Campaigner Mick celebrates success in five-year lights battle

Monopoly on shops

In reply to the letter “Passing buck over shop”, (Oxford Mail, February 22), I must agree with Mr MacAllister that in such difficult financial times that people will go for what they perceive as best value for money.

It is freedom of choice that we, the local residents, are practising concerning local and moral issues.

The increase in local traffic will add to an already-congested road with a dangerous bottleneck corner, where my niece was knocked down when coming home from school.

There are frequent road accidents in this area. The road is especially dangerous for the old and young members of our community.

The local Costcutter houses the Post Office which serves the community.

It is not only a shop, it is a place where the staff know most of the locals by their first names and ask how people are if they don’t see them.

It’s this personal, friendly and helpful service that adds to our sense of community and responsibility for everyone.

The store proposed by Tesco will be an Express; this has a higher pricing system than a Tesco supermarket because it is deemed a convenience store.

A uniformed approach to shopping, forced on us by the big corporate companies like Tesco, limits choice in the long run.

It is morally necessary to limit a monopoly that will eliminate competition and dictate choices and prices for the future.

MICK HAINES, Croft Road, New Marston, Oxford

Monday, 20 February 2012

RESIDENTS in Marston have vowed to boycott a new Tesco store set to open in a former pub.

Hundreds of people in the area, led by a local vicar, pledged to support the protest at a public meeting chaired by Oxford East MP Andrew Smith.

Residents are concerned about the store’s impact on existing shops and increased traffic.

It is set to open on the site of The Friar pub, but no date has been announced.

The boycott idea was suggested by Rev Elaine Bardwell, of St Michael and All Angels Church in Marston Road.

She told the meeting: “One of the things we can do is just not shop there. Shopping is a moral issue and Tesco needs to understand the damage they are doing to the community.”

Nearly 200 Marston residents gathered in the Royal British Legion in Hadow Road to address concerns about the store.

Marston campaigner Mick Haines, of Croft Road, said: “I think the whole area is unified on this issue.

“The local shops have supported this area for so many years and Marston will be gridlocked by traffic.

“There are a lot of people who have said to me they just won’t be going to Tesco if it opens.”

Planning permission was given by Government planning inspector Andrew Pykett last June despite a petition containing more than 4,400 signatures of objection.

Tesco spokesman James Wiggam said: “Our Express stores encourage people to shop in local high streets and other traders can take advantage of the additional footfall they bring.”

But Eric Perkins, of Crotch Crescent, said: “Crossing Marston Road is a nightmare at the moment and to have a car park on the other side of the road will make things worse.”

Oxfordshire County Council officer David Groves said under the terms of the planning permission Tesco would have to pay for road safety improvements.

Residents and traders opposed to the Tesco store, including Mick Haines, second from right

Well done Mick Haines

Mick Haines, I congratulate you for all your hard work that you do for the Marston community.

It’s hard work and dedication, that’s what helping is all about.

It’s not just to get praise, as many a time your petitions are ignored by the powers above.

Yet you’re back on the streets helping others to help the people for their needs in important matters.

It’s a pity there are not more people like you, Mick. Your reward may come this year.

But I do know one thing. All over Oxford we will soon see councillors coming out of their closets and back on the streets, no matter what party they stand for.

I myself have stood for election as an independent and for the Liberal Party.

The choice was my own but only for a good reason. Trying to get something for the Wood Farm community.

One of the issues that we were promised action on was Marywood House: a very large empty house in The Slade. It has stood empty for over 10 years.

We were promised it would be demolished. It’s still there.

Best of luck Mick, see you at the May elections count.

PETER BONNEY, Nuffield Road, Wood Farm, Oxford

Trying to help residents

DESPERATE stuff from Councillors Mary Clarkson and Beverley Hazell (Oxford Mail, January 18). I sense fear and desperation raising them from hibernation as election time draws near.

Yes, I plead guilty to continually speaking to residents and gaining their opinions and support on the various petitions quoted. Petitions do count, as it’s the opinions of the people who sign them.

A notable example: I raised a large petition against more traffic coming into Marston and, along with the Northway petition, this forced through a debate in the Town Hall.

Over the subway, if the people in power had lent more weight to it, there may have been a different outcome. Instead, Labour actively did nothing.

I am surprised that our councillors have thrown in the towel over Tesco’s, as I am initiating, organising and publicising a public meeting about it, with Andrew Smith MP chairing it.

I am very pleased that the Scout Hall is up and running. My only concern at the time, as quoted in this newspaper (August 23, 2008), was the cost.

Unfortunately, we have another winter without our lights in Croft Road recreation ground, so it can’t be used in these dark evenings. This is an important safety issue. One thing park users can be assured of is that I will not let this matter drop.

A very helpful man

WITH reference to the letter in the Oxford Mail on January 18 from Mary Clarkson and Beverley Hazell regarding Mick Haines. As a Marston resident, I know who I go to for any help and advice, and from my own experience Mick Haines is always ready to help.

I’ve never seen Mary Clarkson or Beverley Hazell in this area and as for their comment on petitions, it’s a pity they are so often ignored.

Mick Haines did not oppose the refurbishment of the Scout Hall, the query was a financial one.

It’s a pity the Headington Subway petition failed, as the traffic is worse now in that area. Also, the Tesco application failed because the planning department approved the site for development by Tesco, which was against most of the local residents’ wishes.

MRS HILARY MULLINS Marston Road Oxford

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Marston neighbours cheer park lights result

IT HAS taken five years and a trip to Downing Street but county transport chiefs have finally agreed to illuminate a small part of Oxford.
Marston residents have been campaigning since 2007 for lights to be installed at the Croft Road recreation ground.

Community campaigner Mick Haines even took a petition to 10 Downing Street to raise awareness of the issue.

Last night he said: “I am very pleased for everybody. Lots of people will be over the moon about this.

“We were promised the lights in 2009 and it has been a hard fight over the years.

“I think more people will feel they can use the play area now.”

The lights come as part of an Oxfordshire County Council scheme to invest more than £180,000 into the area.

It will also include widening, resurfacing and realigning the path which leads along Fairfax Avenue and Purcell Road which according to the report is “difficult and uninviting to use, even for able-bodied pedestrians”.

The path leads from Marston to the University Science Area along South Parks Road and ultimately to the centre of Oxford.

As part of the work, the county council will also convert the route into a bridleway so it can be legally used by cyclists.

Lighting columns will also be installed on the section of the route which runs through the recreation ground.

A previous proposal for lights was thrown out in 2005 after some residents complained they were too close to their homes.

County councillor Rodney Rose made the decision to go ahead with the scheme at his delegated decisions meeting on Thursday.

He said there would be further discussions to make sure the lights did not disturb nearby residents.

Purcell Road resident Peter Haarer spoke at the meeting.

He said: “We are very concerned about noise late at night which is produced by people coming back from town.

“The council have obviously worked very hard on this and we had no objections to the resurfacing of the path itself.”

Mick Haines, front, with supporters Dennis Colley, Carol Alder, Robert Max and John Townsend

Monday, 19 March 2012

End's in sight for light fight


Marston residents are hoping to win their five-year battle for lights at a recreation ground this week.

Oxfordshire County Council is set to agree to put lights in the Croft Road recreation ground as part of £185,000 upgrades to the area’s cycle path.

Residents have been campaigning on the issue since 2007 to allow children to use the play area during the autumn and winter months.

Marston resident Mick Haines has been at the centre of the campaign, even taking a petition signed by 1,205 people to 10 Downing Street in 2010.

The Croft Road resident will speak at Thursday’s meeting, where a final decision will be made, to convince the council to go ahead with the lights.

He said: “I am hoping they put those lights in. They could have gone in a long time ago, it has been too many years.

“It is about safety for the youngsters and the old people who want to use it in the evenings.

“At the moment it is pitch dark and unusable.”

Councillor Rodney Rose, county council cabinet member for transport, will make a decision which will also cover improvements to the cycle path from Fairfax Avenue to Edgeway Road.

County councillor Roy Darke, who represents the area, said: “I am hoping this will now go ahead and we will see something done over the summer.

“It has been horrendously delayed.”

A proposal for £180,000 of lights was thrown out in 2005 after some residents complained they would be too close to their homes.

The scheme would have seen lights put along the path by Rippington Drive, down Croft Road and along Purcell Road, although it sparked a legal wrangle over the ownership of a stretch of land behind Purcell Road.

According to the meeting’s report, which recommends going ahead with the scheme, “lighting columns” could be installed through the recreation ground as well as widening and resurfacing the path.

All sections of the route would also be converted to bridleways to allow cycling and horse riding.

Team litter blitz was rewarding

ON Saturday, March 3, I joined the Old Marston OxClean team picking up litter in Marston from 10am-noon. It was rewarding to be part of a team made up of different members of our community, all contributing for a better local environment.

May I take this chance to thank Mary Clarkson and Beverley Hazel for inviting me to take part, as I did not see them on the day.

MICK HAINES Croft Road New Marston Oxford

No confidence in council

THE meeting regarding Tesco on January 27 was very well attended (approximately more than 100 people) at the Marston British Legion, chaired by a very energetic Andrew Smith MP.

Residents put across some very good questions to the panel over Tesco getting permission to build a metro store on the former Friar public house site.

It was made clear there had been no public consultation between councillors and the residents and that an agreement appeared to have already been made behind closed doors.

Consequently, a vote of no confidence was passed with our councillors involved in the application.

The outcome of the meeting is that it will be three years before Tesco develops the site, which gives local businesses and residents time to prepare!


Marston residents plan boycott of future Tesco store

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Mick’s mission to save Marston marches on

MARSTON’S one-man community campaign Mick Haines has vowed he “will never give up” as another year of petitions ends.

The past 12 months has seen him galvanise support for trees, traffic solutions and street lights.

The retired scaffolder, who has lived in Marston for 40 years, began campaigning in 2004, when he was outraged by plans to put two sewage tanks under Croft Road recreation ground.

His first petition gathered about 300 signatures.

While the sewage tanks may have been installed, Thames Water did provide some temporary play equipment while the work was taking place.

He said: “I do all this for Marston. The area has been left at the bottom of the pile. But what really got me going was when I heard about those tanks.

“I am determined to see Marston isn’t left behind.”

“I am never going to stop campaigning.

“I am going to fight on regardless.”

His latest campaign, calling for a solution to Marston’s traffic problems, was launched in October.

With 954 signatures, Mr Haines delivered it to the Lord Mayor of Oxford last month.

He said: “We cannot afford to have any more cars through Marston. We are just gridlocked.”

The Elvis fan, who is married to Janice and has six children, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren, said: “This year has been brilliant. It has probably been the best year up till now.”

During his unsuccessful fight to stop Tesco developing the old Friar pub, the 71-year-old unearthed a forgotten piece of Marston history.

Thanks to Mr Haines, it emerged some trees close to the pub were planted on Armistice Day in 1950 in memory of dead personnel.

Since then he has been trying to make sure the trees are protected and their importance remembered.

He said: “They were planted on Armistice Day for the people of Marston who died in the Second World War.

“It is important people know what has happened through the history of the area. I’d like to get a plaque up there to commemorate it.”

One of his longest running campaigns will continue in 2012.

His fight for streetlights at the Croft Road recreation park started in 2007 and has seen him take a petition of 1,000 signatures to Downing Street.

He said: “We have got another winter now with no lights so none of the children can use it. It is a safety issue.

“People are afraid to go through there.”

One thing park users can be assured of is Mick Haines will not let the issue drop.

 Mick’s mission to save Marston marches on


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