Tag Archives: Oxford City Council

The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing

Just a few weeks ago, Oxford City Council put forward a proposal for the regeneration of the canal the other side of the Oxford Retreat pub on Hythe Bridge Street.

It really is pretty nice over there already, especially in summer, but can be a bit treacherous when the rain decides it is going to freshen up things. It’s also very nice on the Thames.

Durga Devi - drawing (c) Jan BaileyJust a few weeks back,  when the weather was fair, I took a walk, five minutes from where I live on Mill Street, and noticed a little yellow sign on the way to Port Meadow. It is an application for student flats close to Fiddler’s Island, according to a letter by Julian Le Vay, who according to the Oxford Mail, lives in Abbey Road.

The application was withdrawn earlier this year, but Julian writes that it’s been re-submitted.  We are still living with the Port Meadow student block fiasco – see the Ballad of Roger Dudman Way – and probably we have to really stay quite alert because our esteemed councillors don’t necessarily have eighteen heads with three eyes in each head and multiple arms, like some forms of Durga.

Oseney tries to reclaim its past

Oseney AbbeyDOWN HERE in Mill Street,  Oxford,  has something of a reputation, don’t you know?

For example, the Miller’s Tale, in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, is set at the old mill down the end of the road and describes how a student had his wicked way with the miller’s wife.

Then there was Oseney Abbey – pictured – which had its lot when Henry VIII decided he was short of a bob or two and decided to dissolve the monasteries.

And now we get through the post a missive about a “pre Christmas sale” at the “remains of Osney Abbey, Mill Street, Oxford OX2 0AN” on Saturday, October 19th from 08:30 to 13:30. The sale is “in aid of the restoration of the scheduled monument roof”. So be there or be square.


Gloucester Green traders complain about Oxford Council

Gloucester Green Market in late September on a foggy morningTODAY is the last day Gloucester Green market will look the way it looks in this photograph.

From next week, the Wednesday market will be managed by an outsourced body. We visited the mart and chatted to a few of the traders.

Oxford City Council’s official line is that there will be no price hikes at GloGreen. But the traders have a different view.

One told us that the Council had picked the best of a bad bunch to manage the market, but another, who we chatted to and who will remain anonymous was way more outspoken.

He said that the change had caused a price hike for his outfit of 33 percent. The Council, he said: “Basically washed their hands of the market five years ago.” The Council had neglected GloGreen and its basic aim was to chop costs, in line with the UK government’s directives.

He counted the ways the Council had raised the prices, charging £2 extra for “advertising”, while car park charges were also hiked.

“Don’t believe anything you read in the papers,” he said. “It’s all about cutting costs.”

We’ll visit GloGreen next week to observe the new configuration. ♥

Geiger counter in Oxford, anyone?

Geoger counterMY SOURCES here in Oxford, and they are highly reliable sources, tell me that it’s not just diesel contamination people have to worry about.

As we reported here earlier, and subsequently followed up by the venerable Oxford Mail, diesel pollution is the name of the game in certain parts of this City of the Screaming Squires.

A completely different source informed us, off the record, that Oxford City Council might well sue the university over the diesel spill.

But perhaps boffins from the university, not far from Port Meadow, should get out their Geiger counters and check out how much ticking there is at a spot nearby.

Radioactivity is nothing to fear – heck we come from Aberdeen, Scotland, where Geiger counters tick like there’s no tomorrow because of the granite bedrock.  But there’s a time and a place for everything and it’s time to examine the place, not far from Port Meadow, we are reliably informed.

Oxford City Council. Shock horror – pollution

SO THIS IS A letter sent to allotment holders in Cripley Allotments.  Er….


Oxford Council’s Mill Street “Wall” blunder cost a fortune

Last year
, a government planning inspector, Mrs Miles, met with interested parties over an appeal for an egregious plan to erect a three storey building between the back of gardens at numbers 19 to 41 Mill Street, here in Oxford.

Unfortunately, the Council forgot to notify all of the interested parties – including homeowners – to the planning meeting with the result that the original meeting was adjourned.

Oxford City Council had to pay for this. At the subsequent meeting, where residents did attend, Mrs Miles told Tony Brett, the councillor present at the meeting, that the council would be fined for the cock-up.

We placed a freedom of information (FOI) request a few weeks ago asking how much Oxford City Council was fined.

Here’s the reply:

“Dear Mr Magee

“Further to the acknowledgement below, I can respond to your FOI request of
23^rd April 2013 as follows:

“The Council paid a total of £8,792.76 inclusive of VAT in costs for the
appeal in respect of the proposed three-storey building between Mill
Street and the railway line.

“Yours sincerely

“Michael Newman
Corporate Secretariat Manager”

Naturally, Oxford council tax payers will pick up the bill for the blunder. 

Mill Street denuded but the telegraph pole remains

It is a bleak sight out there after, after
The developers deprived the wee creatures and
The small human beings too of anything apart from
A lone telegraph pole to see.
The birds have nowhere to nest, nor have the bees.
The apparatchiks of the developers ruthlessly routed out
Most trees and plants and ploughed it all up, leaving, let’s be fair
A few wee trees that don’t disguise the devastation caused.
Ah, the lone telegraph pole. The apparatchiks must have felt
That this was a “tree” too far to chop.






The ballad of Roger Dudman Way

Where there’s a will, there is a lay.
So starts this wee tale of Roger Dudman Way.

Mick's Cafe, the Botley Road
Head west from Domino’s, through the tunnel of love,
Be shaken, if not stirred by rattling freight trains above,
And, flanked by Mick’s Café and the YHA
See the new glory that’s called the Roger Dudman’s Way.
Mick’s Café has shut, I am sorry to say.
‘Twas the jewel in the crown of Roger Dudman’s Way.

As you beat your way towards pastures new,
You’ll see Oxford Station and, this is certainly true,
You’ll see five storeys hove into view.

This is the Great Wall of Roger Dudman’s Way,
Blocking Port Meadow, or that is what they say.
The structure’s for students, and not really for geese;
They will have to soar high to stay in one piece.

Roger Dudman, the man who inspired the route
Was Lord Mayor of Oxford, and a leftie, to boot.
Of Dudman’s life we know little, it’s true,
But he held a grand post so was one of the few
To wear the great chain, and preceded by mace
Trouped through the town with consummate grace.

The latest Lord Mayor fell flat on his face,
For saying the word “sexy” that’s quite a disgrace.

And so we conclude this Dudman paeon,
To celebrate the daze of the Dudman aeon,
With hymns and raptures day by every day
To celebrate Mr Dudman  and his now famous Way!

The bench has moved at Osney Island but the geese remain the same

DESPITE A TORRENTIAL downpour this evening, we managed to capture a wonderful pic of how crap Oxford City Council is. Bowing under pressure, to a local,  the apparatchiks bowed to pressure and moved a bench, in a post preposition that would ensure any man+dog would gaze left, rather than right!  What is on the right to see that made Crappy Oxford City Council move the bench? We are investigating with our powerful 42X digicam and our Freedom of Information stuff. It must have cost something to move! ♥


Oxford “toilet man” hits out at British press


COUNCILLOR JOHN TANNER (Lab), famous for pronouncements earlier this year that claimed part of the reason tourists from all over the world visit Oxford because of its “world beating” public conveniences (bogs), has written a letter to the Oxford Mail, having a go at the British press and David Cameron.

Tanner, who sports the fancy title of Board Member for a Cleaner, Greener Oxford, said in the letter that he wants a free press that will investigate the rich and powerful, and to educate and entertain. The Oxford Mail, he writes, has always been fair and honest.  But journalists at the nationals will “dive into the gutter” to get a story.

* Sources tell Volesoft that CoCo – a splendid establishment embedded in the Royal Oxford Hotel but nothing to do with it – will close on the 21st of December.  It has two other establishments in Oxford, another CoCo in the Cowley Road, and the Casbah, on the opposite side of the road.  We will miss the occasional breakfast we have there, but thankfully Mick’s Café is still open. CoCo in West Oxford is likely to become a Korean restaurant.