Tag Archives: susanna pressel

Oxford’s Old Power Station to get poshed up

A missive from the egregious Said Business School (SBS)is holding a “consultation” on the future of the Old Power Station, on the Thames, just a slingshot away from Mill Street.

The message, in a bottle, is reproduced below.

But there are things the SBS doesn’t say, as well as things it does say, with implications for the original inhabitants of Old Osney Island, that’s us folk on Arthur Street, Mill Street and the rest.

The towering edifice was used in times of yore to test Concorde engines and then to host exhibits from the Ruskin.  Then there was a health scare because it seemed to hold rare chemicals and stuff stored away.

Then a possibly dangerous harpoon was found, it seems. And squatters were evicted.

The SBS didn’t really respond to FOI requests, I think you’ll find.

Anyway, the document issued for the consultation, below, said SBS is pushing ahead with a proposal offering “bespoke conferencing facilities. It doesn’t say what the impact on the area will be, how many bricks will go, and how the poor people on Arthur Street will feel about huge lorries making a right turn from there past Kite 2.0, also known as the Porterhouse now and the effect it will have on both Mill Street and the Botley Road.

Hey, I guess we residents will have the chance to forewarn the planners ahead of the “conference”. It’s all about the regeneration of West Oxford, you know.   

Frideswide Square – so good they fixed it thrice

Residents of Mill Street had a missive from Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) in early February headed “improvements at Frideswide Square” and penned by Owen Jenkins, the grandly named director for infrastructure delivery.

You can find the details of the seven week scheme to repair Frideswide Square at this link, – although you won’t find the letter, I don’t think.

West Oxford is being “regenerated” and some people might think that’s a good thing – certainly house prices here in Mill Street continue to  go through the roof.

Owen said, in his billet doux, that cyclists will “benefit” from “new dropped kerbs” while OCC is is providing “tactile paving” for “visually impaired users” at all crossing points.

Now, here’s the thing. Pedestrians and motorists don’t really know whether people or cars have any right of way, so people don’t know whether these “crossing points” are safe.

Owen is, no doubt, too young to remember this, but in the 1930s  Hore Belisha (pictured, above) had a bright idea to put lights and stripes on roads – “zebra crossings” – and introduced the driving test. The “crossing points” at Frideswide Square don’t have any stripes so we are all taking a bit of a risk, or maybe “dicing with death”.

Why does that matter? Well, because the square is close to the railway station and also funnels a considerable amount of motor traffic into Oxford using the already congested Botley Road, motorists and pedestrians unfamiliar with the weirdness have every chance of being confused by what’s going on. Even us local residents are confuseniks.

The scheme starts on the 11th of February and finishes on the 23rd of March 2018, if we’re lucky. 

RustyPoleGate – the plot thickens…

I HAD a letter from my MP Nicola Blackwood this morning.  She also enclosed what I regard as a rather wooden letter from Chris McCarthy, from Oxfordshire County Council.

In case you haven’t been following RustyPoleGate – a parking post outside my house is very rusty. I’d offered to paint it in rainbow colours, at my own expense, but apparently this is a criminal offence under Section 132(1) of the Highways Act 1980. So here we go. 

rusty1 rusty2 rusty3

Oxford City Council delays FOI requests

Through a glass, darkly

Unusually, in our experience, the normally *very* transparent Oxford City Council has decided to delay replying to two FOI (freedom of information)  requests and so is potentially breaking the law.

On the 14th of October 2014, we asked about Oxford’s surveillance of peoples’ bins after we got a snottogram from a functionary – you can read our request here.

Then, being sort of IT biased, we made a request of the cost of IT during the calendar year 2013. That request has been delayed too. You can read that request here.

Finally, we asked Oxford City Council the cost of hiring IT firm Capita to try and cut down the number of people claiming a 25 percent discount because they live alone.  We received a letter from said Capita saying if we didn’t reply, Oxford City Council reserved the right to knock off the discount. Fortunately, the letter was in 14 point Tahoma, so we could just about read it with a magnifying glass.

We haven’t had a response to that question either.

Transparency, through a glass darkly.  We have emailed the City Council meisters in charge of the requests.  Maybe they haven’t had the influenza immunization yet.

Mill Street, the Wall and Cherwell College

I AM NOT entirely sure the venerable Oxford Mail got the whole story about this, but hey, WTF. We only live here. ♥

Susanna Pressel is the Labour Rose

pressel2I HAVE GOT quite a lot of time for Susanna Pressel, Labour politician of this yard, let me tell you.  Never lend her your secateurs though, if you want your cotoneasta to stay untrimmed.

I understand she is a dab hand at pool, which she used to play at the currently closed The Kite, and deffo she is responsive to the locals when we ask her a question. She was, for example, a heroine in our campaign against The Wall between numbers 19-41 Mill Street. That is currently being pre-fabricated, much to the annoyance of badgers and other wild critters.

Pressel is up for re-election on the 22nd of May next, and as you can see from the blurb above, has quite a track record. I don’t know which two schools she is governor of, though but. There are certainly more than two schools in the Jericho and Osney ward.

But I will never, ever vote for her Labour colleague, a Mr Colin “cycle clips” Cook.  Ever.

Port Meadow strikes again!

I GET a lovely leaflet from those lovely people who opposed the Port Meadow development. You can email them at saveportmeadow@gmail.com, although I’m not sure if the lasses and lads are aware that Google on gmail monitors every email in and out.

There are some fab quotes on the leaflet. Colin Cook, a Labour councillor, describes the whole thing as “a storm in a teacup”. City council leader Bob Price says: “It is difficult to see precisely what is getting people so exercised.”  Planning minister Nick Boles, MP, says: “A disgrace… one of the worst designs I’ve seen in the last 10 years.”

Now there is damage that needs to be undone, although some damage in our opinion at Volesoft is terminal. Although by nature of a leftish stance, we will never vote for our councillor Colin Cook ever again, despite his lovely cycle clips. We are even considering not voting for lovely Susanna Pressel, even though she is slightly leftish too.   We at Volesoft think the Labour controlled Oxford City Council needs some Ex-Lax…