Manor Ground development

The building of the Manor Hospital on the cleared Manor Ground continued throughout 2003.

Central Headington shops
  • Cancer Research UK shops The one near Oxfam has had a refit, while the other (between Abbey National and the Trade Exchange) became a specialist secondhand record and book shop.
  • Spiers Blake An application for the change of use of the upstairs offices at 95 London Road to a dental surgery has also been allowed.
  • Daly’s Butchers was demolished and will be rebuilt. A second planning application was submitted for the site, for a shop with offices above
  • Oxford Mail, 5 Jan 2003:
    Abusive shoplifters make life a misery for traders
  • Oxford Mail, 15 Jan 2003:
    Council to act on car park floods
Headington Quarry Post Office

Following a consultation in 2003, it was decided that Headington Quarry Post office would close. Headington Post Office on London Road was to be improved to cater for the extra customers, with an additional counter being installed and increased opening hours. The same services would continue, with the addition of motor vehicle licence facilities and the exclusion of lottery.

New Park & Ride to Churchill

A new Park & Ride service started in 2003 from the Thornhill Park & Ride to the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Windmill Road, and then through the hospital site to the Churchill Hospital. Staff were then banned from parking at the Churchill if they lived near the M40 and were thus able to use this service; but some threatened to resign.

Bazaar opened by Paxman

Jeremy Paxman opened All Saints bazaar in Church House, New High Street on Saturday 29 November 2003:  picture. The bazaar raised £1,600 for the Children’s Society.

On its gift day in November, All Saints Church raised the record sum of £23,000.

Headington mugger sentenced

Ian Sleight was sentenced to five years in prison for the following robberies in June 2003 of vulnerable people in Headington:

  • 16 June: stealing the handbag from an 82-year-old lady in Cuckoo Lane (her hip was broken in the attack)
  • 20 June: stealing a wallet from a 79-year-old man in Latimer Road
  • 22 June: attempting to steal the handbag of an 83-year-old woman in London Road

Sleight, aged 41, had been a drug addict for 25 years. He was homeless and lived under a bridge in Blackbird Leys, but sometimes stayed at an address in Headington.

Botnar Research Centre

Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles opened the Botnar Research Centre at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre on 22 October 2003.

SANE Research Centre

Prince Charles opened the SANE Research Centre at the Warneford Hospital on 5 February 2003

Charity shop break-in

Thieves broke into the Marie Curie Cancer Care shop on the London Road through a rear widow and stole about £250 from a locked filing cabinet on the night of Tuesday 4 November 2003.

Brookes buys Milham Ford School

Oxford Brookes University purchased the Milham Ford School site in 2003 for its School of Health and Social Care.

Speeding driver banned

James Morrelli of Coniston Avenue and a graduate of Oxford Brookes University was banned from driving for one year for reaching speeds of over 80mph down Headington Hill at 8.46am on 11 August 2003.

Mobile phone mast

Headington Telephone Exchange (in front of the Manor Ground) was granted planning permission to erect new telecommunications equipment on its roof on behalf of Hutchison 3G. The mast is quite small and only covers the area from Old Headington to Old Road. Similar masts will be sited elsewhere in Oxford to prepare the city for the new “Three” range of mobile phones with pictures.

£5,000 stolen from newsagent

A thief stole a bag containing £5,000 from the manager of Balfour News in Windmill Road as she was taking the money to Headington Post Office at about 9.25am on Monday 27 October. The theft took place on the corner of Holyoake Road and the bag was found empty in Bury Knowle Park.

Cricket ground, Barton Road

A planning application for the erection of 40 dwellings on the cricket ground in Barton Road was rejected by the City Council’s Strategic Development Control Committee in 2003. Another major sporting facility in Cowley was dependent on the development of this site, which is worth £2million.

Headington Community Centre

Firefighters with breathing apparatus tacked a fire at the community centre in Gladstone Road on Sunday 6 April. A burning object is believed to have been put through the letterbox, and an office and the roof were damaged.

Headington accident caused by vandals

Vandals kicked in the control box that operates the traffic lights in central Headington on the night of Wednesday 1 January, and at 4.15 in the morning two cars collided at the junction of Windmill and London Road.

School name controversy

Barton Village First School is moving to the Bayswater Middle School site in September when it becomes a primary school. Barton Community Association think that Barton should remain part of the name, but the head teacher is adamant that it should be Bayards Hill Primary School. This name is not known by local historians.

Local Plan

The deposit period for the second draft of the Oxford Local Plan 2001–2016 ended on Friday 4 April 2003. Changes made since the last draft include the addition of DS69A (Ruskin Hall site) and more definite proposals for cycle routes from Northway to Pullen’s Lane and Downside Road to Windmill Road.

Hill Top House

The application to build five mews houses in the garden of Hill Top House, a listed building at the top of Headington Hill, was approved by the full city council on 17 February 2003 after being called in. The voting was close (16 for and 16 against), and the Lord Mayor’s casting vote decided the matter. The houses are now in the process of being built and can be seen from the road

Background: In January 2001 Oxford city council granted planning permission for a similar earlier application, but on 27 June 2002 Martin Young (Chairman of Headington Hill Residents’ Association) successfully challenged in the Appeal Court plans for five new houses in the garden, on the grounds that the council had failed to consider a policy statement by English Heritage.

20 Beech Road

Councillors at the area committee meeting on 24 June 2003 voted to approve the erection of eleven flats (03/00852/FUL).

Councillor on the run

Stephen Tall, city councillor for Headington ward, completed the Blenheim 10km charity run in aid of the Oxford Children’s Hospital on Sunday 19 October 2003 in 49 mins 3 secs.

Cuckoo Lane monument

A stone was placed in Cuckoo Lane, just to the west of Headley Way, in 2003. It reads: “Cuckoo Lane. This stone was dedicated on 4th May 2003 in memory of Marjorie and Stanley Harris.” Some local people felt that it resembled a tombstone and was out of place here. The stone was commissioned by Ruth Harris of Brackley from the Stile Company. Highway officers allowed it to be erected on the grounds that it is a street sign, which does not require planning permission; but in future such unusual road signs proposed for Oxford will have to go through the planning procedure



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Cheney gets specialist status

Cheney School was one of four Oxfordshire schools in 2003 to be awarded specialist status by the Government, which means up to £750,000 in extra funding over four years. The school, which has more than 200 bilingual students, was awarded the status in Languages.

Thornhill Park & Ride

With 27 attacks on cars in the first two months of 2003, people were advised not to leave their cars overnight in the Thornhill Park & Ride carpark.

The Thornhill Park & Ride was extended in 2003 to 950 spaces.

Pubs news
  • The White Hart in St Andrew’s Road had a refit in 2003. It was taken over by Linda Vinall and Dick Underwood.
  • The Britannia reopened as a pub-restaurant in July 2003 . It is now part of the Mitchell’s & Butler Ember Inn chain.
  • Morrells Brewery is planning to demolish The Fox in Barton and build a new pub and housing on the 0.9 acre site:
    Oxford Mail, 7 May 2003: “Pub plan divides community
It’s the Manor Hospital

The new hospital on the Manor Ground site will be called the Manor Hospital, following pressure from the Oxford Mail. The original name chosen, the Nuffield Hospital Acland, was felt to be too confusing.

Cars set on fire

The Slade Fire Station in Headington dealt with 117 arson attacks on cars in year to June 2003.

Ruskin Hall

In 2003 Ruskin College was planning to move to part of the former Unipart site on the Woodstock Road, but their deal with Berkeley Homes fell through. They were planning to sell their buildings and land in both central Oxford and in Headington to fund the move. According to the Guardian, they hoped to get £6m–£12m for their main Headington site and £1–£2m for their smaller one on the opposite side of Stoke Place.

Ruskin College, whose main building is in central Oxford, has in addition occupied the former Rookery in Old Headington since 1946, and Stoke House on the other side of Stoke Place since 1965. The 20-acre site includes a large orchard, woodland, and fields down as far as the northern bypass, and was taken into the Old Headington Conservation Area in December 1998, and every tree there has a Tree Preservation Order.

Crime in Headington shopping area

On Sunday 9 March 2003 a robber fled from Thresher’s in Old High Street at 12.40pm with only £60 after threatening the female assistant (a Brookes student) with a handgun.

On Friday 14 March at 8.20pm a teenager went into Posh Fish on London Road and snatched the whole till, driving off in a red vehicle. On the same evening at about 9 p.m. youths stoned buses as they passed along London Road, and later that night a brick was thrown through the window of the Coventry Building Society/

On Saturday 15 March at 2am a robber threatened a female assistant with a gun in Budgens Express and got away with a three-figure sum: Three youths, two aged 17 and one aged 16, have been arrested for the offence.

Burglars in Stile Road

Three burglars tricked their way into the home of two sisters aged 89 and 91 in Stile Road around 10pm on Monday 22 December 2003 by pretending to be police officers, and stole up to £400.

Latimer Road flats

A planning application for a development on the site of 18 and 22 Latimer Road was refused (04/00855/FUL). This was for "Demolition of existing houses and outbuildings. Erection of two 2-storey and one 2/3 storey buildings comprising 6 flats (2x2 bed, 3x3 bed and 1x1 bed) and 8 houses, 4 with garages (8x3 bed). New access and provision of 18 parking spaces. Bin store and cycle store. (Amendment to planning application 02/02152/FUL by the addition of 1x1 bed flat)".

Shotgun deaths in Risinghurst

At 3pm on Friday 4 April 2003 a man and a woman, both aged 33, were killed by shotgun wounds in Kiln Lane, Risinghurst. It is believed that the man fired three shots at his wife in front of their 3-year-old and 18-month-old sons and then killed himself.

Stephen Road bones

The bones discovered on the building site in Stephen Road on 30  November 2002 turned out to be older than was thought. Oxford Archaeology identified them as belonging to an adult Anglo-Saxon female who lived during the fifth or sixth century AD. She was buried with a necklace, two brooches, a copper alloy pin, and an iron knife. These are the only Anglo-Saxon remains to be found in this area, and will probably go to a museum. The police were initially called to the site in the centre of Headington, where Scott Fraser Ltd are building 14 flats.

Oxford Cancer Centre

Outline planning permission was granted at the area committee meeting on 20 May 2003 to demolish Ritchie Russell House and erect two new buildings to form the Oxford Cancer Centre at the Churchill Hospital.

Crossing for Headley Way

Following public pressure by Sybil Sheringham Dibdin, the county council decided to site a pedestrian crossing on Headley Way near Cuckoo Lane.

Background: Emma Dibdin, 14, of Staunton Road was hit by a car as she crossed Headley Way on her way to Headington School, prompting a demand for new pedestrian crossings before those planned for 2004. Emma is the daughter of the well-known author Michael Dibdin, formerly of Oxford but then living in Seattle.

New house in Latimer Road garden

At an area committee meeting on 20 May 2003, plans to build a second house in the garden of 40 Latimer Road (facing on to All Saints Road) were approved (03/00608/FUL).

Escaped prisoner

Kenneth Wilson, sent to prison for 18 years in 1994 for robbery with violence, escaped while receiving treatment at the John Radcliffe Hospital on Thursday 26 June, but gave himself up in Humberside the next day. The Home Office is to hold an enquiry into how he escaped from his two guards.

Ghost report

The report of the investigation into the ghosts at the White Hart in Old Headington gets the facts about the pub are all wrong (it was never a coaching inn, and it was built in the sixteenth century)….


Neighbours complained about the shabby state of the shark house, but the shark itself was still exciting worldwide interest, with the shark page on this site receiving over two hundred visits a week from all over the world, mostly via search engines.

In June 2003 Granada Television filmed a programme about the shark for the Discovery Channel’s series The World’s Most Bizarre Buildings, interviewing both the pro- and anti-shark brigades.