Mick Haines, front, collected more than 1,500 signatures against plan for new Tesco store on the Friar Pub site in Marston 


Third Tesco store for Oxford rejected

4:23pm Wednesday 22nd April 2009


RESIDENTS and shopkeepers have spoken of their relief after councillors voted unanimously to turn down plans for Oxford’s third Tesco store.

The supermarket giant wants to build an Express store on the site of the boarded-up Friar pub in Marston Road.

But planning officers were against the plan because they said the two-storey building would impose on neighbouring properties, add to traffic problems along the road and delivery lorries could damage low-lying trees.

Councillors at the north east area committee on Tuesday followed the recommendation and voted the scheme down.

Councillor David Rundle said the committee should also reject the scheme because councils should be seen to support local pubs and it was hoped the Friar pub, which shut in 2006, would eventually reopen.

After the meeting some of the 30 residents who attended spoke of their happiness at the decision.

Jo Bartlett, from William Street, said: “It’s great news.

“The place is a real accident blackspot so I’m glad it has been refused.

“And it would be good to think the site could reopen as a pub one day.”

Mick Clarke, from Lewell Avenue, added: “It probably would have meant the closure of the post office, and we’ve already lost enough of those around here.”

Croft Road resident and community campaigner Mick Haines, 68, organised a 1,500 name petition against the store amid fears it would undercut local traders and threaten the only post office in the area at the Costcutters store in Old Marston Road.

He handed it to councillors before making a short speech appealing for them to throw out the plans. He said: “We’re really pleased with the outcome. But Tesco could of course appeal, so we must be ready to fight again.”

Sivanesarajah Pakeerathan , manager of the Costcutter store, added: “Places like Tesco are silent killers.

“They creep into the community and before you know it they have driven all of the other businesses out of the area.”

But Jane Cox, added: “I wasn’t really that against Tesco.

“But the old Friar pub is a beautiful art deco building.

“It would be lovely to think it might possibly one day reopen as a pub.”

CONCERNED: From left, Mick Haines, Joanna Bartlett, Ann Newell, Lenique Wozniak and Farah Khan daughter Hana Khan, four


Headington subway protest hots up

1:42pm Thursday 26th March 2009


RESIDENTS concerned about plans to fill in a well-used subway are preparing to quiz council officials on Saturday.

Plans for Oxfordshire County Council’s next stage of the £3m London Road improvement scheme will be on show at Headington Baptist Church from 12pm.

The scheme includes plans to replace the Headington subway, which is adorned with hand-painted murals, with a pedestrian crossing.

However, a campaign to save the concrete underpass is under way after County Hall claimed it was largely under used and people awere dodging traffic to cross the road instead.

But residents who insist the subway must stay have hit back and labelled plans to fill it in a “ludicrous waste of money”.

Community campaigner Mick Haines has collected more than 1,800 names on a petition.

He said: “When they see how many people have signed, they will realise how much it means to the community.

“I have been down there most weekends, talking to people and getting names on the petition. Older people, people with buggies and those who aren’t able to walk very quickly don’t want to have to rush using a crossing.

“We all think it’s a ludicrous waste of money and don’t want the subway to go.”

Father-of-three Mike Ratcliffe, from Bickerton Road, added: “My children love the subway.

“It’s in the wrong place, you can’t deny that, but putting in a crossing would surely slow the traffic, exactly what the county council said it doesn’t want to do.”

County Hall said the London Road scheme, the first stage of which has already started, was designed to improve road safety and make bus journeys quicker and more reliable by giving them priority at traffic lights near the Co-op store.

The authority intends to revamp the main Headington shopping area and resurface pavements.

A council spokesman said: “The subway is well-used and provides a route under the road completely separate from the traffic. However, large numbers of people choose not to use the subway and instead cross the road nearby without the assistance of a crossing. The murals in the subway could be photographed and reproduced on a website.”

The first stage of work, between Pullens Lane and Osler Road, is still under way and due to be completed by May.

The next stage of the work, in Headington centre, is due to start early next year.

Plans go on show at Headington Baptist Church, Old High Street, tomorrow between noon and 8pm, and on Saturday between 10am and 3pm.


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