Mick Haines, who won a a seat in Marston in the Oxford local elections 2021

8th May

Labour wins majority in Oxford City Council election

LABOUR maintained its overall control of Oxford City Council after the votes were counted on Saturday night.

A long day of vote counting, beginning at 10am and ending at 8pm, resulted in 34 seats on the council for the Labour Party.

The Lib Dems won nine seats and the Greens won three, gaining a seat on their numbers in the previous council. Two independents, Mick Haines in Marston and Saj Malik in Cowley Marsh, were also elected.

Susan Brown, who will return as leader of the council, said: “I am grateful to the people of Oxford who have shown their confidence in our Labour council.”

Ms Brown, a councillor for Churchill ward, added: “I think it is a credit to all the work of the councillors and the staff through this pandemic supporting people in Oxford. We are grateful to everyone who has looked after our city during this really difficult time.”

Labour’s number of seats remains the same as at the end of the previous council, giving it a strong majority.

However it had expected to win a seat in Donnington where Green candidate Lucy Pegg was elected.

Outgoing Green leader Craig Simmons, who did not stand for re-election, said the gain was a ‘reflection of what is happening nationally’.

Green councillors gained seats in other authorities across England, seemingly attracting leftwing voters deterred by the current national Labour party.

Meanwhile Sajjad Malik won a seat as an independent in Temple Cowley, having previously been a Labour councillor.

The all-out election was the first of its kind for Oxford since 2002.

A boundary change meant every seat on the authority was up for grabs this time, with some of the electoral wards even renamed as part of the change.

Usually only half of the seats on the council are up for re-election, but this time all 48 seats across the 24 electoral wards were presented in the poll.

Because of this, every voter was able to select two candidates on the ballot paper, with many opting to split their vote between two different political parties.

READ AGAIN about the election result as it happened

To deal with the split voting, the staff counting votes used a special technique for counting, sometimes known as the ‘grass skirt method’.

This involved lining up the ballots in rows of 25 on a large piece of graph paper, ticking off the number of votes each candidate received.

However, there was a suggestion that not everyone voting realised they had two choices, as many ballots only contained one crossed box.

One of the most hotly-contested wards was Marston, with all the parties fielding candidates, and the Conservatives focussing their efforts there.

Mick Haines, an independent councillor,was elected to the ward, and described how he had canvassed the area in a unique manner due to an injury.

Unable to walk long distances, his daughter drove him around in a car while he shouted slogans like ‘Stick with Mick’ from a megaphone.

Mary Clarkson, Labour’s candidate, won the other Marston seat.

Though the Tories saw gains across English councils, they did not win a seat in Oxford, with one election agent describing the challenge as similar to the Conservatives winning in the Labour stronghold of Liverpool.

Five recounts took place to verify the results for Quarry and Risinghurst.

In the end Roz Smith for the Lib Dems took the highest number of votes, with Labour’s Chewe Munkonge taking the second seat.

All of the councillors who took the second place seat in each ward are set to face elections again next year as the system of voting by halves returns after the boundary change.

April 2021 - Letters

1st October

Oxford risking covid lockdown as city nears 'red alert'

Oxford with coronavirus inset

OXFORD is edging towards 'red alert' and 'tough' local lockdown measures following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

UPDATE: Oxford cases keep rising after 'red alert' warning

That was the warning from Oxfordshire's director of public health Ansaf Azhar today as he revealed positive tests had doubled in a week, and he said the situation could 'deteriorate further very quickly'.

POLL: Do you think Oxford should be put into lockdown? 

It follows 30 cases at Oxford Brookes University, confirmed in an email to a city councillor last week as linked with partying students.

In the seven days to September 25, there were 67 Covid-19 cases in the city, with 11 new cases reported as of 9am.

According to figures from Public Health England, the figure was 33 a week prior.

Also read: Oxford University promises to protect city from Covid-19

Cases are across all parts of the city, with the majority among 18-24-year-olds and cases per 100,000 are now at their highest level in Oxford since May.

A previous spike at the end of August was also linked with young adults.

The latest figures give the city an infection rate of 43.9 per 100,000 of the population – putting Oxford on amber alert but edging closer to a red alert level which is triggered when the rate is more than 50.

Coronavirus cases by district. Picture: Oxfordshire County Council

Oxfordshire as a whole is currently on yellow alert, with cases at 18.1 per 100,000. In yesterday's update, a further 26 cases were confirmed.

Across the county to September 25, there were a total of 125 Covid-19 cases in Oxfordshire.

This is an increase from 92 new cases in the previous week.

Also read: Teacher makes EIGHTH covid-fighting blood donation

Mr Azhar said: “We have seen a considerable increase in cases in Oxford.

“While this mirrors what is happening nationally, we must remember that cases in Oxford have doubled over the past week and the situation can deteriorate further very quickly.

"If we don’t all take this very seriously, we risk seeing tough local restrictions imposed that none of us want."

He added: "We have recently seen many other parts of the country go into lockdown. This is something we all want to avoid.

"But if cases continue to rise at the rate they have been doing, then we may have no choice.

“My plea is a simple one – keep your distance, wash your hands, wear a mask, and ensure you are adhering to the rule of six.

“It’s up to all of us to bring the virus under control. The latest figures are a stark warning that we must act now.

"We need to slow the rate before it’s too late.”

Also read: 30 positive coronavirus cases at Oxford Brookes after parties

The return of students to the city has seen a recent spike in cases.

Thirty positive tests at Oxford Brookes University were traced back to partying students, which followed a leaked video showing a mass gathering at one campus.

An email sent to Headington councillor Mick Haines said: "As of 9am on September 23 there have been a total of 30 Covid-19 cases at Oxford Brookes over the last seven days.

"The majority of these cases have been traced back to social gatherings."

It followed a shocking video of students ignoring social distancing rules at a huge party outside one of Oxford Brookes' halls of residence.

A virtual meeting was held on Tuesday night, with university representatives, police and public health officials.

Also read: Urgent call for men to donate coronavirus-fighting blood

Moderated by Oxford City Council's deputy leader Ed Turner, residents were able to ask questions and raise safety concerns.

Professor Anne-Marie Kilday of Oxford Brookes said the university had now stopped large gatherings, and was clamping down on persistent rule breakers by using its own disciplinary measures

Oxford University, which is set to see students return on Sunday, also sought to reassure it has safety steps in place.

These include no face-to-face lectures, though small seminars and lab work will be done in person.

Students and staff will also have to wear masks for all indoor activities, and many of them have been provided with face coverings by the university.

In accommodation blocks, students are being broken up into households of eight, so the university can isolate them in small groups if they catch coronavirus, rather than having to put whole blocks on quarantine as seen elsewhere in the UK.

6th September

Marston councillor Mick Haines pens third novel looking back on his life - while raising money for cancer charity

OXFORD city councillor and author Mick Haines has released a new book, telling a fictionalised story of his time working the scaffolds.

The independent councillor for the Marston ward has penned the title ‘You put up with me, I’ll put up for you!’ looking back on his life.

The book is set between the 1960s and the the 1990s and some of the proceeds will go to charity.

The long-time resident and city councillor has already published two others works.

The first autobiographical novel he released was Up and Down the Greasy Pole.

He followed that memoir up in 2018 with a second book, The Merry Go Round of Life, which he had claimed was ‘naughty’ in places.

It followed two imagined Oxford men, Tony and Roy, and their wives and girlfriends.

Speaking of the latest work he said: "Its a fictional book, but it's based on my life, it's all about my scaffolding days through the years.

"It's a short book, only about 10 pages long, like a pamphlet.

"I'd been in lockdown and I thought I would bring out my experiences as a scaffolder.

"A few falls I have had [in the past], and I've been lucky as well."

The book costs £5 and every £3 will be donated to the charity Cancer Research UK.

He said he had already given £300 to the charity and had sold 19 of the books so far.

For a copy contact Mick Haines directly on 01865 421600.

Mick Haines - May 2021

1st May 2021

Elections 2021: Oxford's independent council candidates, TUSC, and anti-lockdown party

AS local elections approach, the Oxford Mail has been speaking to the different candidates vying for votes on May 6. Today, the independents and smaller political parties set out their stall.

In the city council elections, there are eight independent candidates.

One of them described being an independent as being able to 'speak for the people and residents and what they really want'.

ALSO READ: Man gets haircut during important Walton Street Barrier council meeting

There are also three Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates, one candidate for the For Britain Movement, and one candidate for the Freedom Alliance.


The eight independent candidates standing for election in the city council are Chaka Artwell (Barton and Sandhills ward), Alex Evangelou-Shingler (Churchill ward), David Henwood (Cowley ward), Hakeem Yousaf (Donnington ward), Mick Haines (Marston ward), Anthony Houghton (Osney and St Thomas ward), Saj Malik (Temple Cowley ward), and Judith Harley (Temple Cowley ward).

Chaka Artwell has produced a manifesto for both the city and county council elections, in which he is also standing.

In it, Mr Artwell criticises current council policy on £65 car parking passes, and the unaffordable nature of housing.and reads: 'Oxford City and County Council needs Politically Independent Councillors' and adds 'Anti-Car, Anti-Business, false-Green Policies hurt working people'.

Alex Evangelou-Shingler is a 24-year-old Oxford Brookes student.

She said: “My main ethos is to make South Park safe, there’s been fights and assaults there, and it’s a huge safety concern.

“I’m doing this as a single issue campaign and will stand down when that is resolved.”

She is also competing for the title of Miss England this year.

David Henwood was elected as a Labour councillor for Cowley in 2014, and is standing independently after resigning from the party.

He said his main issue was making sure that Cowley's new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods worked for everyone.

Mr Henwood said: "I have been an advocate of the LTN scheme. Clearly there have been many successes like Beauchamp Lane and Salegate Lane, which have been well received and improved the quality of life for people in this area, but I have to be the first person to hold my hands up and say there have been failings like on Littlemore Road."

Mick Haines, first elected to the city council in 2012, said he would continue to represent his residents needs in Marston if he wins again.

Mr Haines said: "Being independent, you don't have to follow the party line. You can speak up for the people and the residents and what they really want." He said his record included improvements to the Croft Road recreation ground and reviving the Marston Road post office.

April 2021 - Letters

Rubbish left abandoned in Marston, Oxford

Councillor Mick Haines

 5th September

Fly tippers leave four mattresses on Marston road

‘DIGUSTING’ mess left discarded in a garden has prompted fresh calls from the council to report fly tippers.

A resident who has lived in Marston ‘all of his life’ reported the dumped pile of mattresses on Taverner Place five times to Oxford City Council.

He said the area was ‘encouraging rats and mice’ and was making his views of the road a state.

Peter Stimpson said: “I’ve lived in Marston all my life and never seen much fly topping, recently it has increased, I look out of my bedroom and living room windows and what do I see…two fly tips in Taverner Place.

“These have been reported at least five times by me and a couple more of my neighbours – it’s been there a long time.

Read more: Love Oxford? prove it with new number plate

“This could encourage the vermin to Taverner Place, we’ve already had a fox a few times.

“This could also encourage rats and mice who make their nests in the rubbish.”

Marston councillor Mick Haines also said the area that fly tippers can cause havoc in the area.

He said he heard the fox had ripped rubbish bags across the road but is now also worried about the site being used as a home for rats.

He added: “I think it is just disgusting.

“Fly tipping really ruins the area. It’s just a mess.

Read more: man called 'money maker' caught speeding on A34

“There used to be a bit of fly tipping near the recreation ground but it just looks gross.

“If you want to get rid of a lot of rubbish – like four mattresses – then a skip would solve the problem but they are very dear.

“I think it should all be cleared up as soon as possible.”

Oxford City Council said it was ‘committed’ to clearing up dumped rubbish and called for residents to keep an eye out for the criminals.

It said: “Oxford City Council and ODS are committed to clearing fly tipping as soon as possible.

"We are aware of this report and the tip is scheduled to be cleared imminently.

"We enforce the law on fly tipping on public land but to do this we need evidence that will stand up in court, that identifies who carried out the flytipping or the owner of the waste that has been dumped.

"So that we can investigate further, we therefore also ask the public, where possible, to record the time and date of any incident as well as descriptions of any individuals and vehicles involved."

Fly tipping is a criminal offence and you can be prosecuted.

Courts have various powers if somebody is caught fly tipping and criminals are warned that they could be fined up to £50,000.

To report incidents go to the Report Flytipping Page on the council's website at Oxford.gov.uk

 March 2020

2nd November

Marston Post Office reopened after months of uncertainty


A POST Office that closed without any warning has finally reopened.

The kiosk inside the Costcutter on Old Marston Road swung open its shutters to customers again – with the same opening times as before.

The future of the branch was thrown into uncertainty when it mysteriously closed without any warning in February.

Since then councillors and members of the community have rallied together to stress its importance to bosses at the Post Office.

Despite the national delivery service insisting it was only a temporary closure, Mick Haines – an independent councillor for Marston – said he would take 'no risk' and set up a petition urging the Post Office not to change its mind.

In the end nearly 700 people signed the letter – which was put online and delivered around the area by him.

The post master and owner of the Costcutter Sivanesarajah Pakeerathan said it's been a frustrating nine months, but thanked the public for getting behind him.

He said: "People who come in are so pleased, and I'm really pleased too.

"I would like to thank everybody who's supported this.

"Before we didn't know anything about when it would reopen – for nine months, we didn't know what they [The Post Office] had planned.

"I have always believed it would re-open but it was stuck in between waiting for answers. It's just been frustrating waiting."

The branch has previously been described as something of an unofficial community centre for residents, particularly the elderly, to come together and socialise as well as conduct their day-to-day postal services.

Mr Pakeerathan added: "There are a lot of people coming in just to say hello. We're busy.

"Lots of people just come in to chat, especially older people just to speak about something they had on their mind they come in here to chat for a few minuets."

A spokesperson for the Post Office said: "We are sure the community will be delighted with the news that Post Office service being restored to this area and we understand and appreciate how much communities rely on our services."

Mr Haines said: "I am so pleased it is open again, it's been closed for so long and we really do need one here."


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