Thanks for your votes

I WOULD like to thank all the people who voted for me in this year’s Oxford City Council election.

I polled 671 votes as an Independent candidate for Marston and Old Marston.

I came second to the Labour Party, but in front of the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and the Green Party.

I will continue fighting for the people’s issues and what they want.

MICK HAINES, Croft Road, New Marston 6pm Sunday 16th May 2010

From left, Denis Colley, Mohamad Hussain, Mick Haines and John Swanton with the petition against plans for a Tesco Express on the site of the former Friar pub

Hundreds oppose Tesco plans

MORE than 570 people have voiced their opposition to Tesco’s plans to create a new store in Oxford.

Earlier this month, the supermarket giant submitted a planning application to demolish the former Friar pub in Marston and build a new two-storey shop.

A previous plan by Tesco to develop the site was thrown out by Oxford City Council’s north-east area committee in April 2009.

So far 574 people have signed a petition against the plan amid fears a Tesco store could put the local Costcutters – now the home of Marston’s post office – out of business.

Croft Road resident and community campaigner Mick Haines, who started the petition, said: “People are afraid of losing their post office and are saying the store will threaten the community shops around here. They seem to be covering everywhere in the city with Tesco’s and they’re a threat to local shops.

“People also think it will bring too many cars and there will be nowhere for them to park.”

Last month, Tesco announced it plans to open a store in St Aldate’s, at the former Solus Lighting Shop.

Two months earlier, the supermarket chain opened a new Tesco Express in the West Way Shopping Centre in Botley.

The supermarket also owns the derelict Fox and Hounds pub in Abingdon Road.

Marston resident Anthony Baker said: “My only concern would be for the post office. I use the post office there and if it were to close I would have to go all the way to Headington to send post.”

Tesco says the new store could create up to 25 jobs.

Tesco spokesman Melanie Chiswell said: “We know our stores bring more shoppers to an area and the post office may have new customers coming through their doors.

“The post office offers a unique service and it’s in their and our interest that they remain a thriving business.

“For a Tesco Express store, about 70 to 80 per cent of custom comes from people who walk in from 500 metres up to 1km, so they don’t generate a significant amount of extra traffic.”

Oxford Civic Society has submitted comments on the planning application, calling for the pub to be turned into much-needed housing instead.

Chairman Tony Joyce said: “If this was going to go in an area with no convenience stores and no traffic problems, people would be pleased to see it, but I don’t think that is the case.

“If a pub there isn’t viable then the most crying need in the city is for housing.”

Residents have until next Friday to submit their comments to the city council about the scheme.




Tuesday 15th June 2010 

Marston Issues (Michael Haines)

a. Croft Road recreation ground lights

Noted that this remained to be resolved by the County Council.

b. Marston Road Bus Shelters

Scheduled to be prioritised as part of County Council’s work programme.

c. Seat for bus shelter on Jack Straws Lane

Dave Walker to investigate.

d. Flooding on Marsh Lane crossover

Mary Clarkson and County Councillors to progress with the County Council.

e. Headington subway

Noted thanks to all who had supported the petition against the closure.

 Mick Haines sees his protest end as workers spray concrete into the walkway

Battle to save subway is over

CAMPAIGNERS voiced their disappointment last night after workmen began filling in an Oxford subway – 40 years after it was built.

Oxfordshire County Council started blocking off the Headington underpass on Monday as part of a £2m traffic scheme, designed to speed up journey times in London Road and spruce up the Headington shopping precinct.

The work kills off any hopes campaigners had of saving the underpass, which opened in 1970 and is decorated with murals of local shops and landmarks like the Headington shark.

The council is spending £45,000 to fill in the subway with concrete.

It will be replaced by a pelican crossing. A temporary crossing has already been installed near Kennett Road.

Campaigner Mick Haines who collected 5,447 signatures from people opposed to the scheme, said the decision to do away with the subway was undemocratic.

He said: “It’s a very bad day for Headington that this landmark has started to be filled in.

“It’s absolutely disgusting to spend £45,000 on this when there’s much better things that can be done with the money – like filling in potholes.”

Mr Haines, from Croft Road in Marston, added: “The new crossing will not be as safe as a subway.

“Progress is good but not at the price of safety.”

Second World War veteran Glyn Hughes, from Oxford Road, Old Marston, said he used the subway whenever he shopped in Headington.

The 84-year-old, who injured his knee when a ship he was travelling on was torpedoed in the North Sea in 1944, said: “I’m quite disturbed about it.

“It is a very dangerous road, and for people with trouble walking, the crossing lights can go out when you’re in the middle of the road.”

Council records show there have been 40 road accidents involving pedestrians crossing London Road over the past five years.

But the local authority said the crossing would make the road safer as many people chose not to use the subway.

The scheme will see a wider pavement installed in Headington as well as 19 benches and 16 bins.

To preserve the memory of the subway murals, the council has taken photographs and plans to publish them on-line.

Maureen Green, from Headington, who helped paint a scene from local author CS Lewis’s book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe in the underpass, said: “It’s sad that the paintings of local children will be covered up.

“I’ll be happier when the murals are on the Internet.”

The council denied that filling in the subway was undemocratic.

A council-run consultation showed 58 per cent of 419 people surveyed were happy for the removal of the subway.

Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The temporary crossing is operating safely, replacing a dark subway that many people told us they were happy to see removed.

“Pictures of the murals will be displayed in due course.”



Council must not ignore us

I WAS very interested to read in the Oxford Mail (June 21), that campaigners will now have to collect almost 16,000 names on a petition before county councillors debate their demands.

Surely this goes against democracy in this country?

My petition of 5,447 signatures to save the Headington subway was ignored, as the council had already taken the decision to close it.

Also, I was told that there were no plans now, nor in the future, for a bus lane there.

The feedback which was received from the county council’s consultation stated that 58 per cent wanted to get rid of the underpass, 27 per cent wanted to keep it, and 15 per cent were not sure.

The 58 per cent was based on 419 feedbacks, which came to a total of only 243 people.

Compare this to the 5,447 names on my petition – which was ignored and fell on deaf ears.

It seems that Keith Mitchell and his associates have a habit of ignoring democracy.

MICK HAINES, Croft Road, New Marston, Oxford






Mick Haines at Croft Road park, Marston 

Monday, 13 September 2010

Campaign for lights in park goes to PM

MORE than 1,000 signatures calling for lights to be installed at an Oxford park are to go to the Prime Minister.

 Mick Haines at Croft Road Park, Marston

Campaigners have been fighting to get lights installed at the Croft Road Park, in Marston, for more than three years so children can play when the winter nights close in.

Campaigner Mick Haines, who lives in the street, claims the park is a no-go area when the sun goes down.

Since 2007 he has been busy collecting signatures to make Oxfordshire County Council install lights – and will take the 1,130 names to Downing Street.

Mr Haines, a retired scaffolder, said: “We’ve been on about these lights for years and every time the county council says ‘yes we’re considering it’.

“Well we need them now.”

The 69-year-old will also send Prime Minister David Cameron pictures of the park at night.

He said: “The pictures were taken at 5.45pm and are of me with a torch to my face to show just how dark it can get.”

The park includes a marked area for sports including roller hockey, basketball and football.

Mr Haines said: “They talk about getting children active and encouraging them to do more sports and keep fit and this is the perfect opportunity.

“Why is it taking so long?”

Mr Haines will head to Number 10 Downing Street with his petition on Thursday, September 23.

Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “All capital schemes are currently under review but this scheme is still being developed and includes lights in Croft Recreation Ground.”

He would not give a date for installation of the lights to be given the go-ahead.


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