Mick Haines, front, displays the petition with, from left, fellow anti-traffic scheme protesters Jo Bartlett, John Wilson, Nick Fell and Dennis O’Regan


Mixed reaction to Headington traffic scheme

PEOPLE had mixed reactions to a controversial £2m scheme to combat traffic congestion in Headington.

Oxfordshire County Council expects to spend seven months installing a new busgate in London Road to speed-up journey times for bus passengers and motorists entering and leaving Oxford.

Some residents at the public exhibition said the plans, which also include sprucing-up Headington shopping precinct, could offer a fresh start to the area.

However, campaigners have again voiced opposition to the council’s plan to spend £45,000 filling in Headington subway and replacing it with a pedestrian crossing.

Derrick Holt, 85, of Fortnam Close, Headington, raised concerns replacing the subway with two crossings could slow the journey times of traffic through the area He said: “The subway was put there to help people cross the road safely and that purpose still remains.

“If priority is given to people walking on the road, it could hold up traffic seriously and be counter-productive.”

John Wilson, 76, of York Road, who uses the subway daily, added: “The subway is well used. It’s diabolical it should be filled in at my expense.”

Community leader Mick Haines has collected 5,347 signatures against the closure of the landmark, which features murals of Headington.

He said: “I can’t believe they’re going against the will of so many people – it’s anti-democratic.”

The council will also lay stone-chipped asphalt on the road surface, similar to recent work in Summertown.

The work, which starts on April 26, will also see a wider pavement put in and 19 new benches and 16 bins.

David Fisher, 37, a freelance photographer who works in London Road, said: “It could help Headington turn over a new leaf.

“I was driving through Summertown last week and it is really nicely done.

“Hopefully it will encourage a wider range of shops to set up here at the moment as there are a lot of charity shops and estate agents.”

Robert Grimley, 66, of Old High Street, said: “A subway isn’t a particularly attractive environment.

“We want to encourage people coming to the local businesses by making it easier for them to cross the road.”

Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “As part of the council’s consultation with local people, 58 per cent of 419 people were in favour of removing the subway.

“The replacement high-quality pelican crossing will provide everybody with a safe way of getting over the road as many people choose not to use the subway currently.

“Traffic flow will be closely monitored following completion of the work. However, it is not anticipated the crossings will have a significant affect on bus journey times.”



Fight plans to get rid of our subway

THE HEADINGTON subway has kept people safe for 40 years and is a secure way for people to cross the road without accidents.

The subway was designed to prevent people being hurt.

When we mention to disabled people that the subway is due to be replaced with a light-controlled crossing, they say they would prefer to keep the subway, and would not shop in Headington if it went.

One partially-sighted person runs successful business nearby and relies on it daily.

A traffic island would not be able to cope with the large numbers of people crossing the road in one go, as the subway can.

At Christmas, a party of 150 schoolchildren went safely through the subway. Parents and children love to use it and adults are secure in the knowledge that their children are safe.

How can this guaranteed safety be taken away – bearing in mind the heavy traffic and the speed of emergency service vehicles heading down London Road.

The majority of local businesses and charity shops have signed my petition to keep the subway open – which totals 4,258.

How can any amount of tax payers’ money be justified in filling in the subway at a time of severe cutbacks and recession?

MICK HAINES Croft Road New Marston Oxford

 CITY ELECTIONS: Mick ploughs a lone furrow

CITY ELECTIONS: Mick ploughs a lone furrow

RINGING on doorbells and knocking on doors has become part and parcel of daily life for Mick Haines over the past month.

The independent city council candidate has been calling on 100 houses a day, six days a week.

Mr Haines is standing for election in Marston for the fifth time, but he said a distrust and dislike of politicians in general had made election campaigning more difficult.

The Oxford Mail joined him as he knocked on doors in the ward yesterday, and although the 69-year-old retired scaffolder said he was yet to have a door properly slammed in his face, he said: “You can get a couple of aggressive ones. They say they’re fed up with politicians and they’re not voting.”

Mr Haines has been on the campaign trail for more than four weeks and has spent nearly £400 of his savings on leaflets and posters.

He has had leaflets eaten by dogs and even had to speak to one voter through a cat flap.

He said: “I put the leaflets through the door and then I go round and ask them what they think of it.

“It’s important to hear their opinions and show that you’re not afraid to meet them face-to-face.

“But a vote is a very personal thing. It’s rude to ask people if they will vote for me.”

Mr Haines was sporting the St George’s flag on a badge, his pen and two rings yesterday.

He said he wants what the people want, even if it means missing out on the support of a party.

He said: “Once you’re in a party you have to follow a party line. In other words, you can’t say what you want to say.”

He has lived in Marston for 27 years and calls his community the “forgotten area of the city”.

Ron Cooper, 79, of Nicholas Avenue, said he would be voting for community activist Mr Haines, who has previously campaigned against the erection of mobile phone masts near schools.

He said: “He’s the only chap who gets anything done for us.”

Adam Woodley, 29, Nicholas Avenue, said he would also vote for Mr Haines. He said: “Politicians are all as bad as each other. The only way to go is with an independent who knows the area.

“They’re out for themselves, rather than the people they represent.”

Postman Mick Eggbeer was delivering election leaflets. He said: “Most people just bin them. Let’s face it, you can’t trust any of them any more.”

Marston shop owner Anthony Baker told Mr Haines: “I don’t know why you do what you do.

“It’s a lot of hard work, you have to fund it yourself, and it gets no rewards.”

Mr Haines is competing against four other candidates, including Lord Mayor Mary Clarkson.

He said: “If I lose, I will still be out there fighting. I will never be a spent force.”


 Mick Heavey, Old Marston says...

Old Marston - on May 6th

For election an honest politician would be worth their weight in gold
no matter whether it be man or woman if the truth be told.

But whichever, an independent would be the honest choice
to avoid the lies & deception spouted from many a dishonest voice

We don't want loads of promises with no facts to back them up
We've had our fill of those - we've drunk from that overflowing cup

far too often. So were looking for an honest face, & voice to match,
who tells it like it is, so we've no need to ask ''what's the catch?''

He or she must tell us how bad things really are
& what the major plan is to ensure that we get that far -

perhaps legal action against politicians who've left us we know not where.
Eject them out of office for ignoring their 'duty of care'

to us the lowly tax payer who gets stung at every turn
supporting their public lifestyle while we struggle to just earn

enough to pay the mortgage & have enough to eat.
To be able to clothe our families & put shoes upon their feet

He or she must get rid of old laws that cost money to regulate
& have no practical benefit before it is too late.

So, get yourself behind Mick Haines - that really 'busy bee'.
Then you'll see him crush the opposition - just you wait & see !!!

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