Five shops close in 2006

Olan Mills Photographic Studio at 104 London Road closed following the collapse of the company. Helpline for customers: 08457 585351

MAS Travel at 75 London Road (above Blockbuster Video) closed, and was investigated by IATA.

Special Days card shop in Windmill Road closed on 23 December.

CardFair on the other side of Windmill Road was closed in early January 2006, after only part of the Greeting Card Group was saved from administration.

Richard Ford’s secondhand shop at 72A Windmill Road closed (in the event, temporarily) on 16 December 2006.

Restaurant application withdrawn

The second planning application for the former Balfour News shop at 14 Windmill Road requesting change of use of the ground floor from Class A1 retail to Class A3/A5 restaurant and takeaway was withdrawn (06/02340/FUL).

A similar application (06/01553/FUL) was turned down earlier in 2006 on the grounds that it would result in the loss of a Class A1 retail unit contrary to Policy RC4 of the Oxford Local Plan.

Christmas 2006 FunDay

This year’s Headington Christmas Funday was held on Sunday 3 December. Headington Baptist Church led a carol service in the morning, and this was followed by other live music and shows. The Deputy Lord Mayor Mary Clarkson turned on the Christmas tree lights at dusk, followed by a lively street performance by the Yarmarka Dancers from Oxford’s Russian twin Perm.

Old Road verge

New accommodation for 100 key health workers was opened on the site of the former Red House and Jolliffe House at 72 Old Road on 9 May 2006. Local people, however, are upset that contractors have destroyed the section of green verge that ran along the adjacent pavement.

Holyoake Hall

This former Art Deco dance hall (latterly a snooker club) was converted into a £3m residential scheme with 15 “loft-style” apartments (11 with one bedroom and 4 with two). Knight Frank are selling flats with one bedroom at £185,000 and with two bedrooms at £250,000+.

The councillors of the North-East Area Committee went against the recommendations of planning officers and approved plans for 15 flats (04/01349/FUL), provided that five flats were reserved for key workers. The developer, W.E. Black Ltd of Chesham, also has to pay £14,000 towards recreational facilities and transport in the area.

Fingerprint payment

Headington Co-op was the first shop in the country to introduce a fingerprint payment system. Customers had to sign up for a direct debit “Pay by Touch”, and after activating this had to wait for a confirmatory email following approval by their bank.

Bishop pulls out

The Church of England has pulled out of the deal to buy Pullens End as a home for the new Bishop of Oxford. The Church Commissioners have discovered that a covenant would prevent them building offices in the house’s 1.7acre garden.

Pullens End, advertised by Carter Jonas as “the most magnificent local country house that you could ever hope to find in the city of Oxford” and priced at £2.5 million, stands in almost 1.75 acres at the north-east end of Pullens Lane. For 26 years it was the home of the author Angela Huth and her husband, the historian James Howard-Johnston

C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve

The Wildlife Trust that now owns the C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve off Lewis Close in Risinghurst was criticized for cutting down trees, but BBOWT maintain it was necessary to lighten up the site and encourage wildlife and undergrowth.

Headington fire

Seven fire engines with 50 firefighters fought a fire at Richens Mobility Centre workshop on Saturday 22 July.

The fire started at about 2.20pm in the Richens workshop, which is behind the shops at the north-west side of Windmill Road and is adjacent to the back gardens at the top of Kennett Road. The workshop contained a 6ft acetylene gas cylinder, which had to be treated like an unexploded bomb and kept cool for 24 hours. Hence a 200m cordon was set around the blaze, and all houses in Kennett Road and those in Windmill Road north of Bateman Street were evacuated immediately. People furthest from the blaze were allowed back after 7pm on Saturday, but about fifty people from the top end of each street had to spend the night elsewhere, as the inner exclusion zone was not reopened until 3.20pm the next day.

The Oxford Mail and Radio Oxford initially reported that police believed that this fire was arson; but investigators now think it was caused by a lightning strike or power surge.

Lamppost banners

Oxford Inspires was granted planning permission to erect five non-illuminated vertical banners to lampposts on the London Road between Headley Way and Sandfield Road.

City Council changes

The LibDems took control of the city. Four of the ten councillors on the city council’s decision-making Executive represented wards in the Headington & Marston area, with the portfolios indicated below:

  • David Rundle (Deputy Leader of council): Stronger communities
  • Stephen Tall: Better finances
  • Caroline van Zyl: Safer city
  • Patrick Murray: Improving housing

In addition Mary Clarkson, city councillor for Marston, was elected Deputy Lord Mayor.

May 2006 election results:

Barton & Sandhills: Alex Hollingsworth (Labour) stepped down from this ward and Chris Scanlan won it for the LibDems.

Churchill: Susan Brown stepped down from this ward, and Joe McManners held it for Labour.

Headington: David Rundle continued to hold this seat for the LibDems, with a huge majority of 663.

Headington Hill & Northway: Maureen Christian lost this ward, with Mohammed Altaf-Khan (who is already a county councillor for the Headington & Marston ward) gaining it for the LibDems.

Marston: Mary Clarkson held this seat for Labour.

Quarry & Risinghurst: Dee Sinclair held this seat for Labour.

Mason’s Arms wins award

The Mason’s Arms in Quarry, a free house and home of the Old Bog Brewery, was voted Oxford pub of the year for 2005 by CAMRA. It also won the award in 2004.

Shop raid

Two men in balaclavas forced a female shop worker to open the safe at Balfour News in Cherwell Drive on Saturday 11 March 2006 at 5.30am and left on foot with thousands of pounds of cash.

Balfour News closed

Balfour News in Windmill Road, which was taken over by the Co-operative Wholesale Society in 2004, closed down on Saturday 8 October 2005.

This leaves just one newsagent in central Headington; but newspapers can also be bought in the Co-op, Somerfield, Sainsbury’s Local, and Budgen’s Express.

Vicar’s 49th Easter service

The Revd James Cocke of All Saints Church, who held his 49th Easter service at All Saints this year, celebrated his 80th birthday in May 2006. He is the oldest priest in the diocese of Oxford, which covers Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Recycling bins replaced

The plastic and can bank that were set on fire in the car-park next to Somerfield on the night of Monday 8 May were replaced on 24 May. The bins cost £300 each, and the city council is seeking the support of the police to maintain a visible presence in the area. The number of recycling bins for plastic has also been increased from two to four.


For up-to-the-minute information:

follow @HeadingtonNews on Twitter

Church rises again

The new Headington Baptist Church in Old High Street is now open, and normal services have been resumed.


The £1m development was approved at the April 2004 meeting of the North East Area Committee, and this decision was upheld by the Strategic Development Control Committee when it was “called in” for review.

The last services were held in the original 1901 building on 22 February 2004 and it was demolished the following August. Kingerlee (who had also been involved with the building the former church) started work on the new church on 18 April 2005.

Bakery to become bar?

Queen’s Bakery at the top of Windmill Road was granted permission (06/00907/FUL) in 2006 for a change of use of the ground floor of the property to retail (A1), restaurant/café (A3), and bar (A4).

Its proposed new name was the Kami Restaurant.

Dong Dong Noodles

The Dong Dong Noodle Bar in Windmill Road (in the building of the former Flame Persian restaurant) is now open.

Animal seats in park

Two new benches (one carved with a beaver and the other with a serpent) have been placed near the Story Tree in Bury Knowle Park.

Exclusive Brethren Church sold

St Ebbe’s Church has bought the former Exclusive Brethren church at 30–34 Lime Walk, so once again there will be three churches in that street (the other two being All Saints and Lime Walk Methodist). The auction was conducted in London by Athawes & Co., announced on their website that bids reached £1,182,000.

St Ebbe’s had been renting accommodation at Headington School for its 10.30am service since 2004 and its 7.30pm service since 2001.

The Brethren church has relocated to Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, near Wallingford, and their church was sold by Athawes in London on 28 February

Wood Farm Church

This moved into the former Quarry Methodist Church, where it has become the Cornerstone Christian Centre.

Headington Hill wall

Part of the retaining wall on the footpath side of Headington Hill collapsed into the cycle lane in the early morning of Monday 23 October, following heavy rain.

Repairs to the wall took six weeks, but are now complete.

Library given reprieve

The city council decided on Monday 24 April 2006 that Bury Knowle House (the home of Headington’s library since 1934) will not after all be “earmarked for redevelopment” for commercial use when the county council’s lease comes to an end on 1 April 2009, but will remain in community use. This means that the library will be allowed to remain in Bury Knowle House unless and until bigger and better premises are found or the present problems regarding access can be solved.

Trees on London Road

The beech trees along the front boundary of Headington Junior School on London Road are dying, and each year one or two are removed as they become dangerous. Replacement trees are being planted.

“Day Spa” application

McGills Hairdressing was granted retrospective planning permission for the day spa in the building behind their premises

Remembrance Day 2006

Many Headington and Marston councillors were present at the Remembrance Day parade in St Giles on Sunday 12 November.

Car with toddler found

A Range Rover with a little girl asleep in the back seat was stolen from a driveway in Headington on Tuesday 3 October 2006 while the child’s mother was unpacking the shopping. The car was found abandoned in Osler Road half an hour later, with the child safe.

Filming in Old Headington

On 5 August 2006 a film crew visited the Old Headington home of science-fiction writer Brian Aldiss to film scenes for “Waiting for the Son” (a film based on his book Supertoys Last All Summer Long), in which he plays a cameo role.

Barton swimming pool

Barton swimming pool opened. The four-lane 25-metre pool has a new entrance from Bayswater Road to a 48-space car-park. There is a multi-purpose studio upstairs.

The pool is situated in the grounds of Bayards Hill Primary School (formerly Bayswater Middle School). The county council has granted a 60-year lease on the school site in exchange for free use of the pool by schools. It was funded by a £1.7m lottery grant from Sports England and a £1.1m government grant from the Single Regeneration Budget.

Car-Free Day in Highfield

Highfield residents marked European Car-Free Day on Friday 22 September 2006 by closing All Saints Road between Bickerton Road and Lime Walk and holding events there from 3.30 to 6pm.

Fire at school

Fire-fighters were called to Bayards Hill Primary School in Barton at 10.30pm on Thursday 18 May to deal with four first-floor classrooms that had been set on fire. The school occupies the site of the former Bayswater Middle School (beside Barton swimming pool).

The sports pavilion in Margaret Road was set on fire at 2am the same night, and the incidents are thought to be connected.

Crash barrier

Work is now complete on the new crash barrier on the eastern bypass. Gaps have been left to allow pedestrians to cross via two ancient rights of way leading to (1) Kiln Lane and (2) Brasenose Woods.

Wall rebuilt

Part of the boundary wall of Headington Hill Hall was taken down on Monday 29 May. Oxford Brookes University obtained planning permission in January (05/02111/FUL) to rebuild some 28 metres length of 2.2 metre high stone boundary wall fronting Pullen’s Lane, using salvaged and additional stone where required.

The wall was in danger of collapse, and the Leylandii hedge behind the wall, which is thought to have caused the problem, was removed and is being replaced by deciduous trees.


About twenty graves in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry are thought to be in danger of toppling over and may need laying down or securing. Anyone with relatives buried in the churchyard with a grave with a cross on top is asked to contact the parish office on 01865 762931. Relatives have approximately three months from 1 February 2006 to get in touch before the church itself takes action.

Memorials at St Andrew’s Church have been checked by Oxford City Council and are all deemed safe.

The surviving monumental inscriptions of Holy Trinity church have been transcribed by the Oxfordshire Family History Society and can be purchased on CD. A typed version of those of St Andrew’s Church are available on the top floor of the Westgate Library.