31st August

Speedway will return to Oxford Stadium - readers have their say

Oxford Mail readers have been reacting to the news that speedway is expecting to return to Oxford Stadium next year.

Oxford Cheetahs will be returning home to the stadium in Sandy Lane after a gap of 14 seasons.

Stadium leaseholder Kevin Boothby’s first objective is to get the greyhound operation at the stadium up and running.

But stadium manager David Lestrade has revealed that it is also planned that speedway will return in 2022.

Mr Lestrade said: “I’m confident that Oxford Cheetahs will be back. Of course, something unforeseen could happen, but it’s definitely in the pipeline to have speedway back.

“The first thing we need to do is get the greyhounds open, because of the financial turnover that brings and that should be back by this December.

“But the plan is then to have everything open at the stadium to the public, all the facilities and so on, in time for the start of next year’s speedway season, with the first meeting around March or April.”

Oxford is aiming to operate in league speedway and there have already been discussions with British Speedway Promoters Ltd.

Speedway will be run in-house, with a promoter employed by the club.

Mr Lestrade was one of the campaigners to reopen the stadium and he was Mr Boothby’s first appointment after he took charge at Oxford.

He added: “I’m a lifelong Oxford Cheetahs fan.

“I grew up living opposite to the stadium in Sandy Lane.

“Everyone has their driving motivation in wanting to see the stadium open again.

“The speedway at Oxford closed before either of my kids were born, so neither have seen Oxford Cheetahs racing at home.”

Some readers said they were very keen to see speedway return and could not wait to see it back at Oxford Stadium.

But others were more cautious and suggested that speedway would never return to its glory days.

One of the first to welcome the return of speedway was independent Oxford city councillor Mick Haines, who represents the Marston ward.

MICK HAINES: “Yes brilliant news that speedway is coming back, I used to love Thursday nights.”

ALAN TILT: “About time as well bring back Sunday Market.”

LYSSA WILLIAMSON: “I hope so I loved it.”

JORDAN TANNER: “Would be great but unfortunately it’s a dying sport, not sure it’s a worthwhile venture.”

BENJAMIN CHAPMAN: “Jordan Tanner its definitely not a dying sport.”

JORDAN TANNER: “Benjamin Chapman it’s past it, fewer teams, large tracks gone, attendance at league meetings rock bottom, it’s never going back to its heyday.”

ROBERT WEYMAN: “Jordan - I think you’re deluded it’s certainly not a dying sport.

“A friend of mine is a sports journalist specialising in speedway its resurgence is spreading.”

JORDAN TANNER: “Robert Weyman the only deluded people on here are those that believe speedway can make a viable comeback.

“ I followed speedway for many years at Oxford and all over and it’s not making a comeback it’s dying on its feet.”

DANNY BOURTON: “I can’t wait - I used to go all the time as a kid.

“I can’t wait to take my kids to get pelted with stones as we did as kids.”

JOHN HOWLEY: “Happy days.”

STEPHEN STOCKS: “Happy days.”

DAVINA JANE: “Great news.”

JASON CURRILL: “Brilliant news - love it.”

CHRIS HODGINS: “Great news.”

JOHN RUDMAN: “Yes definitely.”

MARC WINSTON: “Yes, excellent news.”


WENDY SILVESTER: “Keith Tyrrell we need to go to this.”

AMANDA MOORE: “Brilliant news.”

HARRY BELCHER: “Definitely.”

WARREN LEACH: “Brilliant news about time.”

KELLY LEE: “Can’t wait.”

27th May

159 homes approved at Hill View Farm, Marston despite outcry

A 159-home development planned for the edge of Marston could mean the end of the village as it is, residents have warned.

The new estate, called Hill View Farm, will sit at the end of Mill Lane to the north west of the village, next to the northern bypass.

Plans for the 159-home development were approved by Oxford City Council on Wednesday night.

Peter Williams of the parish council said the new estate, coupled with plans to build 79 more houses on Mill Lane, and a further 39 at Marston Paddock, would add an extra fifth to the village's number of homes.

Dr Williams added: "Such growth would be reasonable if the infrastructure supported it, but it doesn’t. All traffic feeds on to an already congested Oxford Road since the council has denied access onto the ring road."

Charlotte Vinnicombe of Elsfield Road and Oxford Road Residents Association and Zana Waddington of Friends of Old Marston also objected to the plans, describing how the extra homes would cause a huge amount of traffic through the village, which already suffers with congestion.

Planning agent Robert Gillespie spoke in favour of the applicant, a landowner called Mazhar Dogar.

Mr Gillespie said 79 of the homes, or 50 per cent, would be designated for affordable rent or sale.

He referred to the 'chronic shortage' of cheap housing in Oxford and said: "This is just what your city needs."

Nigel Chapman, a member of the committee, asked if any thought had been given to providing shops at Hill View Farm, so people living there would have less need to travel in and out by car to shop elsewhere.

However, planning officer Andrew Murdoch said his colleagues had not thought it necessary to include provision for shops when setting aside the site for homes.

Planning chairman Colin Cook said: "I think when it comes to this application, the perfect is the enemy of the good. I think an application that comes before us at the start with an offer of 50 per cent affordable housing is to be applauded."

Five members of the committee voted for the plans, and four against. There was also an attempt to defer the plans for further investigation, which failed.

Speaking after the meeting, independent city councillor for Marston, Mick Haines, said he was furious the plans were approved, and had concerns about flooding.

On the plans for even more development for Marston in future, he added: "This will put the whole village out. It won't be a village anymore really, will it?"

19th September 

1st May

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

Mick Haines. Picture: Ric Mellis.

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'.

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.

Saj Malik, elected as a Labour councillor in 2004, is standing as an independent after being suspended from the party in 2019.

He said his record as a councillor 'speaks for itself', including installing memorial benches to Captain Sir Tom Moore and PC Andrew Harper in Marsh Park.

He said he wants to tackle rat run speeding at Wilkins Road and Fern Hill Road, and make the subway at the bottom of Fern Hill Road 'welcoming' by commissioning a mural of car manufacturing.

ELECTIONS 2021: The candidates for Oxford listed

Judith Harley is standing on two main pledges in the city council elections: to carry out a full consultation on the Cowley LTNs, and to protect public spaces.

She said: "I want protection for public spaces, services, and community facilities and as a resident I have long campaigned locally on these. St Gregory the Great school will receive funds for community recreation to 'compensate' the loss of William Morris sports field; the Cowley Marsh wildflower meadow, taken by the Marsh Depot, must be restored by 2022. I will pursue to ensure these happen."

Trade Union and Socialist Coalition

The three candidates for TUSC are Agnieszka Kowalska (Blackbird Leys ward), Adam Powell-Davies (Carfax and Jericho ward), and James Morbin (Northfield Brook ward).

TUSC is demanding a 'needs budget' and is opposing further council cuts as a result of Central Government austerity policies.

It is also calling rent caps and rent freezes and demanding the city council build more council homes, but not for sale.

TUSC is also calling for a parking permit scheme in Oxford, Controlled Parking Zones, to be scrapped.

However this is administered by Oxfordshire County Council.

If elected, TUSC candidates would 'refuse to take any expenses for representing the local community'.

For Britain Movement

Lorenzo de Gregori is the only candidate for the far-right party the For Britain Movement. He is standing in Northfield Brook ward.

Mr de Gregori, who moved to the UK from Italy in 2005 and works in IT, said the council needed to 'cut the waste and make councillors responsible for their mistakes'.

Freedom Alliance

John McCann is the only candidate standing for the anti-lockdown party called the Freedom Alliance 'No Lockdowns, No Curfews'.

He is standing in the Rose Hill and Iffley ward.


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