30th August

11-year-old Jarrett puts his grandad's petitions online

THE success of one councillor's online petitions can be put down to his 11-year-old grandson.

Mick Haines used to take all of his petitions and campaigns around Marston exclusively by hand, but now repurposes them for the web – all thanks to his tech-savvy grandson who makes them all electronic.

Jarrett Haines, who is about to start Year 7 at the Marlborough School in Woodstock, has teamed up with his grandad to put his petitions online.

Together they have racked up thousands of supporters calling for more car parking spaces at the John Radcliffe Hospital (JR) in the form of a multi-storey car park.

Now they've started a bid to save their local Post Office from closing.

Despite being only 11-years-old, Jarrett says he learns all about the campaigns before making them digital for the councillor.

It's not the only thing he helps his grandad with though.

He's also made Mr Haines a YouTube channel and taught him how to use it.

Jarrett said: "I set them all up for him. He doesn't know what he's doing online.

"It is obviously a really good thing that he is doing these petitions and I told him it was good to get them online and get some support.

"I do computer stuff at school which is where I have learned things, but I find it fun."

As it is, 3,330 people have signed the online petition to get a multi-storey car park at the JR.

Mr Haines also took the petition around the houses in Marston and racked up just under 300 supporters.

The councillor said: "It is very very useful to get it online.

"The online petition is going really well and it can be put down to him. It just helps an awful lot getting it up there.

"He understands the petitions absolutely and he knows what they are for.

"He is fantastic. I'm really proud of him doing it all.

"He has a good brain on him actually and he is very bright for his age. I think he could go far in the computing world, or anything he wants to do for that matter.

"He is really proud and pleased that I'm doing it and wants to help where he can.

"He follows me on change.org and makes the checks to find out how many people have signed it and what is going on."

The duo have also recently set up another petition to save the post office inside the Marston Costcutter shop which closed in February.

Catch up on the closure of the post office here:

So far it has reached 22 supporters.

The petition says: "The Marston community needs a post office to use in our area for all the post office services.

"Also the post office has been going for many years and has been convenient for the community and it would be unfortunate if it was to be permanently closed."

The Post Office have said the closure is just temporary and that it will be open as soon as possible but Mr Haines said he can't risk it closing.

To find the petitions online go to change.org and search for Mick Haines.

10th June
Petition for multi-storey at JR success, but there's a catch

A CAMPAIGN to get a multi-storey car park at the John Radcliffe Hospital could be successful, but there’s a big catch.
Even if the car park does go ahead, it will not lead to an increase in parking spaces. This is in line with Oxford City Council’s guidelines of not increasing parking spaces in the area.
Oxford city councillor Alex Hollingsworth, who is responsible for planning and sustainable transport, said it was a ‘myth’ that the council had previously shrugged off ideas for a multi-storey.

Instead, he says, it has always been the case that the hospital cannot add any more bays. This means that should plans go-ahead for the car park, then the same number of spaces as there are at present, would be condensed into one car park – albeit over more floors.
There is believed to be 743 places available to the public.

An Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson confirmed the plans would be submitted by the end of the year.
However, city councillor Mick Haines – who started a campaign to get a multi-storey car park, said people were being ignored.
He said: “They are not listening to the people. We want more car parking spaces, not the same amount of spaces just in a multi-storey.
“I see it as just being awkward.”
In 2017, plans to build a multi-storey were scuppered due to planning guidelines which were put in place by the city council in an effort to reduce traffic in Headington.
Current rules set out by the council state there should be no overall increase in private car parking spaces in busy areas of the city, such as Headington.

In an effort to alleviate some of the parking pressure, OUH bosses have already implemented some measures like moving admin staff to Cowley to free up spaces and sending day patients to the Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

Mr Haines, who is an independent councillor, added: “A multi-storey car park should have happened a long time ago. But it doesn’t make sense to build one without any more spaces. The hospital can’t carry on building more and more without putting the infrastructure in.”
Earlier this year, work to expand the hospital's Accident and Emergency department began, with health chiefs making the move to keep pace with rapidly increasing patient numbers.
Mr Haines added: “I will keep going with the petition.
"As I see it, if they can’t have any more spaces then why is the building work being approved?”
Since the petition was posted online two weeks ago, it has racked up about 3,000 supporters – many of whom have left comments on the change.org website to vent their frustration with lengthy queues and daily gridlock at the hospital.
An initial paper petition, intended exclusively for people living near the hospital, was taken around homes by Mr Haines by hand. Within 24 hours, the paper petition gathered 100 signatures and has since snowballed into more than 800.
OUH confirmed it had no plans for more spaces.

29th May
Readers join call for a multi-storey car park at John Radcliffe

READERS have joined in the call for a multi-storey car park at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
On an Oxford Mail Instagram poll, 94 per cent of readers voted in favour of a multi-storey.
Meanwhile, on Facebook more than 100 people flooded our post with comments, explaining how parking and queuing to get in is 'ridiculous' and a 'nightmare'.
Read about the fresh bid to get a multi-storey at the site again
One reader said she almost gave birth in her car because the traffic was so bad.

Emma Louise Orpwood, who was stuck in a traffic jam, said: “While in full blown labour last week, we were queueing to even get into the hospital, let alone park! Me and my sister had to get out of the car and walk up to maternity otherwise I’d have given birth in the bloody car!”
She went on: “We just made it into MAU all in all the labour was 17 minutes!! It is ridiculous that we were having to queue to get into the hospital, I’m just glad we made it when we did.”
Sophia Howie added: “They definitely need to do something to sort this out. Parking is joke!”
Read more: Questions raised over parking hospital plans
A fresh call for a bigger car park at the hospital last week had racked up 600 signatures from frustrated drivers.
The call for more bays at the hospital was made by Mick Haines, an independent councillor for Marston.
He says that 750 people have now signed the bid, which is getting taken door to door.
However, despite the daily gridlock and the long-running calls for a car-park Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) said its hands were tied due to strict planning guidelines by Oxford City Council which limit the amount of spaces being increased at the site in an effort to reduce traffic in Headington.
It urges patients to ditch the car and hop on a bus instead.
Read another: Plans to solve parking problems delayed
OUH have made an effort to alleviate the parking pressures by moving admin staff to Cowley to free up spaces and installing ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) at the hospital. 

But readers still think more should be done, Christine French said: “This hospital is a nightmare. Multi-storey is only way to ease congestion. Should have had one years ago.”
Donna Kennery-Thompson added: “Trust me, it is more than 600 people that want this! And while you’re at it the Churchill needs one too!”
However, Anita Brady says: "We need less cars coming into Headington – not more!"  

1st May

City council votes to become carbon neutral before 2030

Environment activists at Oxford Town Hall on Monday evening ahead of the meeting

THE city council voted in favour of setting a target that the authority is carbon neutral before 2030.

The authority’s councillors voted to ‘call on the Government to provide the powers and resources to fully decarbonise the [council] in the shortest timeframe working towards the vision of zero carbon by 2030 at the latest’.

Opposition councillors said they worried Labour changes to a Green Party motion could ‘delay action’ being taken and stifle debate.

A proposal by the Greens’ Dick Wolff urged the authority to be carbon neutral within 11 years.

But Labour’s executive board member for safer, greener, environment, Tom Hayes, changed the wording of the proposed motion – and the move was backed by most of the council.

Mr Hayes said while ‘everyone should be alive to the speed’ that things need to change to prevent further climate change, the Government is ‘not committed’ to reducing emissions from the electricity grid.

Despite that, he said the council would work towards the 2030 target - but look to close in on it as soon as possible.  

Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Harris accused Labour of using their amendment as a ‘distraction’.

Last week, the council announced it will set up a Citizens Assembly, where a selected group of people in Oxford will debate climate change from September.

The city and county councils have said they will launch a Zero Emissions Zone for six city centre streets from next year, with other moves to enhance that set to follow later.

Green campaigners had filled the city council chamber's public gallery on Monday evening.

They cheered two Oxford schoolgirls, Izzy Lewis and Kamila Chamcham.

Along with two classmates, Lucy Gibbons and Rasha Alsouleman, they have prepared an online petition that has been signed by nearly 70,000 people.

It demands climate change is made a ‘core part’ of the national curriculum.

Izzy and Kamila told the council: “Oxford is an amazing city that has all sorts of opportunities and is a hub of culture and history.

“By cutting down emissions caused by school runs we can hopefully keep our city as beautiful as it is now. It will not only reduce pollution but also create an environment that is not dominated by traffic.”

Alex Hollingsworth, the city council’s executive board member for planning and transport, said important work has been done with the county council – despite some members being ‘dragged kicking and screaming’ to back it.

He said he has received a ‘torrent of communications, some of them not entirely friendly’ from Oxford residents opposed to any change.

Some of those, he said, have been supportive of building more car parks across the city rather than discouraging car use.

9th April

Petition for another car-park at the John Radcliffe Hospital

DATE: 09.01.2017..LOCATION: Oxford.CATCHLINE: Hospital parking nightmare.BOOKED BY: .LENGTH: Live.CAPTION: Parking at the John Radcliffe Hospital is increasingly an issue with all car parks on site displaying "FULL" signs, except the one for the

A PETITION for a multi-storey car-park at the John Radcliffe Hospital racked up nearly 100 signatures within hours.

The call for more car bays at the hospital was made by Mick Haines, the independent city councillor for Marston.

He put together the petition yesterday and by the afternoon had accumulated 74 residents signatures.

It comes after Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust approved plans for Automated Number Plate Recognition and signs around Headington that tell drivers how many spaces are left.

11th August

Post office in Oxford will reopen despite six months of silence

The Post Office inside Costcutter on the Old Marston Road in Oxford has closed..18/03/2019.Picture by Ed Nix.

A POST office which closed without warning is still not open six months on.

The closure of the Marston Post Office was only meant to be 'temporary' but the kiosk at the Costcutter remains shut and the office is listed as permanently closed on Google.

The booth on Old Marston Road closed in February – apparently for the final time – but did not warn locals about the plans to do so.

In March, the national delivery service reassured residents that the closure was not forever and that it would be back up and running soon.

But nearly half a year later there is still no signs that the office will reopen and the post office bosses say there is 'no update to give'.

Despite the lack of information, the spokesperson remained hopeful the branch would resume normal service 'as soon as possible' highlighting the important role it plays in the village.

A councillor for the area Mick Haines has previously described the post office as something of an unofficial community centre – explaining that residents use it to meet up, catch up and send post.

About 10 years ago he also rallied the community together to save the post office when it came under threat of closing indefinitely, vowing to take the plea all the way to the top Mr Haines handed the petition – signed by about 1,200 – into 10 Downing Street.

Read more about the petition here

The Post Office has now issued the same statement about the closure of the office for the second time, urging locals to send post at alternative branches on Westlands Drive – about a 15-minute walk away, and in the kiosk at the Co-op on London Road in Headington – about a 30-minute walk away.

In the statement they said: "We sincerely apologise to customers for any inconvenience by the temporary closure of Marston Road Post Office since February 19.

"We understand and appreciate how much communities rely on our services.

"We would like to reassure customers that the decision to suspend services at any of our branches is never taken lightly.

"We take very seriously any decision to temporarily close a branch and will only do so when it is warranted.

"We are working hard to restore services for the community as soon as possible.

The company refused to give any more information like why the branch was closed or whether residents should expect another six months without a post office.

In April residents wrote letters to the Post Office to say how important their local branch is.

The locals said they are writing the letters to make sure the decision to reopen the Marston Post Office is not changed.

Old Marston Post Office has not been listed as a place up for sale on the 'run a post office' website.

Other branches are available to run in the city.

A similar kiosk style one at Underhill Circus in Headington has been listed at the estimated fees of £500 to £800 per year.

The others are for sale in the 'OX1 area' - Kennington and Abingdon Road.

17th July
Delayed cycling project's cost now reaches £16.6m

ANOTHER £2m will be ploughed into a delayed road project which has wreaked havoc for residents.
The third and last stage of Access to Headington was meant to have finished in March – but the county council has said it should be completed in September.
The project’s cost will increase from £14.5m to £16.6m.
A city councillor slammed the plan, claiming no one in his ward supported the project to get people out of their cars and onto alternative modes of transport.
When the current phase was being planned in mid-2017, the council had hoped work would cost £12.5m – but that has spiralled.

Mick Haines, independent city councillor for Marston, said: “I haven’t spoken to one person who has said it’s a good idea and I have spoken to 1,070 of them getting signatures for a multi-storey car park [at the John Radcliffe Hospital].”
He added: “It’s a waste of money; it’s scandalous, terrible.

“People keep asking me when it’s going to finish and the only thing I have got (from the county council) is September.
“They are doing a bit and then leaving it.”
The authority had hoped the third phase would have started in January 2018, then April 2018.
It eventually got underway in May of that year.
Mr Haines, a persistent critic of the project, said it has backfired badly with critical roads in Headington and Marston more congested than they were before it started.
The scheme will eventually provide six kilometres of ‘sustainable transport improvements’ with the hope more people will walk, cycle or take the bus rather than drive.
Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet approved increasing its budget to £16.6m at a meeting on Tuesday.
It has been delayed for a number of reasons, including bad weather and the need to secure more money. Money to bring the budget to £14.5m eventually came from the Oxfordshire Growth Board last year.

In council papers, it is shown resurfacing has cost £60,000 more than first expected. Other work to ‘improve scope’ has also increased by £550,000 more than previously thought.
Work in Gipsy Lane and Old Road to boost pedestrians’ and cyclists’ accessibility has been completed.
READ MORE: New owners at The Evenlode in Eynsham, near the A40, plan revamp
Other work in The Slade, Churchill Drive and Old Road to build a segregated cycleway and upgrade a signal junction has also been done.
Residents were unhappy when trees in Cherwell Drive and Marsh Road were cut down to make way for new cycle lanes.
But the council said 24 trees felled will be replaced later.
Patients using hospitals around Headington were urged to leave at least two hours to allow them to park because of expected delays.
The authority said preparatory work should have reduced possible waiting times.

5th June
Petition to get a multi-storey car park at the JR now online

Councillor Mick Haines with the 500-signature petition he's going to present to the hospital management calling for a multi-storey car park to be built at the JR.Picture: Ric Mellis.17/5/2019.

THE petition to get a multi-storey car park at the John Radcliffe Hospital is now online.
At first, the petition – which was started by councillor Mick Haines – was taken around the nearby area by hand.
So far it has racked up 815 signatures.
Read the story here
Now, the same petition has been put on the web.
Within four days it has reached more than 900 signatures.

The current provision of parking spaces at the John Radcliffe Hospital are not fit for purpose, patients currently queue regularly in excess of one hour just to park, often missing appointments . This results in a direct cost of a missed appointments to the NHS. The long queues of stationary traffic adds to pollution and congestion not to mention the stress caused to patients and local residents.
More parking spaces built on the current parking footprint will free up roads and enable better access for patients, I am aware that Oxfordshire county council wish to promote the park and ride but when you are unwell you simply just want to get to your appointment or AE

21st May
600 people want a multi-storey car park at John Radcliffe Hospital

Councillor Mick Haines with the 500-signature petition he's going to present to the hospital management calling for a multi-storey car park to be built at the JRPicture: Ric Mellis

A FRESH call for a multi-storey car park at the John Radcliffe Hospital has racked up 600 signatures from frustrated residents and drivers.
The petition for more bays at the hospital was called for by Mick Haines, an independent councillor for Marston.
He started the bid at the beginning of April, taking it around to each house in the area, and within 24 hours had accumulated 100 signatures.
Read about the fresh call for a bigger car park here
Since then, residents have been voting overwhelmingly in favour of a bigger car park with the petition snowballing into 600 voices.

However, despite the daily gridlock and the dozens of formal complaints and long-running calls for a multi-storey, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) said its hands were tied due to planning guidelines which prevent the number of spaces being increased at the site.
Mr Haines said: "Something has got to be done. It needs a multi-storey car park. I shall carry on with this, I will keep going and will be persistent until there is a change.

"I've had a brilliant reception. About 10 residents were against the idea, but we are at 600 signatures now.
"A lot of residents have said it's lucky they can walk up there, but it's the people from outside of Oxford that struggle to get in.
"The thing is, the problem is getting worse year on year, it's not getting any better as time goes on."
Traffic in and around the hospital is in daily gridlock, and is being exacerbated by the Access to Headington roadworks scheme.
Read more: Questions raised over the John Radcliffe Hospital parking plans
Mr Haines explained that the council have suggested people should use public transport to get in, however that isn't always possible.
A spokesperson at OUH also encouraged patients to hop on a bus, and leave parking for 'those who really need it'.

One hospital visitor who asked to remain anonymous said he had grown infuriated with the parking problems while visiting his father in intensive care over the past month following an operation. 

The 31-year-old, who lives in Faringdon, said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous – I try to drive up there to visit my dad on my lunch breaks and after work and end up sat in a queue for the car park for half an hour.

“If I had to get public transport I just wouldn’t be able to make these quick visits every day, which we’ve been told help his recovery.
“The awful parking situation hasn’t stopped me from driving up there, just like it clearly hasn’t stopped hundreds of other drivers, it’s just made us all more irritated and frustrated while we’re going through a difficult time visiting our loved ones in hospital.”
It comes after years of patients hitting out over the parking problem at the hospital – which leads to wait of up to an hour most days to find a space.

Last year, a husband of one patient who was forced to walk to A&E because of the traffic, claimed the situation could result in death.
Read the story again here
In 2017 plans to build a multi-storey were scuppered due to planning guidelines which were put in place by Oxford City Council in an effort to reduce the traffic in Headington.
And current rules set out by the council state there should be no overall increase in private car parking spaces in busy areas like Headington.
In an effort to alleviate some of the parking pressures, OUH bosses have already implemented some measures like moving admin staff to Cowley to free up spaces and sending day patients to Horton General Hospital.

In March, the trust announced the installation of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) at the Headington hospital in an effort to combat the long-running parking issue.
According tot he plan, the new tech will provide quicker ways in and out as motorists will not have to wait for a ticket - improving traffic flow and showing patients where the spaces are.
A spokesperson at OUH added: “National and local planning guidelines meant that implementing extra parking spaces our hospitals is highly unlikely. With this in mind, we’re not likely to submit a planning application for additional spaces.”

 26th March

'The building will be finished' on old Jack Russell Pub site

 THE owner of the old Jack Russell pub plot has said work will continue on the building site.

The news comes after fears were raised by residents and councillor Mick Haines that the Marston site was left abandoned.

The Jack Russell pub on Salford Road was once a thriving local, with punters spilling out of its doors.

Neighbours have recalled times when they rallied to the inn for live music, open mic nights and ‘good times’.

Time was called on the fun in 2016 when the pub was closed and quickly became unused and a long-derelict eyesore.

Despite efforts from the residents to save the pub, the plans were given the green light by Oxford City Council.

Now, years later, residents have raised concerns that the rubble at the site will stay indefinitely after news broke that the contractors quit the job.

They said the site is making Marston look ‘ugly’.

But this week, one of the property owners has spoken out to promise that work will go on.

Liaqat Ali told the Oxford Mail yesterday: “If people and residents have any questions or queries that can ask me directly.

“I am always on the site, I’ve owned it for four years."

He wen on: "The building will be completed.

"I want to get it done as quickly as possible, and it will be done."

The Jack Russell Pub is one of five in Marston to have shut its doors forever over the past decade.

It joins the Friar on Old Marston Road which was demolished; The Bricklayers Arms on Church Lane, which was converted; The White Hart on Oxford Road, which was revamped into more flats and The Three Horseshoes on Oxford Road which was converted into a house.

Marston resident Chris Watkins said it was ‘gutting’ that so many pubs had closed.

He said: “We’ve lost this pub but it’s not the only one. If you look at the roads you can see how many pubs we have lost.

“I am just gutted this place is gone.We seem to be losing all the assets. I was a barman there for four years, it is where I met my wife."

He added: “I wrote a letter to the council in my disgust, I know they need housing, but where the duty of care?

"All these houses and everybody is living on top of each other with nowhere to go and nothing to do."


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