London Road scheme

The county council decided on 2 July 2009 to proceed with Phase 2 of the London Road scheme. This includes the closure of the subway, but Mick Haines continues his fight and took a petition to 10 Downing Street on 12 July.

Work on Phase 1 (Pullen’s Lane to Osler Road) started on 21 July 2008 was originally scheduled to finish on 6 March 2009, but continued into July 2009.

Speed limit reduced to 20mph

On 1 September 2009 the speed limit in the Headington shopping centre and on all minor roads in Headington and Marston was reduced to 20mph.

Shop changes in Headington in 2009

Newly opened in 2009

  • Johnson’s Cleaners took over the Sketchley shop at 102 London Road in December 2009
  • QB Management moved into 2 Windmill Road, the former home of Charles Lawson Estate Agents, in December 2009
  • Keraleeyam Stores moved into the former Jem-i-ni shop at 121 London Road in September 2009
  • Coco Noir opened in the former Squash Café at 77A London Road in September 2009
  • Black Mamba Tattoos opened in the former Launa Stone shop at 9A Windmill Road on 3 July 2009
  • Ripples bathroom showroom relocated from Summertown to the new shops at John Leon House at 138–140 London Road at the end of June 2009
  • Waitrose opened in the former Somerfield shop in Old High Street on 7 May 2009
  • Helen & Douglas House Hospice charity shop opened at 14 Windmill Road on 27 January 2009
  • Mortgage Masters moved into the former Adkin’s estate agents office at 109 London Road on 16 January 2009
  • London Beauty Boutique took over the former card shop in Simon House, Windmill Road in January 2009 but never operated normally

shops vacant or for sale at end of 2009

  • Oxford Optical Centre, at 104 London Road (an application by Martin & Co to turn it into an office was rejected in December 2009)
  • Alliance Pharmacy at 8 Windmill Road moved out in 2008
  • Reynolds Blinds moved to premises behind Windmill Road in 2008, and their former shop at 118 London Road remained empty throughout 2009.
  • Matthew Clulee hairdressers moved out of its Holyoake Hall branch on the London Road in November 2009

Smart’s Fish & Chips at 81A London Road was demolished in September 2008 and is being rebuilt as a coffee shop.

St Ebba’s

An application to demolish St Ebba’s and its outbuildings in Old Road and to replace it with 9 dwellings comprising 4 four-bed houses, 3 three-bed houses and 2 two-bed apartments was approved on 6 February 2009 (05/02504/FUL, 08/00639/FUL, and 10/00900/FUL).

Starbucks wins appeal

In December 2009 the Planning Inspectorate allowed Starbucks’ appeal against an enforcement notice issued by Oxford City Council, and planning permission was granted for mixed use as retail and café.

Pizza Hut now in Cherwell Drive

Pizza Hut opened in the former Chandler’s Estate Agents premises at 18 Cherwell Drive.

An application for “change of use of ground floor from financial and professional services (use class A2) to hot food takeaway (use class A5)” was approved (09/01328/FUL), along with a second application for “Display of adverts. 1 x internally illuminated fascia sign and 1 x internally illuminated projecting sign” (09/01329/ADV).

A planning application seeking to convert 2 Cherwell Drive (formerly Spink Insurance) into flats was approved ( 09/01927/FUL).

Illegal workers arrested

On Saturday 7 August 2009 three suspected illegal workers at Bar Meze in Headington were arrested by the UK Border Agency.

Immigration officers raided the Londis store on London Road on Tuesday 28 July 2009 and arrested four members of staff. Six months earlier on 28 January 2009, an illegal immigrant who had made his way to Oxford in the back of a lorry and lived in York Road was arrested while working at the same shop, and was jailed for five months.

Headington solicitor jailed

Graham Leather, who was a partner in the Headington branch of Ferguson Bricknell and had been with the firm since 1975, was jailed for 4½ years for helping criminals steal £1.5m from a City banker’s account.

Arriva bus window smashed

The window of an Arriva bus being driven near the Barton/Sandhills area of the A40 at about 9:30pm on Thursday 24 September 2009 was smashed with a missile, believed to be a brick.

Robber in All Saints Road

A masked robber armed with a meat cleaver threatened staff at Jones & Reeves Painting Contractors in All Saints Road at 7am on Thursday 29 October.

County council elections June 2009

The county council election results for the two divisions in the Headington and Marston area were as follows:

(1) Barton & Churchill
Liz Brighouse (Labour) and Roz Smith (LibDem) elected – Labour and LibDem hold

(2) Headington & Marston
Mohammed Altaf-Khan (LibDem) and Roy Darke (Labour) elected –- Labour gained one seat from LibDem.

Decision to demolish Northway Centre

The city council’s executive board has decided to demolish the Northway Centre in Dora Carr Close and replace it with affordable housing. The adjoining Northway Community Centre and sports hall were not be affected by the proposals.

Black Boy

Since 15 November 2009, the Black Boy restaurant has been open seven days a week. It is featured in the Good Food Guide 2010 and the Michelin Guide 2010.

In July 2009 the Black Boy’s planning application 09/01218/FUL for “Change of use of first floor to provide 5 en-suite guest bedrooms and a studio flat. New external door to replace existing window and new external fire escape” was approved.

By-election in Headington Hill & Northway Ward

Roy Darke held Maureen Christian’s former seat for Labour in the Headington Hill & Northway city council by-election on 26 March 2009 with 548 votes. Marc Borja (Conservative) gained 443 votes; Ruth Beer (LibDem) 378 votes; and Katherine Wedell (Green) 62 votes.

Maureen Christian died on 30 January at the age of 82. She first joined the City Council in July 1987 following a by-election in the Marston Ward. She served that ward until the 2002 boundary change and was then elected to the new Headington Hill & Northway ward. She lost her seat in May 2006, but regained it in the May 2008 elections.

Waitrose balloon

The above balloon floated over the former Somerfield store in Old High Street when Waitrose opened its first Oxford branch on Thursday 7 May 2009.

Gravestone inspection

Oxford City Council inspected the safety of thousands of gravestones in Headington Cemetery in week beginning Monday 7 September 2009.

Connell’s lose planning appeal

Connell’s Estate Agents failed to get permission to move across the road into the new shop on the ground floor of John Leon House at 138–140 London Road (on the corner of Holyoake Road).

In January 2009 the Planning Inspector upheld the city council decision that the new shop should remain in A1 (retail) use. His report states that the proposed swap of A1/A3 usage would be in conflict with Policy RC.2 of the Local Plan, as it would harm the vitality and viability of the Headington District shopping centre.

Wheatley Park School

Wheatley Park School, which many Headington children attend, became the second school in the county to be put on special measures in autumn 2009.

Balloon lands at Windmill School

On Sunday 14 June a hot-air balloon came very low over central Headington and made an emergency landing at the front of Windmill School.

Quarry Hollow Play Park

A new playpark with a sandpit and a specially carved rock made from Portland stone was vandalized just after it was opened on Saturday 4 July 2009.

London Marathon 2009

Former Headington Roadrunner Mara Yamauchi finished second in the women’s section of the London Marathon on 26 April 2009, while Mark Lygo, city councillor for Churchill ward, ran it in 4 hours 17 minutes in aid of Helen & Douglas House.

Telecoms masts

Vodafone planned to erect a phone mast on St Michael and All Angels Church in Jack Straw’s Lane.

They were granted permission for a “certificate of lawfulness for proposed development comprising the installation of a telecoms mast with antennas (11.5m overall height), and associated equipment cabinet” on the corner of Windmill Road and Rock Edge (08/01162/CPU).

Oxclean 2009

About eight groups in Headington & Marston took part in Oxclean on Saturday 7 March 2009. Pictures:

Thresher’s closes

Thresher’s off licence at 15 Old High Street closed in March 2009 after being up for sale for some time. This building was an off-licence since 1931: it was originally H. & G. Simonds, and later Arthur Cooper.

Sobell House shop

The Sobell House shop at 119 London Road reopened on Thursday 25 June following the completion of nearly six months of extensive building work at 119 and 121 London Road.

(The Jem-i-Ni flower shop, which had occupied the adjoining shop for 30 years, will not be coming back.)

Bellamy’s of Oxford Ltd were granted planning permission to demolish the existing single- and two-storey rear extensions and replace them with two-storey rear extensions to provide enlarged ground-floor retail space, and to subdivide the extended first floor along with the second floor to provide 4 flats (08/00144/FUL).

New Brookes bus and end of U10

Since 1 July 2009, the Brookes Bus service was provided by the Oxford Bus Company instead of Stagecoach. The U1 and U5 routes now have 80-seat Scania buses with leather upholstery, WiFi Internet connections, air conditioning, and real-time travel information screens.

A new evening and Sunday service on route 10 has replaced the old U10 service.

Hospital bus service improvement

The No. 700 Water Eaton Park-and-Ride service now serves the Churchill Hospital as well as the John Radcliffe.

Gipsy Lane estate students visited

In week ending 10 October 2009 representatives from Oxford City Council and Oxford Brookes University knocked on doors on the Gipsy Lane estate to talk to students about issues including recycling, litter, noise and bad landlords.

New charity shop

Central Headington’s eighth charity shop (Helen & Douglas House) opened on 27 January 2009 at 14 Windmill Road. It is a large shop offering a wide selection of secondhand furniture.

This shop had been empty since Balfour News closed down in October 2005.

Easter 2009 in Headington

See Margaret Stranks’s pictures on Flickr:


On Friday 6 February 2009, buses skidding on Headington Hill at about 8am were abandoned there, causing the road to be closed.

Cannabis farm in Cherwell Drive

Police on 18 January 2009 discovered the remains of a cannabis farm in Cherwell Drive, two doors away from the former premises of the Kitten Club. This is the fourteenth such farm found in Headington & Marston.

Eurodental opens

Eurodental opened as an NHS dentist at 61 London Road on 20 January 2009, after waiting two years for NHS funding.


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Oxford Heart Centre

The new £29m Oxford Heart Centre opened at the John Radcliffe Hospital on 19 October 2009.

Rubbish fines

Fines started in August 2009 for waste left beside wheelie bins (or putting out more than four lilac sacks). Any excess rubbish would no longer be collected.

Bury Knowle toilets reprieved

The toilets at Bury Knowle Park, which were among those earmarked for closure,were reprieved in 2009 by Oxford City Council.

Six Bells

The Six Bells in Quarry was taken over by the former landlord of the Butcher’s Arms in Wilberforce Street in October 2009.

Institute of Biomedical Engineering

This institute became a centre of excellence in medical engineering.

Cancer Centre

The new Cancer Centre at the Churchill Hospital opened to patients on Monday 16 March 2009.

The centre is on the site of Ritchie Russell House in the grounds of the Churchill Hospital, and the work (which began in March 2006) involved the relocation of the American Garden. The new hospital has 217 beds, ten theatres, a six-bed intensive-care unit, and new equipment.

The city council gave retrospective planning permission for a large wall, but this was built across two footpaths. County councillors at a planning and regulation committee fast-tracked the application to re-route the paths (05/02194/FUL).

Maggie’s Centre

Planning permission was granted in 2009 for a charity centre on stilts near the Julia Durbin day nursery.

Buses to Headington

Bus stops in central Oxford changed on 19 July 2009. The central stops for Headington buses are now as follows:

E3 and E2 on Castle Street for the 7c and 8 & 9 Headington buses

G5 on St Aldate’s for the Thornhill Park & Ride.

New community hospital

A new £3m Oxford Community Hospital opened on 20 October 2009 on Level 5 of the JR.

No trial closure of roads

The county council decided in November 2009 that it was inappropriate to proceed with the trial closure of Lime Walk and Latimer Road, mainly because of the risk to emergency response times.

Highfield residents had hoped to shut off these two roads at their junction with London Road to prevent motorists taking short cuts, and were pictured in the local press with Andrew Smith celebrating the “decision”:

Lord Mayor

Mary Clarkson, who lives in Headington and is a Labour city councillor for Marston, took over as Lord Mayor of Oxford on 14 May 2009.

Road repairs

Stowford Road in Barton was breaking up, while (as shown on BBC Oxford on 6 July 2009) the city council appeared to be making unnecessary repairs to other Headington roads such as Demesne Furze.

Residents in Raymund Road in Marston also said their road needs repairing, and following an attempt at a “Sponsor a pot hole campaign”, the work was done by the city council.

Stolen poppy tins: arrests

Two arrests were made in connection with the man and woman who stole four of Headington’s poppy collection tins, hiding them in their baby’s pram.

They took one from Londis on 27 October 2009; from Salon Scandinavia on 2 November; from Londis a second time on 6 November, and from Frog Orange on 9 November. They also attempted to steal a tin from Brambles on 9 November.

Cash machines skimmed

There were seven incidents of fraud at the Barclays Bank cashpoint alone between May and August 2009.

On Saturday 15 August a customer managed to remove a skimming device from the cash machine at the Abbey Bank in Headington. On just a single day in June about 80 customers from the Coventry Building Society alone had money stolen after using this machine when their own was out of action.

People who take money out at night are particularly vulnerable, as before the theft is noticed the thieves are able to withdraw the maximum amount of money twice: once before midnight, and once after.

Headington Festival

The 2009 Headington Festival was held in Bury Knowle Park on Sunday 7 June.

Therapy garden at Viking House

The therapy garden at Viking House in Saxon Way was officially opened by Blue Peter presenter Chris Collins on Saturday 27 June 2009. Viking House is a drop-in centre for disabled children, managed by Barnardo’s.

Residents’ meeting about Brookes

A public meeting to discuss the major concerns local residents have about the impact of studentification in East Oxford on their lives and of how such problems could be resolved was held on 23 September 2009.

Headington School music studio

Rock star Brian Eno opened Headington School’s new £4.5m music department at its foundation day celebrations on Saturday 5 July 2009.

Staff parking at NOC

Staff at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre were warned they would have to pay 15% more for parking permits, and those living within 20 miles of two park-and-ride sites may be refused.

White Horse/Hungry Horse

The White Horse pub on the London Road by Headley Way, became a “Hungry Horse” pub, in 2009 and was granted permission to serve alcohol from 9am on seven days a week (09/00518/PREM). It will not, however, be extending its opening hours at the other end of the day.

Armed robberies

In March 2009 Leigh Cooper (27) was jailed for six-and-a-half years with five armed robberies in Headington: Threshers off licence, Lloyds TSB bank, a bus in Barton, and two at Betfred.

Jon Shirley (23) of no fixed abode was charged in connection with incidents at the BP Garage in Cherwell Drive and Ambleside Drive, as well as in Wheatley and Beckley. Jamie Worthington-Hale (35) of Stockleys Road in Northway was charged with assisting an offender. .

Three pairs of gunmen responsible for eleven armed robberies in Headington were arrested:

(1)  Two men aged 18 and 34 were arrested on 23 December and released on bail for a series of gunpoint robberies including two in Headington (an Oxford Tube bus on the London Road and a taxi driver in Northway on 11 December).

(2) An 18-year-old and 17-year-old were arrested on 7 January and released on bail for one armed robbery in Headington (at the Tasty House takeaway in Cinnaminta Road on 17 December).

(3) Two men aged 27 and 53 were arrested on 8 January for eight armed robberies in Headington (a No. 8 bus in Barton on 8 January; Lloyds Bank on  5 January; Ladbrokes on 13 December, Threshers on 29 December and again on 4 January; and BetFred on 23 and 29 December, and again on 3 January).


Lloyds TSB An armed robber stole £1,000 from a cashier at 5.05pm on Monday 5 January.

Thresher’s off licence at 15 Old High Street was raided on 29 December and again on 4 January.

Ladbrokes at 103 London Road suffered an armed robbery on 13 December:

Betfred at Holyoake Hall was raided three times: on 23 and 29 December, and 3 January:

Taxi in Northway/Oxford Tube bus: On 11 December a man got in the back of a taxi in Borrowmead Road, Northway, and robbed the driver after putting a metal chain around his neck; and in the evening hit the driver of an Oxford Tube with a handgun and robbed him on the London Road.

Blue plaque for John Stansfeld

John Stansfeld, the Rector of St Ebbe’s Church who set up the Stansfeld Outdoor Centre in Headington Quarry, got a blue plaque in Paradise Square in 2009.

Stephen Road plans approved

On 18 December 2008 the Strategic Development Control Committee overturned the November decision of the Area Committee, so planning permission was granted (08/01961/FUL) for the site of 10 Stephen Road (currently two flats, garages and lock-up storage).

The approved application comprises: “Demolition of existing property to create 4x3 bed houses, 3x1 bed apartments and 1x2 bed duplex apartment. On plot car parking. Retention of existing commercial unit and parking at rear.”

Two earlier planning applications were both turned down and subsequently dismissed on appeal: the first was for 5×three-bed terraced houses and 2×one- bed flats (08/00047/REFUSE and 08/00274/FUL); and the second for 4×one-bed houses and 5 x one-bed flats, with the retention of the existing single-storey unit at the rear for commercial use and provision of on-site car parking (07/00090/REFUSE and 07/00456/FUL). An earlier application made in 2006 was withdrawn in February 2007 (/02346/FUL).

New cycle track to NOC

A new cycle route to the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre through the former children’s playground at the south end of Gardiner Street opened in early 2009.

Sir Isaiah Berlin plaque

On Sunday 7 June 2009 at 3pm a blue plaque commemorating Sir Isaiah Berlin was unveiled on the gate pier of Headington House. This is Headington’s third blue plaque: the others commemorate G. R. Girdlestone and C. S. Lewis.

The Latvian film studio Mistrus Media were in Old High Street on Tuesday 12 May filming Headington House for a documentary film entitled “Born in Riga” made to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Sir Isaiah Berlin on 6 June 2009.

Former sorting office site

“Lime Tree Mews” (the flats on the site of the former sorting office at Lime Walk) were completed in spring 2009 and let out by Scott Fraser.

The old frontage building was demolished, and a three-storey building with 7×one-bedroom flats erected; the remaining two-storey building was converted into 2×one-bedroom flats; and the existing single-storey building at the rear was altered to form three floors of commercial workspace (approved plans 06/01249/FUL).

Stock Shop opens at hospital

A branch of The Stock Shop opened at the Churchill Hospital in spring 2009.