the impact a Tesco’s Express will have on the other small shops. What a pity he and his ilk didn’t shout loud enough at the time of objections to the planning consent at the meetings at the Town Hall.

Councillor Mick Haines, who at the time was unelected, fought a tremendous battle to try to stop Tesco.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said that their new shop will bring more footfall to the area (where from remains to be seen) and would benefit the other shops and give more choice to residents.

That may be so, but if people are using Tesco then the other shops will be losing trade and if, say, Costcutters were unable to survive, then we would lose the much-used post office.

The spokeswoman goes on to say that they will be relocating the memorial plaque which is there to honour the 27 men from Marston who were killed in the Second World War, as part of the work to the new store.

Mick Haines, front, and other campaigners outside the former Friar pub after an earlier Tesco application to convert the building had been turned down

Cycle signs needed at Headington subways

I read with interest about the signs that have been installed in Parry Close, Marston (September 20), which Councillor Mick Haines among others campaigned for, to stop cyclists riding on the footpath and causing potential accidents with pedestrians who use this route on a regular basis.

I applaud Councillor Haines’ successful campaign and I understand from him that they are legal signs, which cyclists are expected to obey.

However, if these signs can be installed in Parry Close, why can’t Oxfordshire County Council do the same at the entrances to the Headington roundabout subways which I have for a long time been campaigning for prohibitory signs to be put there.

Currently there are blue advisory signs asking cyclists to dismount, which very few actually respond to and some race through without care, causing a hazard to pedestrians.

Given the small confined space in the subways, I feel that an accident is much more likely to occur than if a cyclist rode carelessly above ground.

So I am hoping now that Oxfordshire County Council will see sense and finally put legal signs there which will allow the police to address the problem, which they currently have no control of.

STUART COOPER Watermill Way Headington Oxford

 Tesco to begin conversion of old Friar pub in February

“Number one is that there is a memorial bench and plaque on the side of the road where they want to put a small car park.

“My other concern is the impact on the post office in Costcutter. I went to Downing Street to save that post office in 2006 with 1,200-odd signatures.

“If they get rid of Costcutter I think the post office will go with it.”

“We have got enough food shops as it is without another one coming along.”

The £1,500 memorial bench was put on the green space in March 2013 to honour the 27 men from the parish who were killed during the Second World War.

The £500 plaque was put up in October 2012. Money for both the bench and the plaque came from Mr Haines’s city council community grant fund. 

Tesco has had planning permission to convert the former pub into an Express store since 2011.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “We’re pleased to be bringing forward our plans for our Express store and hope to start on site in February with a view to opening in the summer. Our new store will provide 20 jobs for local people.

“We look forward to serving the local community when we open.”

She said that in the company’s experience Express stores brought more footfall to the area, which would benefit other stores and give more choice to residents.

The spokeswoman added: “We will be relocating the plaque as part of the work to our new store. If the local community has any ideas on where they would like to see it we would be happy to hear from them.”

 Peacocks in Headington is closing

Another shop is lost to a supermarket giant

It is now closing and being pushed out by yet another multi-national supermarket.

Is this the way forward? If so, where is it all going to end?

Croft Road

 A number of concerns over supermarket plans

Feeling let down by Barton West meeting

THE East Oxford Area Planning Committee meeting (September 24) regarding outline planning permission for the Barton build was a sham.

Murray Hancock (Oxford city officer) informed councillors that the meeting was too short notice for Thames Water to attend. They were not coming and were confident of a satisfactory solution.

In fact, Thames Water has failed to provide any evidence of its sewage disposal provision suggested operating successfully anywhere.

About 2,500 people are expected to reside on the development, despite councillors Mick Haines (Marston Independent), David Williams (Green), Michael Gotch (Lib Dem), Ruth Wilkinson (Lib Dem) and Mary Clarkson (Lab) raising concerns including investigating ground contamination before granting permission.

Thames Water, a private company, apparently isn’t due to investigate until 2020. Convenient, as the build is due from 2015 until 2019. Colin Cook announced: “People who move into new developments buy more cars.” Obvious, because people have to squeeze more bodies into properties to be able to reside in Oxford – hence the appearance of more cars.

Simple. Outline planning permission was swiftly granted, ignoring councillors. David Williams abstained regarding unsatisfactory assurances.

How can councillors’ votes be legally binding as the meeting no detailed minutes were scribed, and requests to film or record the meeting were rejected.

This is not democracy, it appears to me. Councillors cannot be held responsible for the glaring gaps in infrastructure provsion. Councillors must be free from mob-rule politics to ensure the public’s health and well-being. ELAINE BENNETT

Marston Road


Safety signs for cyclists go up on 'dangerous' track

 Mick Haines with the signs in Parry Close

NEW signs telling cyclists to get off their bikes on a hazardous footpath have gone up after a long campaign.

The signs have been put up in Parry Close, Marston, after a series of incidents where pedestrians have been struck by bikes or cyclists coming out of the lane have almost collided with cars.

Oxford city councillor for Marston Mick Haines said he was “over the moon” over the installation of permanent signs – erected after temporary ones were ripped down.

Mr Haines said: “I am really pleased that something has been done and it’s long overdue.”

The path has long been a source of contention for residents and on July 19 the Oxford Mail reported how councillors had suggested introducing more bollards to tackle the problem. But that idea was rejected at a meeting between councillors and Steve Axtell, senior traffic technician from Oxfordshire County Council, and Oliver Hearn, from Oxford City Council highways and engineering.

It was feared that people in wheelchairs or with pushchairs would not be able to get through if there were more bollards. Temporary signs were installed but they were then vandalised and pulled down.

Councillor for Marston Mary Clarkson said: “I’m very glad that the signage has gone up. “It’s good to get permanent signs that look official and hopefully that will help to get the message through.”

Ms Clarkson, a regular cyclist, said: “Cyclists have to realise that it’s not their track.”

The narrow track has been criticised by residents as dangerous. And they feared the problem would get worse after the £157,000 cycle path linking Marston with the city centre was completed.

Mr Haines said that a year ago a man from Hugh Allen Crescent, which runs next to the path, was hit by a cyclist and needed 15 stitches in his arm.

John Maguire, 55, said the situation was “crazy” and his neighbour had almost run over two cyclists because he could not see them.

He welcomed the new signs and said: “My neighbour Liz did a survey for an hour in the morning and 114 people cycled down the path.

“There are no excuses for people now and the new signs look more official.”

But Mr Maguire said the sign at the Purcell Road end of the footpath may be too high for cyclists to see, at about 7ft.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said a new bollard at the Parry Close end and a sign at the Purcell Road end had been installed after requests from the community, at a cost of about £550.


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