Headington Community Council

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Headington Neighbourhood Forum’s Plan was made (i.e. approved) on 20th July 2017 and its Planning Policies are now being used, along with the City’s planning policies, to determine planning applications within the Plan’s area. In addition to the Planning Policies, the Plan included several Community Policies, the last of which is concerned with the formation of a successor to the Forum. That Policy, FC1, states:

The Neighbourhood Forum will plan and implement arrangements to create a successor body to oversee the implementation of the plan throughout the plan period.
The vision and aims of the Plan are will be achieved through a range of policies and projects. To secure the effective implementation of policies and projects following the Referendum will require that a successor body to the Forum is put in place at that stage. Such a body would monitor the implementation of the planning policies. It
would also initiate and manage the implementation of the community policies and projects by working with the local authorities and other stakeholders and the Headington community.
As the Plan is a living document there will be the need to regularly consult local people on implementation issues such as the development of new projects. There is a range of options for the form of the successor body, for example a charitable body such as a community trust, or a statutory body such as a community council similar to a parish council.
HNF has agreed to set up a working group to research and progress the development of a successor body.”

So the establishment of a Community Council to carry forward the work of the Headington Neighbourhood Forum and to implement the policies and projects of the Neighbourhood Plan has been a key policy of the Plan from the outset. The Community Council would be identical to a Parish Council with statutory authority.

Therefore, the Steering Committee, with the help of Headington Action, applied to the City Council to undertake the required first step to establish a Community Council, namely a Governance Review.

On 13th February 2019 the City Council unanimously agreed to carry out a review, which is expected to take place from April to June. This is essentially a consultation exercise to confirm that a Community Council would be suitable for Headington. If the outcome of the governance review is favourable elections for the Council would be held in May 2020.  The area will need to be divided into a small number of community/parish wards, probably about four, with a small number of community councillors elected from each ward, possibly four per ward.  The actual warding and number of councillors is to be determined by the City Council, with input from the Forum.

The benefits of a Community Council include a statutory right to be consulted on planning applications with greater influence on the future development of Headington and it would also protect and implement the Neighbourhood Plan and strengthen the identity of Headington. It would raise money for local projects through a small additional charge on the annual Council tax and it would provide a voice for Headington and encourage local people to participate in decisions about our future.

Oxford currently has four Parish Councils: Blackbird Leys, Littlemore, Old Marston, Risinghurst & Sandhills. As mentioned above, each Parish Council is funded by a small additional charge to the Council Tax.

We do hope members of the Forum will take part in the consultation exercise. Details will be set out in a pamphlet which will be delivered to all households in Headington in April. UPDATE: Due to the Euro Electiosn the Consultation has been delayed until June or July.

Community Infrastructure Levy

At its AGM in March 2018 Headington Neighbourhood Forum (HNF) agreed that the activity of the steering committee would continue in its steering and monitoring role while Headington Action (HA) would take on the responsibility of implementing projects and, where appropriate, applying for Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds from the City Council to assist implementation.  CIL monies may only be spent on infrastructure projects that reflect local priorities and are based on sound evidence. Such projects may include the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure, or anything else that is concerned with addressing demands that development places on an area.

Where a Neighbourhood Plan is in place the Plan’s area is entitled 25% of the CIL (15% if no Plan in place), which for Headington equates to about £60,000. A process for approving applications for CIL funding for projects in Headington has been agreed with City Council officers and a small number of CIL fundable projects have been prioritised by HNF/HA.

The first application for approximately £4,000 to extend the Mid-Winter Lights to a further two pavement trees in Headington Centre has now been approved.

An application is in the pipeline from the Friends of Headington Hill Park to construct some gates at the bottom of the park and also to improve the pedestrian access from Oxford Brookes into the park at the top.  HA have already funded a tree trail with noticeboards for the park and this will be in place shortly.

The HNF/HA Greening of Headington project group has had a scoping meeting and now seek some volunteers and a project manager. The hanging baskets could be the first scheme to be tackled.

HA’s Loneliness and the Isolated in Headington project has appointed a project manager.

Voluteers – HNF/HA urgently need people to help implement all these projects.  If you would like to help in any way, large or small, please contact either HNF  or HA
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Community Projects

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The Headington Neighbourhood Plan comprises both Planning Policies that are taken into account in planning applications and Community Projects (see AGM Agenda for priorities) that the Neighbourhood Forum wishes to promote or develop itself. 

Since the five-year life of the Forum is nearing its end (March 18th 2018) the next AGM (11am Saturday, March 10th 2018) will consider both the renewal of the Forum and collaborating with Headington Action to take the Community Projects forward.

UPDATE: The City had informed us that the official start date for the Forum was 10th September 2014, the date of the relevant City Executive Board Meeting meeting rather than the date of the first Forum meeting, so redesignation will be applied for in 2019.

Plan Referendum 4th May 2017

At their meeting on March 9th 2017 the City Council Executive Board warmly endorsed the Headington Neighbourhood Plan and approved its progress to a referendum to be held on May 4th 2017 coinciding with the local elections.

Members complimented the Neighbourhood Plan Forum for its achievement in being the first in Oxford to produce a Plan.

Chair, Mike Ratcliffe and Vice Chair, Patrick Coulter were present and answered questions from members including the development of a successor body to the Forum.

See the Forum’s stall at the Headington Market, Saturday 29th April.

See the whole Plan and leave comments here.

Oxford City Consultation on Draft Plan

Oxford City Council’s public consultation on the Draft Neighbourhood Plan (required by legislation) has now finished (on 7th October 2016).
The Consultation website can be accessed at oxford.gov.uk/headingtonplan

The mainly text version of the Draft Plan submitted to the Council is available here.

A more user-friendly pictorial version is available here.
(Note: minor edits on 26/09/16 and 06/10/16).

Oxford City Council has now appointed an examiner to consider the submissions to the consultation and will report in the near future – the date to be announced.

The Examiner and City have identified various amendments, to be reported to the Forum on 8th Feb 2017.

Draft Plan Approved for Consultation

At their meeting this evening the City Council Executive Board approved the draft Headington Neighbourhood Plan for formal consultation. Following the six week public consultation the Council in association with the Forum will make any necessary amendments and arrange for an independent external inspector to examine the draft Plan. If the inspector confirms that the Plan is satisfactory it will be the subject of a public referendum programmed for May 2017.

At the meeting Councillor Alex Hollingsworth who is the Board member responsible for Planning warmly commended the work of all those in Headington involved in preparation of the Plan. This was echoed by Councillor Bob Price (Leader) who praised the quality of the draft Plan and supporting documents. The Draft Plan was commended by City Councillor Mohammed Altaf-Khan while County Councillor Roz Smith attended in support.

Vice Chair of the Forum, Patrick Coulter, who attended for the Forum, took the opportunity to thank the officers for their support over the past two years and the Board for arranging the special meeting so that we could meet the May referendum deadline.