Headington News: Sunday 28 November, 2021


Oxford City Planning Committee

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 7 December 2021, The agenda will be published here

(The former East and West area planning committees were replaced by a single Oxford City Planning Committee in May 2021.The minutes for all the meetings of the old East Area Planning Committee can still be found here)

Hula Hoop in Bury Knowle Park

Free hula-hooping in Bury Knowle Park, all ages, hoops supplied:
Sunday 19 December, 1–3pm
Sunday 9 January, 1–2pm
Sunday 30 January, 1–3pm

Headington Christmas Lights & Tree

These will be switched on (without ceremony) in the natural trees of the shopping centre on Friday 19 November,

On Saturday 4 December from 4.30pm there will be music and food at the switching on of the Christmas Tree

Headington Market

The market has returned to its permanent home on the London Road:
Saturdays, 9am to 2pm

There will be an additional market on Wednesday 22 December from 9am to 2pm.

Barton Park development

A major new planning application has been submitted relating to the completion of Phase 2 and the whole of Phase 4, which includes the commercial buildings:

The current situation is as follows:

  • Phase 1: Hill has completed all of its 237 homes (“Mosaics”)
  • Phase 2: Redrow hopes to have completed 60 out of 207 homes by the end of 2021 (“The Steeples”)
  • Phase 3: Countryside Housebuilding West is preparing to start building 441 homes (press release)
  • Phase 4: The contractor for the final phase is yet to be announced.

For full details about the whole development, please see the separate page: Barton Park development

Heritage Asset nominations

This consultation on the second batch of Heritage Asset nominations is now underway (closes 31 December 2021). Each nomination has to be commented on separately: you do not have to comment on them all

Four of the nominations are in Headington::

New Institute for Global Health, Old Road campus

The following planning application was approved by the Oxford Planning Committee on 22 November 2021::

“Construction of 4552 square metres of office, research and teaching space (F.1 Use Class) for the Institute for Global Health. Provision of an outbuilding to provide cycle parking, bin storage and associated sprinkler system with associated hard and soft landscaping works”.

Oxford Brookes: John Garne Way development

On 12 October 2021 the Oxford Planning Committee refused this revised application by Oxford Brookes University to replace twelve buildings at Clive Booth Hall in John Garne Way, but it was called in to the Planning Review Committee by thirteen city councillors (details here), and was approved at its meeting on 11 November 2021. It is for:

“Demolition of twelve buildings (including main accommodation Blocks C, F, G, H, J, K, L and M) and erection of twelve buildings to provide student accommodation, with ancillary communal and social facilities and associated administrative building (Class C2). Erection of children's nursery (Class E). Alterations to car parking, installation of cycle parking structures and associated landscaping works, including reorganisation of existing footpaths and cycle ways, drainage features and ancillary development. Installation of a waste compactor unit and alterations to an existing road to enable access”

The Cuckoo Lane footpath

Brookes has amended its planning application relating to the Cuckoo Lane footpath, which includes partial demolition of the boundary wall (which is curtilage listed) to form a new entrance gap, and closing the existing gap.

The county council also proposes to put in a cycle path on Cuckoo Lane, but this is not part of the current application.

Redevelopment of Headington Co‑op site

Public consultation by Cantay Estates re plans for a hotel and a smaller shop on the site of Headington Co-op at 152 London Road was held on 20 October 2021. Those who did not attend can see the plans and respond here.


Early in 2020 the sale of this freehold site with vacant possession was advertised by JLL, with the closing date for offers 12 March 2020:

The site was bought by Cantay Estates of St Thomas's Street, Oxford (who also redeveloped another Co-op Building, Holyoake Hall, in 2005). On 1 December 2020 Midcounties Co‑op informed its members that they had sold the Headington Co‑op site to developers because the Headington store did not fit the long-term strategy of the Society, but that they hoped to operate a convenience store on the site following the redevelopment.

Midcounties Co‑op originally stated that the developers would be seeking planning permission to build a unit with shops on the ground floor and residential flats above, and the JLL brochure above mentions “alternative use potential, including student residential, subject to planning”. Hence both the original press release by Cantay Estates and the local press refer here to flats rather than a hotel:

Midcounties Co‑op required an option to retain a convenience store with a gross internal area of c.4,000sq. ft within any development, paying a market rent. (For comparison, the ground-floor area of the present Co‑op, including “back of house”, is 14,752 sq. ft.)

The whole Co‑op site that has been sold measures c.0.6 acres and includes the car park on the opposite side of Stile Road. The current rateable value of the property is £230,000 p.a.

Headington Co‑op was originally on the corner of Windmill Road with extra shops under Holyoake Hall from the 1930s. In 1979 it moved to its present purpose-built premises on the site of the former Eyles & Coxeter garage. Headington Post Office moved inside this shop in February 2016, and Co‑op Travel in September 2021.

New permitted development rights

New permitted development rights (PDRs) were introduced in September 2020, allowing up to two extra floors to be built on top of existing dwellings without planning permission (provided that conditions are met).

So far there has been one request for approval, by Lucy Developments: This is for a two-storey rooftop extension on Flats 1–9 Girdlestone Close to provide six extra two-bedroom flats

Cyclists' deaths in Headington

Three cyclists have died in Headington in the year 2020/1:

  • Samantha-Sue Blackborow (35) of Columbine Gardens, Blackbird Leys, a nurse on her way to work, died on the Horspath Driftway near Aldi after a collision with bin lorry at 8.50am on Tuesday 3 November 2020. Coroner's verdict: road traffic collision
  • Ashley Brown (37) of Headington (on an electric bike) collided with a bus shelter at the junction of Lime Walk and Old Road on Tuesday 29 June 2021 and died the next day in the John Radcliffe Hospital
  • Jennifer Wong (32), PA to Pro-Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes Professor Linda King, died at the junction of Headley Way and Headington Road after a collision with a crane mounted on a truck on Sunday 26 September 2021 Tribute by her parents
Headington Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs)

A formal consultation on the proposed Headington LTNs was due to take place in December 2021, and if agreed a six-month trial will take place from summer 2022. This has now been put on hold.

Details of the proposals are here on the Headington LibDem website:

Residents from across Headington formed a group called Headington Liveable Streets in May 2020. Join their mailing list to find out what is going on.

Ruskin College takeover
Main campus in Stoke Place

Ruskin College was taken over by the University of West London (“The Career University”) in July 2021, following the last-minute dropping of the proposed merger with Activate Learning.

The adopted Oxford Local Plan allows further student accommodation on the current Ruskin site, and allocates the southernmost third of the Ruskin Fields as a potential development site.

Stoke House on the east side of Stoke Place

After renting Stoke House from Ruskin College for a year, in March 2021 Linacre College, Oxford (which is changing its name to Thao College) bought the site from them.

Planning permission has been granted to Linacre College for : “Insertion of sliding doors to east elevation and the provision of an external cycle store. Internal alterations to include the removal of partitions to create a reception area, installation of kitchenette and WC and removal of fabric to ground floor and removal of 1no. cupboard and [im]mersion heater to first floor (21/01723/LBC).

A second major development at Thornhill

The Shaviram Group submitted the following planning application on June 2021 for a major development behind and to the west of their existing Thornhill Court and Marley House flats at the Thornhill Park development (in the former Nielsen's offices):

“Proposed development of 402 apartments (Class C3), a 133 bed hotel (Class C1), employment provision in the form of an Innovation Centre (2,200 sqm), with additional mixed use accommodation to include office space, gym, café and restaurant (all within Class E), public open space, associated landscape, bicycle and car parking and the provision of a new vehicular access onto the A40”,

Care home in Jack Straw's Lane

Validated on 4 June 2021:

“Demolition of existing carpenter's yard buildings, 302, 304 and 312 Marston Road and 1 and 3 Jack Straw's Lane. Erection of residential care home (Use Class C2) with associated landscaping and car parking”

Local elections: 6 May 2021

On 6 May 2021 elections took place for all 63 seats on the county council and all 48 seats on the city council. (All seats had to be contested because of the new ward boundaries.) In addition there was an election for the Thames Valley police & crime commissioner.

Oxford City Council results

In each ward the person in first place gets a three-year term and the one in second place a one year term. The following have been elected:

Barton & Sandhills ward
Tanagra Nala-Hartley (Labour) for three years
Mike Rowley (Labour) for one year

Churchill ward
Susan Brown (Labour) for three years
Mark Lygo (Labour) for one year

Headington Ward
Mohammed Altaf-Khan (Liberal Democrat) for three years
Christopher Smowton (Liberal Democrat) for one year

Headington Hill & Northway Ward
Nigel Chapman (Labour) for three years
Barbara Coyne (Labour) for one year

Marston Ward
Mary Clarkson (Labour) for three years
Mick Haines (Independent) for one year

Quarry & Risinghurst Ward (after five recounts)
Roz Smith (LibDem) for three years
Chewe Munkonge (Labour) for one year

Full results for the above six wards

Oxfordshire County Council results

All four current county councillors have been re-elected for another four-year term

Barton, Sandhills & Risinghurst division
Glynis Mary Phillips (Labour)

Churchill & Lye Valley
Liz Brighouse (Labour)

Headington & Quarry
Roz Smith (LibDem)

Marston & Northway
Mark Lygo (Labour)

Full results of the above four divisions

Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner

Matthew Barber (Conservative) was elected.


New ward boundaries from 6 May 2021

New ward boundaries in Oxford came into effect on 6 May 2021. On 5 February 2019 the Local Government Boundary Commission published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Oxford City Council:

The main changes for the Headington area include:

  • Barton Park estate is now part of Barton & Sandhills ward
  • Area between Bury Knowle Park and Barton Road (including Bury Knowle Park itself) has transferred from Barton & Sandhills ward to Headington ward
  • Staff accommodation in John Radcliffe grounds has transferred from Headington ward to Headington Hill & Northway ward.

(The boundary changes were originally due to come into effect in May 2020, but this was postponed because of the pandemic.)

Headington's Green Belt

(1) Land North of Bayswater Brook

This land is now all owned by Christ Church and stretches from the Marston flyover to the Bayswater Road. Initially 1,100 houses are planned. The developers have postponed the public consultation on the development until after Christmas, as they are awaiting confirmation from the County Council that neither a link road between the A40 at Marston Interchange and east of the Thornhill Park and Ride nor a high- capacity link road through the site between the Marston Interchange and Bayswater Road are required.

(2) Bayswater Farm, Sandhills

In mid-February 2021 Lone Star Group Ltd of Henley-in-Arden announced here on LinkedIn that they were “delighted to announce the acquisition and promotion of land at Bayswater Farm, Oxford. The site will deliver c130 dwellings”.

The Lone Star Group state here that they have acquired 7 hectares of “prime Oxford real estate at Bayswater Farm” for a private client, and the number of dwellings has increased from 130 to 150. They anticipate a planning application later in 2021.

Interim Minister appointed for All Saints' Church

Following the retirement in 2020 of the Revd James Cocke who served as Vicar of All Saints' Church for 63 years, the Revd Leon Catallo was appointed Interim Minister there for three years from the beginning of July 2021. He was formerly one of the associate ministers at St Ebbe's Church in Headington.

New intensive care unit at JR

Plans have been approved for a new five-storey adult intensive care unit with 48 beds on the site of the former Barnes building at the John Radcliffe Hospital:

Voi e-scooters

Headington has been selected by Oxfordshire County Council and Voi e-scooters for a twelve-month trial of e-scooters to rent. This started on 18 February 2021 following the granting of a licence to operate has to the county council by the Department for Transport.

They are allowed on most of Headington's roads and cycle lanes but banned on pavements, and can only be used by people over 18 with a provisional or full driving licence. The are covered excludes Wood Farm, Barton, Sandhills, and Risinghurst (except for the Risinghurst cycle route to the Park & Ride), and takes a little bite out of Marston (see map).

Privately owned e-scooters will reman illegal during this period.

Two new bus services through Headington

In January 2021 the following two bus services started to run:

Stagecoach H5:
Bicester to John Radcliffe Hospital

Via Ambrosden, Islip, Barton (opp. Stowford Farm, Wick Close, Barton Village Road), and Barton Park (west end)

Thames Travel X3:
Abingdon to Barton (Underhill Circus), via JR Hospital

Via Redbridge Park & Ride, St Aldate's, John Radcliffe Hospital, Barton Park

295–301 London Road: Plans approved

The full planning application for the redevelopment of the existing Sikh Gurdwara and “Demolition of existing two-storey building. Erection of a part two-, part three-storey building to create 5 x 2 bed and 2 x 1 bed flats. Provision of bin and cycle storage along with private amenity space” was approved by the East Area Planning Committee on 2 September 2020. The plans were called in and subsequently approved by the Planning Review Committee on 15 October 2020:

This building was built for the Currill family in 1890 as a house and a shoe shop. In more recent years it was occupied by Sharp & Howse.

Two earlier planning applications

(1) A planning application submitted in February 2019 was withdrawn: this was for “Outline application with all matters reserved apart from scale and access for the demolition of existing two storey building comprising offices at ground floor level and 2 x 1-bed flats at first floor level and its replacement with a three-storey building comprising eight flats (2 x 1-bed flats, 4 x 2-bed flats and 2 x 3-bed flats) along with access to the rear at the site (serving a car park belonging to the adjacent Sikh Temple). Provision bin and cycle storage and private amenity space.”

(2) A planning application for the conversion of existing offices on this site into two shops was approved on 7 February 2018:

McDonald's: Drive-Thru rejected

The application by McDonald's to demolish the former Carphone Warehouse at 298 London Road and erect a single-storey extension to incorporate a drive-thru lane has been refused:

Consequently McDonald's have withdrawn a second application for “Display of 4no. internally illuminated digital menu boards, 3no. non-illuminated banner signs, 2no. non-illuminated accessible parking bay signs, 1no. parked bay order sign, 4no. non-illuminated litter sign, 4no. non-illuminated no entry signs, 4no. non-illuminated pedestrian signs, 1no. non-illuminated speed limit sign”:

An earlier application for a drive-thru facility here was rejected in 1996: McDonald's went to appeal, which was refused:

Covid-19 medical progress in Headington

(1) Vaccine: The Jenner Institute on the Old Road campus with the Oxford Vaccine Group at the Churchill Hospital developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that was approved for use in the UK in December 2020 and the first vaccination in the world took place at the Churchill Hospital on 4 January 2021

AstroZenica will produce the vaccine at its three new Oxford Biomedica facilities (Oxbox) at Transport Way, Yarnton, and the Oxford Business Park.

(2) Treatment: The Recovery Trial of drugs to treat Covid-19 patients is led by the Nuffield Department of Medicine and the Nuffield Department of Population Health

(3) Modelling A team at the Nuffield Department of Medicine has produced a simulation suggesting that a digital contract-tracing app could be effective:

(4) Discovery of the gene that doubles the risk of death from Covid‑19 at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital: details

New 5G telecommunications masts

City council planners have granted planning permission for five 5G telecommunications poles and ancillary 5G equipment in Headington, and there will also be 5G antennae on Plowman Tower in Northway.

Two further applications are pending, and two have been rejected.

Barclays Bank (all floors)

This bank at 105 London Road (on the corner of Old High Street) closed on 1 May 2020, and is being converted into a shop with two floors of flats above.

(1) Ground floor + basement shop

This has now been let, and a planning application for a new door on the south side for was approved on 23 September 2021: the plans were produced for  Mujtaba & Salman Ltd of 40 Shelley Road in Cowley, the nature of their business being “unlicensed restaurants and cafés”

The building was advertised as a retail unit ideal for café/restaurant use. (This change of use is permitted development under the Use Classes Order that came into force on 1 September 2020.)

On 6 August 2020 an earlier planning application for “Change of use of basement and ground floor from financial and professional services (Use Class A2) to drinking establishments (Use Class A4)” was refused:

The developers Bradford Securities Ltd of Wolvercote put in all the following applications for the extensive redevelopment of the first floor and the building of an additional floor.

(2) First floor conversion into flats

  • On 29 October 2020 a planning application to determine whether this office space could be converted into three flats under permitted development rights was withdrawn (20/02339/B56)
  • On 29 December 2020 prior approval was granted for an application to determine whether this office space could be converted into one one-bedroomed flat under permitted development rights (20/02783/B56)
  • On 30 December 2020 an application to certify that a proposed change of use to create two apartments was lawful development was approved (20/02773/CPU)
  • On 7 July 2021 details of bicycle storage were submitted (20/02783/CND)

(3) New floor on the roof with three flats

An appeal against Oxford City Council's refusal of the revised planning application to build three flats on top of this bank was allowed on 21 July 2020 (but it is uncertain now whether they are going to be built):

This approved planning application was for three one-bedroom apartments on a new floor on top of the bank with new access at the rear. The new storey would have had external cladding of smooth anodised aluminium with a bronze finish.

This earlier application was withdrawn:

In December 2020 an additional planning application relating to a non-material amendment to allow photovoltaic panels on the roof was approved:

Two developments by the Beechers

Jonathan and Sarah Beecher of Beecher Acoustics in Quarry High Street are responsible for a major developments in Quarry that is nearing completion, and another in Risinghurst which is still at the planning stage. Tony OX3 gives details here of the company names used by the Beechers (The Wychwood Foundation, and Quarry Mews Ltd).

(1) Six houses in Quarry High Street

These are now nearing completion, but concern is being raised about the height of the block and its closeness to the street.

The original planning application for the site (05/02065/FUL) was withdrawn following opposition by local residents.

The amended planning approved application was for:
“Demolition of existing workshop building and outbuildings. Retention of existing shop and one bedroom flat. Erection of 2-storey workshop building, with music room and office. Erection of 6 x 1 bedroom dwellings in a 3- storey terrace. Alterations to the existing access and formation of 9 car parking spaces (3 for the workshop and 6 for the dwellings)”.
The workshop behind Beecher Acoustics at 1 Quarry High Street is already complete.

A separate application was submitted for “Conservation area consent for demolition of existing workshop building and outbuildings” and this includes documents relevant to the new buildings as well as the demolition, plus the comments on the application, but this has reverted to the original application approved in March 2006:

An application originally submitted in January 2020, “Details submitted in compliance with condition 2 (Samples of exterior materials) of planning permission 06/00023/FU” was resubmitted in March 2021 but has now been removed:

An application submitted in December 2020, “Details submitted in compliance with condition 7 (new tree pit / planting specifications) and 16 (confirmation of contaminated soil removal/replacement) of planning permission 06/00023/FUL” was refused in February 2021:

The following application was submitted in March 2021:

“Details submitted in compliance with conditions 3 (Details of the stone wall), 4 (Details of the building/alterations and external finish), 7 (Landscape plan), 9 (Details) 10 (Parking) 12 (Footway) 16 (Desk-top study) and 18 (Front boundary) of planning permission 06/00023/FUL”:

(2) Nine apartments and new road near C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve: WITHDRAWN January 2021

In 2016 the Wychwood Foundation submitted the following application to build housing for vulnerable adults adjacent to 4 Wychwood Lane with new road access beside the nature reserve, but it has still not been discussed at the East Area Planning Committee:

“Erection of 2.5 storey building to provide 9 apartments (4x3 beds, 3x2 beds and 2x1 beds) on behalf of the Wychwood Foundation. Provision of ancillary facilities, 22 car parking spaces, cycle parking and amenity space. Creation of new vehicular access from Lewis Close”.

This access road runs very near the reserve. Over 200 people have objected to the application, and the "Save the C. S. Lewis Nature Reserve” petition to Oxford City Council currently has nearly 6,000 signatures.

New hospital accommodation approved

On 6 November 2019 the East Area Planning Committee approved the following two planning applications submitted by A2 Dominion South Ltd:

(1) Ivy Land Flats on JR site

“Demolition of existing buildings. Phased construction of key worker housing comprising 56 cluster units, 21 x one-bed studio apartments, 48 flats (17 x one-bed, 31 x two-beds), management office and associated works including parking and landscaping”.

Currently there are 408 key-worker bedrooms on the Ivy Lane site, and the new development will provide 468.

(2) Site adjacent to Randolph Court on the Churchill site

“Demolition of existing buildings. Construction of key worker housing (19 cluster units) and associated works”

Oxford Mail, 8 November 2019: “Nurse recruitment at heart of drive for new Oxford hospital accommodation

Oxford Mail, 2 October 2018: “New staff accommodation at John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals planned

Ampleforth Arms

Star Pubs and Bars (the owners since March 2018) have refurbished the Ampleforth and are advertising a new lease at £39,000 per year:

The following planning application submitted in December 2017 appears to be still outstanding:
“Part demolition of the existing public house. Part redevelopment and conversion to create a new community run public house at basement and ground floor level. Creation of 1 x 1-bed, 3 x 2-bed and 2 x 3 bed apartments (Use Class C3) and erection of 1 x 3-bed dwellinghouse (Use Class C3). Provision of private amenity space, landscaping and car parking”

There were plans to rename it the Risinghurst Arms:

New developments on Old Road campus

Work started in September 2019 on the £35m Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine on the corner of Churchill Drive and Roosevelt Drive:

This is a partnership between the University of Oxford, the British Heart Foundation, and a philanthropist, and will bring together 220 world-leading scientists to tackle serious heart problems.

The Institute is on Plot B3, one of five plots on the Old Road campus for which outline planning permission was granted in July 2013:

Planning applications for the new Institute

The University of Oxford submitted two detailed applications in mid-2019 relating to the proposed Plot B3 on the corner of Churchill Drive and Roosevelt Drive, and both have been approved:

(1) “Details submitted in compliance with condition 4 (Restrict building heights), condition 5 (materials), condition 6 (Landscape and public realm), condition 7 (Protection of trees), condition 8 (Arboricultural method statement.), condition 10 (Landscape management), condition 11 (Boundary treatments), condition 18 (Sustainability strategy), condition 19 (Foul & surface water), condition 20 (Sustainable drainage), condition 21 (Ground contamination), condition 22 (Vibration and piling), condition 23 (Petrol / oil interceptors), condition 24 (Noise attenuation), condition 25 (Internal & external lighting), condition 26 (Cooking smells), condition 27 (Repeat ecological surveys), condition 29 (Habitat creation), condition 31 (Archaeological watching brief) of planning permission 12/02072/OUT”.

(2) “Application for reserved matters (appearance, landscaping, scale and layout) for plot B3 to create institute of Developmental Regenerative Medicine (IDRM)”:

Two public consultations were held at Boundary Brook House on 8 & 9 February 2019 on the University's plan for this site. They would like the new development to be a bridge between the campus and the neighbouring residential area, offering attractive landscaping and amenity space for both. The IDRM would “bring together 200+ world-leading researchers to tackle the most pressing scientific and clinical problems in the fields of developmental biology and regenerative medicine”.

Precision Cancer Medicine Institute

Universities, Science, and Cities Minister Greg Clark visited the Old Road campus on 23 October 2014 and announced that a new £110m cancer centre, the Precision Cancer Medicine Institute would open in Headington. It will be on the Churchill Hospital site, south of Roosevelt Drive and will have 200 workers studying drug, surgery, and radiation therapy in cancer patients.



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Shop and businesses changes in 2021
The Oxford Fine Food Store

The Oxford Fine Food Store (an artisan food emporium) was due to open in the former Queen's Bakery in Windmill Road in January 2021, but it is still not open. It is owned by Lamb Catering (the company of Simon and Samantha Stonehouse who run the Black Boy) .

Jacobs & Field

Jacobs & Field at 15 Old High Street moved out completely in May 2021 after being closed for some time following liquidation, but reopened on 9 October 2021

Lumière Medispa

Lumière Medispa (formerly based at the 310 Dental Care Clinic at 310 London Road, Risinghurst) opened in the former HSBC Bank building at 108 London Road on 11 November 2021.

Medina Foods Market

The Medina Foods Market opened on 9 October 2021 in the former Buongiorno e Buonasera restaurant, which closed in July 2019.

In 2020 Silverlynx Ltd was granted planning permission as follows for these premises at 92 London Road:

  • January: Change of use of from Shops (Use Class A1) to Restaurants and Café (Use Class A3) (19/02230/FUL),
  • July: installation of a second double-door entrance from the London Road (20/01238/FUL), with drawings showing two numbered units.
Headington Barbers: now in central Headington

93 London Road

Headington Barbers moved from their shop near the roundabout into the former Helen & Douglas small charity shop (which did not reopen after lockdown and was cleared out in May 2021).

Marie Curie Cancer Care charity shop

108–110 London Road

This closed in September 2021

The Tile Shop Ale House

10 Windmill Road

This new pub opened when lockdown was eased on 12 April 2021. The planning application for change of use of part of the former Oxford Wills/English Rose Kitchens to a drinking establishment was approved in September 2020:

Bank closures in Headington

HSBC closed on Friday 18 June 2021

Santander closed on 12 August 2021

This follows the closure of Barclays in 2020. In addition the Coventry Building Society at 135 London Road will close on Saturday 8 January 2022

V & F Beauty Lounge

142a London Road

This opened in the former vaping shop (next door to the former post office) in October 2021.

A change of use from Shops (Use Class Ea) to Restaurants and cafés (Use Class Eb) and takeaway (Sui Generis) have been refused.

There is a notice implying that the left-hand part of the shop that cuts into the former Post Office will open as “Yummy Noodle Tea” soon.

Former Co-op Travel Care

Unit 1, Holyoake Hall

Co-op Travel Care has moved into the Headington Co-op, and it is possible that Headington Post Office may move here temporarily while the Co-op store is rebuilt.

Lemon Garden

113 London Road

Lemon Garden, a café that serves desserts, fully opened here on 1 June 2021.

Finders Keepers occupied these premises from December 2015 but moved to bigger premises across the London Road on 1 July 2019.

Costa Coffee replaces Caffè Nero

On 26 March 2021 Costa Coffee opened in the former Caffè Nero shop, which closed down in February 2021.

Oxon Groceries

The former AGN Groceries in the old Post Office building has been refitted and has changed its name to Oxon Groceries.

Former “Exciting Game” premises

Upstairs at 123 London Road

A planning application to convert the upstairs of Mojo's into two apartments has been approved. The “Exciting Game” escape room occupied these premises from December 2013 to the summer of 2019. A planning application (19/02214/FUL) for change of use to a sui generis massage parlour was approved in November 2019, but the pandemic intervened.

Vacant premises in Headington centre
Former Lloyds Bank

85–87 London Road

This bank closed on 16 September 2019, and the whole building is being advertised to let at a rental of £83,000 per year, with a sublet income from the offices on the top two floors, both of which are still occupied..

Former Santander Bank

This closed on 12 August 2021 and its former premises (ground-floor only) are advertised to let at £32,500 pa:

Former Japlene

6 Windmill Road

This retail shop closed at Christmas 2018 and moved to 28 The Hill, Garsington. In May 2020 planning permission was granted for “Change of use of ground floor shop (A1) to Restaurant and Cafes (A3). Change of use to first floor from shop (Use Class A1) to 1 x 1 bed flat (Use Class C3). Erection of part single, part two-storey rear extension, formation of external staircase to north and west elevations, insertion of 1no. door and 1no. rooflight to north elevation, insertion of 1no. rooflight to west elevation and alterations to fenestration to east elevation. Provision of bin and cycle stores”: 20/00812/FUL.

Planning permission was granted on 5 April 2019 to convert the first floor into a flat (19/00057/FUL).

An earlier planning application submitted in December 2019 (19/03224/FUL) was called in and then withdrawn on 12 February 2020. This was for “Change of use of ground floor from shop (Use Class A1) to Restaurant and Cafe (Use Class A3) and change of use to first floor from shop (Use Class A1) to 1 x 1 bed flat (Use Class C3). Erection of part single, part two storey rear and side extension, formation of external staircase to north elevation, insertion of 1no. door and 1no. rooflight to north elevation, insertion of 1no. rooflight to west elevation and alterations to fenestration to east elevation. Provision of cycle stores”.

Former Marie Curie Cancer Care

108–110 London Road

This shop became empty in September 2021.

Planning applications for 4–9 dwellings

On 9 September 2019 the Planning Inspector for the 4 Lime Walk planning appeal confirmed that that no provision for affordable housing need be made on that site. This undermined the city council's HP4 policy (which required developers of sites capable of accommodating 4–9 units to make an affordable housing contribution of 15% of gross development value): see Head of Planning Advice Note

Developers were very pleased with this decision: see for example these Bright Properties articles: A victory for small developments in Oxford” and Oxford's Housing Policy Pickle,

The ten consequent planning applications for small developments of more than three dwellings in Headington are listed below, followed by details of the Lime Walk decision.

Site of Quarry Gate pub, 19 Wharton Road APPROVED

A planning application was registered in July 2021 for: “Erection of a 1 x 4-bed dwelling with garage (Use Class C3) and 4 x 2-bed apartments (Use Class C3). Provision of landscaping and bin and cycle storage”:

5–7 Jack Straw's Lane: REFUSED

A planning application for “Proposed demolition of existing light industrial buildings. Erection of 4 x 3-bed dwellinghouses and 4 x 4-bed dwelling houses (Use Class C3)” was submitted in May 2021:

Early application “Proposed demolition of existing light industrial buildings. Erection of 4 x 3 bed dwelling houses and 4 x 4 bed dwelling houses” was refused (21/00216/FUL)

1C Barton Lane PENDING

Demolition of existing dwelling. Erection of a two-storey building to create 2 x 1-bed and 2 x 2-bed flats (Use Class C3). Provision of bin and cycle store

91 Lime Walk APPROVED

Demolition of existing dwellinghouse (Use Class C3) and garage. Erection of a two storey building to create 5 x 1 bed flats and 3 x 2 bed flats (Use Class C3). Provision of bin and bike stores.

40 & 42 Dene Road PENDING

Conversion of two houses into six flats

Demolition of existing single-storey rear extension, 2no. garages, 1no. outbuilding and partial demolition of front extension. Erection of two-storey bay extension to front elevation. Erection of a two-storey rear extension. Subdivision of existing dwellinghouses (Use Class C3) to create 4 x 2 bed flats and 2 x 1 bed flats (Use Class C3). Alterations to roof to form hip to gable and formation 1no. front dormer in association with loft conversion. Insertion of 4no rooflights to front elevation and 4no. rooflights to rear elevation. Conversion of existing outbuilding habitable space. Installation of 24no. solar panels. Provision of private amenity space, car parking, bin and cycle stores

3 New High Street REFUSED

Five flats and two maisonettes at the side and back of this house

The following planning application refused on 11 January 2020: “Demolition of existing two storey side extension. Erection of a single-storey rear extension and a three-storey side and rear extension to create 3 x 1-bed and 2 x 2-bed flats (Use Class C3). Erection of a two-storey detached building to the rear to create 2 x 1-bed maisonettes (Use Class C3). Provision of bin and cycle storage.

20 Osler Road APPROVED

To replace a detached house with five flats

This planning application was approved at the East Area Planning Committee meeting on 1 July 2020. It was for “Demolition of existing dwellings and garage. Erection of 2 x 3-bed, 2 x 2-bed and 1 x 1 bed flats (Use Class C3). Provision of private amenity space, bin and bicycle stores”

Separate applications have been made for the site of the bungalow in the garden (20A Osler Road) in relation to this application, but two applications for an additional two houses have been refused:

153 Headley Way APPROVED

To replace detached house with two blocks of four flats

A planning application was submitted in November 2019 for “Demolition of existing two storey dwelling and garage. Erection of 2x two storey buildings to create a 1 x 1 bed flat, 1 x 3 bed flat and 2 x 2 bed flats (Use Class C3). Provision of car parking, bin and cycle storage, private amenity space and associated landscaping”

295–301 London Road APPROVED

Final approval for the amended plans was granted on 17 September 2021, namely “Demolition of existing two-storey building. Erection of a part two-, part three-storey building to create 5 x 2 bed and 2 x 1 bed flats. Provision of bin and cycle storage along with private amenity space. Re-provision of the existing Sikh Gurdwara including additional floor space at first-floor level”:

75 Headley Way: WITHDRAWN

A planning application was submitted in September 2020 for “Demolition of existing single-storey garage. Erection of a two-storey building to create 4 x 1 bed flats Provision of amenity space, bin and cycle stores. No. 75 to remain”

THE TEST CASE Land to the rear of 4 Lime Walk
First application: Six flats to replace MOT facility

This was refused by Oxford city council, but allowed on appeal

Second application: Eight flats to replace MOT facility

Following their successful appeal, Biggin Morrison Investments Ltd submitted a new planning application for 4 Lime Walk, increasing the height of the proposed building to accommodate another two units (making eight flats in all). This was refused in July 2020, and the appeal dismissed in July 2021:

Third application: Eight flats to replace MOT facility

In March 2021 a new application was approved for “Erection of part four-, part three-storey building to create 4 x 1-bed flats and 3 x 2-bed flats (Use Class C3). Erection of single storey building to create 1 x 2-bed flat (Use Class C3). Provision of private amenity space, bin and cycle stores, alterations to landscaping and formation of 1no. disabled parking space”:

New office building for All Saints Road

Building started in autumn 2018 of a new two-storey office building in All Saints Road between Nos. 7 and 9 (at the rear of 73 Lime Walk):

An earlier application for an office building here was approved in September 2015 (15/02281/FUL), but an application to remove conditions from the plans was refused in May 2017 (17/00435/VAR).

It is understood that Linfield Construction, which is currently based at 74 Lime Walk, will occupy the office. They have permission to turn their old main office at 74 Lime Walk into a house under permitted development rights, and are currently seeking permission to turn the building behind into more accommodation: details of both on “Offices to flats” page

Offices becoming flats


Nielsen's, which was on the London Road near the Thornhill Park & Ride for 60 years, sold their 12-acre site to developers in 2016 and moved to the Oxford Business Park in March 2018, and their old building and annexe have been converted into 134 flats, which are available to rent:

Since May 2014 the conversion of B1(a) commercial property to C3 homes can be granted immediately under permitted development rights as long as specified aspects (such as transport and highway impacts, and contamination and flooding risks) are checked first. In December 2017 an application submitted by Shaviram Headington Limited (incorporated 10 July 2017) for “Change of use of Nielsen House and annex from office (Use Class B1(a)) to residential (Use Class C3) to provide 114 x 1-bed flats and 20 x 2-bed flats” was approved:

Two earlier applications were made by a different developer, Headington Developments Ltd (incorporated 29 January 2016 and dissolved on 18 June 2019):

  • In July 2016 the first plan by Headington Developments Ltd was not approved because the developer provided insufficient information relating to flooding and contamination risks (16/01394/B56)
  • In December 2016 prior approval was granted to Headington Developments Ltd for “Change of use of Nielsen House and annex from office (Use Class B1(a)) to residential (Use Class C3) to provide 30 x 1-bed flats and 63 x 2-bed flats”(16/02678/B56).

These two articles relate to the earlier planning applications:

Other similar conversions in Headington

When the government brought in this scheme in 2013, officials anticipated that it might result in as few as five extra conversion projects a year across the whole of England, but so far there have been ten successful applications in the Headington area alone:

Consultation on Oxford Local Plan 2016–2036

On 8 June 2020 Oxford City Council adopted the Oxford Local Plan 2016–2036. It includes housing on the Valentia Road recreation ground, development of the south part of the Ruskin fields, and enhancing the function of Cuckoo Lane as a walking and cycling route.

Repatriation tributes in Headley Way

The John Radcliffe Hospital houses the Armed Forces Department of Pathology, and when members of the forces are killed their bodies are taken there. The funeral cortège passes through Marsh Lane and Headington on their way to the hospital. From March 2008 to May 2014 the Royal British Legion, joined by members of the public, held 153 repatriation tributes for 321 members of the services outside St Anthony of Padua Church in Headley Way, but thankfully such repatriations are at present rare.

There was a campaign for a memorial to be put on the roundabout at the Final Turn to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Sign up on the official Oxfordshire County Council website to be notified of any future repatriation dates and times:

Site of former Quarry Gate pub

The Quarry Gate pub was demolished in 2015.

The fourth planning application by Seville Developments was approved on 19 October 2021. This is for:
“Erection of a 1 x 4 -bed dwelling with garage (Use Class C3) and 4 x 2-bed apartments (Use Class C3). Provision of landscaping and bin and cycle storage”:

The third planning application was approved in June 2021 for:
“Erection of 3 x 4-bed dwellinghouses (Use Class C3). Provision of car parking, private amenity space, bin and bike stores”:

The second planning application was approved on 22 May 2020:
“Details for reserved matters for the (appearance, landscaping, scale and layout) of outline application (seeking approval of access, layout and scale) for the erection of 1 x 3-bed dwelling and 2 x 4-bed dwellings, pursuant to outline permission 17/02142/OUT”:

The first planning application by Seville Developments was refused on 19 June 2018 on the grounds that it “fails to relate to the strong sense of character of the surrounding area”. It was for:
“Erection of 1 x 3-bed and 2 x 4-bed dwellinghouses (Use Class C3). Provision of private amenity space, bin and cycle storage and car parking spaces”:

Can’t find a news item?

Older news items are moved to separate pages. Links to news pages from 2001 to 2018 can be found at the foot of this page.

HMO legislation

A house in multi-occupation in Oxford must have C4 planning permission, which is unlikely to be granted in streets that already have a high proportion of student housing. The following appeals by landlords relating to the refusal of change of use from C3 to C4 status in Headington have been refused:

In addition, since 24 February 2012, Oxford City Council regulations have required that a house with just three or four unrelated occupants is licensed as a HMO. Licences for these smaller houses are awarded subject to modifications being made within six months (e.g. a cooker now has to have a work-surface on each side; there must be a wired in smoke-detector on each floor and a heat detector in the kitchen; the kitchen area must be fitted with a fire door; and where the front door can be double-locked, a box with key and hammer has to be attached to the wall).

Cycling report recommendations for Headington

Andrew Gilligan, former cycling commissioner for London who helped deliver London's first segregated cycle superhighways, has produced the following report, published on 2 July 2018, for the National Infrastructure Commission:

He reports that five high-quality segregated or low-traffic routes should be created in Oxford, of which two pass through Headington: see paras 72 and 74, reproduced below.

72. Eastern Arc – Main road route, segregated or semi-segregated throughout, along London Road from Brookes University to Headington, Thornhill park and ride and continuing to Wheatley, including major improvements to Barton roundabout. Branches to John Radcliffe Hospital via filtering on Osler Road; to Old Road campus and Churchill Hospital site via filtering on Lime Walk. Links with existing "Access to Headington" scheme on The Slade and Headley Way. This route, particularly aimed at "last mile" cyclists, would link Thornhill park and ride to many major employment and university sites in the Eastern Arc.

74. Marston cyclepath – Extension of existing, successful route from new Marston to John Radcliffe Hospital and New Barton via short stretches of improved track on Marston Road, filtering on Jack Straw's Lane, better crossings of Marston Road and Headley Way, improved track on the hospital approach road, crossing of A40. The "Access to Headington" plans for this section of Headley Way don't provide a good enough crossing.

Headington city council ward

The LibDem councillors have a website with news relating to the central Headington ward. As their ward includes most of the central shopping area, it will also be of interest to people in other parts of Headington.

Headington Action revised grant schemes

Headington Action can provide small grants for projects that will benefit the local community.  There are two types of grant: Small Sparks Grants offer start-up funding, typically to enable new projects to ‘get off the ground’, while Community Support Grants provide for other community activities.  Normal limits are £250 for Small Sparks and £500 for Community Support Grants. 

Application forms and further details are available here on the Headington Action website.

Letting out driveways for parking

In July 2015 JustPark wrote to nearly every household in Headington suggesting that they could earn £1500 a year renting out their driveway. A search for "Headington, Oxford, United Kingdom" on their website reveals that over 100 people in the area were already doing this with them:

Prices range from £3.80 per day for Spring Lane and Bayswater Road to £21.30 per day for Old Road.

Similar companies are also operating in the area: ParkLet and Your Parking Space and Park on My Drive.

Property in Headington owned offshore

Private Eye has put online an interactive map showing all English and Welsh property acquired by overseas companies since 2005.

If you search for Headington, you will see that some large properties in the centre of Headington such as Kennett House and Dorset House are owned abroad, as well as some smaller ones such as those occupied by the NatWest Bank, Starbucks, and Boots. There are also individual houses (including houses in multiple occupation) owned in the British Virgin islands.

Community newspapers

The city council's six regeneration areas have a community newspaper, and three of these areas are in the Headington district. See the latest editions here:

Oxfordshire Blue Plaques

Bullingdon Community Centre

The rebuilding of Bullingdon Community Centre has been postponed to address the city council's Coronavirus funding gap:

The following planning application submitted by Oxford City Council via their agent Jessop & Cook architects for the demolition of the current Bullingdon Community Centre (which is in poor condition) and its replacement by a new building of light grey brick with green metal cladding was approved in February 2020:

The new designs for the replacement centre were revealed by the city council in July 2019.

The initial plans approved in March 2018 for “Part demolition of existing community centre. Erection of part single part double height front and side extension” were abandoned when the city council discovered that a filled-in quarry was buried beneath the building:

Why the name Bullingdon?

“Botnar 3” plans

Preliminary work took place on the Botnar 3 site in 2018, and work started in earnest in 2020.

Plans submitted by Nuffield Orthopaedic Limited for a new development at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre were approved by the East Area Planning Committee in January 2017. They are for “Demolition of temporary office building. Erection of freestanding two-storey research building (Botnar 3) with glazed footbridge link to existing Botnar Research Centre building. Provision of 4 disabled car parking spaces and covered cycle store for 200 bicycles”.

This building will be connected to the present Botnar Research Centre on the other side of the access road by a bridge).

Three plans relating to this application have been approved:

  • Erection of new electrical substation: 16/02686/FUL
  • Formation of replacement car park for eight vehicles for a temporary period: 16/02688/FUL