New Temple Cowley Pools & Fitness Centre!
The decision by the Labour controlled Oxford City Council to close Temple Cowley Pools is just one of many being made across the city that blatantly ignores the wishes of the people. Democracy in Oxford is indeed dead. This page highlights just a few of these issues. At the heart of pretty much all of these issues is the megalomaniac ambition of a what is only a district council to expand the city and completely transform its character.
East Oxford Community Centre - EOCC needs YOUR help - NOW!
More clear and obvious evidence of megalomania from our district council. On the pretence that the community run centre is not financially stable, Oxford City Council has stepped in and despite extended discussions has issued the Trustees with a notice to quit at the end of August. The Council proposes to take over running EOCC itself; the immediate threat is that the cost to users renting space or using it for events will go up. Longer term inevitably it will go for housing of some sort. The spectre of the Barns Road fiasco raises its head yet again, where the Council demolished a wonderful community centre, including a complete ballroom, and gave the land to a developer in exchange for two community 'rooms' each the size of two disabled toilets. It means, inevitably, uncertainty and doubt within a community that views anything the council does as suspicious. Particularly where the council has linked issues with the bar with EOCC as a whole; the two operations are completely financially independent, but the council has used the failure of one as an excuse to take over another community operation. Yet again zero thought or concern for what facilities the people of Oxford actually want and need, where they want and need them.
Follow up to meeting with City Council on 17th August
The Council met with trustees of the East Oxford Community Association on 17th August. Artwell was there as well, and followed up the meeting with this letter to Tim Sadler ---------->
The response, any response, from the letter is awaited. See lower down the page for more information and most importantly what you can do...
THIS IS APPALLING - WHAT CAN I DO?
SEE THE VIDEO UPDATE ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THIS PAGE --->
1. Email [email protected] with offers of help - the group needs more support
2. Show your support by coming to the march from Manzil Way to the city centre on Bank Holiday Monday, noon. Bring 'ears' to help the council listen to us!
3. Sign the petition - email [email protected] to find out how.
Northway and "Barton Park"
Northway estate is under threat from the housing expansion across the A40, where the city council is donating our land to build a new community of about 900 homes. An exit from the new Barton estate will run across the A40 and directly through Northway. This means the destruction of a barrier between Northway and the A40 that has been in place since the 1950s, shielding residents from noise and keeping children safe by preventing them wandering onto a busy road.
This is a BIG issue for residents, who feel they are ignored by their elected representatives and that no-one is listening to or acting on their concerns. This is yet more evidence that the monolithic controlling Labour group is strangling democracy in Oxford. The videos below provide more information and insight into what is happening. If any councillor, or a council representative, or someone speaking on behalf of the developers, wants to provide an alternative view then please contact [email protected]
This video shows a view of the barrier that Oxford City Council destroyed, without warning and during the nesting season. This is an illegal act, but since it would be the council that normally prosecutes offenders the residents aren't expecting anything to happen anytime soon. And as you will hear on the video, the trees don't actually belong to the council, but were planted by a community-minded person in the 1970s after she won a competition for 100 saplings.
You can clearly see the destruction, the metal fence that is due to be taken away, the sound coming from the A40, and the secure green space that provides a safe play and recreation area soon to be destroyed - all for the benefit of another community.
In this interview, Northway resident Georgina Gibbs talks about the destructino taking place on the estate and how it will endanger the residents.
This video is a recording of a presentation by the developers made to Oxford City Councillors on 11th May 2015.
From a democracy point of view, note the first few minutes where an anonymous (no council badge, no mention of his name) council officer tries to prevent us from recording. You will note also the flurry of concern amongst the councillors as they try and work out a way of preventing a perfectly legal act (filming a council meeting). Never be put off - it is a right now enshrined in law because councils like the Labour-controlled Oxford City Council refused voluntarily to allow the public to do this,
And then there is the presentation itself, followed by questions, eventually from the public and a comment at the end from Georgina Gibbs. The Northway residents' frustration is evident, as is the intransigence of the councillor trying to run the meeting (Cllr Roy Darke, Labour, represents Northway so should be directly accountable to the people he is clearly trying to shut up).
It's a mantra of pretty much all councillors - 'the city needs more housing'. Every initiative is justified using the housing need. It's accepted. But why? What evidence is there that building more houses in Oxford will address whatever the existing housing need is?
The SHMA is a sham, with the original figures and projections being dismissed by City Planning (who of course know far more than Central Government) and revising the housing demand in Oxford up. This is then used to justify an attack on the Green belt that has protected Oxford for decades. The original SHMA forecast a drop in demand for housing in Oxford by 2020; this actually seems reasonable, since house prices are going up and will at some point reach a peak where pretty much everyone thinks of them as unaffordable. Not good enough for the City Council though - who had the report altered to show a need for 28,000 more homes by 2030.
The Northern Gateway, much opposed for many years, is yet another example of how business issues, and decisions taken behind closed doors, are overriding the City Council's obligations to run the city for the benefit of the people. A cosy deal between the Northern Gateway Consortium and the Council is clear in their statements around how they will combine 'consultation' with the already set in stone "Northern Gateway Area Action Plan".
Northern Gateway is a great illustration of how the 'housing need' is being used by all parties to justify the scheme, either in part or as a whole. 500 houses - but at the same time creating a business park targeting thousands of new jobs - how, exactly, does this go any way to address the housing need?