5th January

Rat run streets in Oxford: Readers name the worst affected areas

RAT running down residential streets is causing road rage and risks causing a serious accident, according to residents who have been naming the worst affected areas.

Following news that commuters may face fines for cutting down the access-only Elms Drive in Marston, Oxford Mail readers have been naming more streets in the city where they feel action needs to be taken.

Old Road in Wood Farm, Bagley Wood Road in Kennington and Saxon Way in Northway were some of the roads put forward.

Jennifer Tait, who lives in Old Road, said the section between Quarry Road and Titup Hall drive was most affected with drivers coming off the Eastern Bypass and cutting through to avoid the Old Road and Windmill Road junction.

She said: “Cars literally screech in both directions along this section of road.

“Not only does the traffic well exceed the 20mph limit but often cars take the corner at speed directly into Titup Hall Drive in front of the primary school.

“There is often a lot of illegal parking at the drop off and pick up times making the rat running even more hazardous.

“It’s only a matter of time before there is a serious incident here and I have witnessed several minor accidents where cars have hit each other and on one occasion a car knocked a cyclist off her bike.”

Ms Tait said she would welcome ‘limitations’ introduced on this ‘hellish’ section of road.

She added: “There are many incidents of road rage outside our house and neighbours cars are frequently damaged with wing mirrors being broken and doors scraped as the cars race around the corner.”

On Facebook, readers named Lime Walk in Headington as another rat run, with drivers coming off the London Road and heading towards the Churchill Hospital or Oxford University’s Old Road Campus.

Villagers living in areas such as Wheatley, Horspath and Combe also complained that these places are often subjected to vast numbers of vehicles coming off nearby major roads and cutting through, often at speed.

The likelihood of accidents is made worse in these rural areas because of a lack of street lights, according to readers.

The local neighbourhood police team in Marston held a two day operation in Elms Drive after receiving complaints from residents.

Anyone using the road as a cut-through was given a warning.

Councillor for the area Mick Haines wants the force to look at other problem streets in his ward.

3rd January

Oxford councillor's 'saucy' novel rakes in the cash for charity

A CITY councillor’s foray into the literary world has raised hundreds of pounds for charity.

Mick Haines' first self-published novel, The Merry Go Round of Life, was released in September to raise funds for Cancer Research.

His wife Janice and other friends have died after suffering from the disease and Mr Haines said he felt digging out the story was a perfect way of raising money.

Mr Haines, who has represented Marston on the council since 2012, documents the lives of two Oxford men, Roy and Tony, who live in the city during the 1960s.

Roy, based on Mr Haines, is a bit of a ‘Jack the lad’ and has several casual flings with women, while Tony is married with children.

Independent councillor Mr Haines said: “It was done from my own life. I’m Roy…I had a good run.”

Mr Haines worked as a scaffolder on building sites across Oxford; Roy does too.

The councillor’s project has now raised £300, all of which was donated to Cancer Research in Headington before Christmas.

The Merry Go Round of Life was first written in Fritwell, near Bicester, where Mr Haines lived for part of the 1960s, before moving back to Oxford.

He took the hopeful book to the publishers all those years ago but was told although it was ‘above average’ they would be unable to print it.

Mr Haines said the popularity of the BBC sitcom The Likely Lads and the saucy Confessions films was a reason his story wasn’t published.

But he has now sold 100 copies of the book – printed in Oxford – with some of his readers including Labour city councillors Mary Clarkson, who also represents Marston, deputy leader Linda Smith and former director of the BBC World Service, Nigel Chapman.

Another Oxfordshire councillor will have their debut novel published later this year.

Merilyn Davies represents Freeland and Hanborough on West Oxfordshire District Council as a Labour Co-Operative councillor.

Her first novel, When I Lost You, will be published by Arrow, one of the most successful commercial publishers in the UK.

It is already available to pre-order, ahead of planned publication on August 22.

Arrow has previously published E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, the fastest selling paperback in UK history.

Its other leading authors include James Patterson, Robert Harris and Harlan Coben.

 

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