Abandoning Light Night is a disgrace

The Oxford Times: Crowds pack St Giles for the 2013 Light Night parade

4:11pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – At first glance I thought this was an April Fool’s day article (City council to abandon light night parade, April 3).

Policy of curbing growth is dead

4:09pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – The eye-catching pictures issued at the launch of the county council’s new transport strategy (Report, April 3) appear worringly divorced from its claim that the new policy will be evidence-based.

Monorail nonsense

4:07pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – Bus Users Oxford welcomes Oxfordshire County Council’s Connecting Oxfordshire concept but we deeply regret it almost ignores buses.

Rising to challenge

4:06pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – Oxford Civic Society welcomes Ian Hudspeth’s analysis that with 85,000 more jobs and 106,000 more homes coming to Oxfordshire by 2031 getting transport strategy right is crucial.

Inadequate buses

4:04pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – I find it amazing that Oxfordshire County Council are no further forward than a preliminary discussion regarding transport within and around Oxford.

Radical proposals

4:03pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – How wonderful to see such visionary, radical proposals for public transport for Oxford (Report, April 3), which not only would develop current needs but also extend to meet future development in industry, tourism and local needs.

Man-made hell

4:02pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – Like cycling and traffic one of the perennial letters page discussions is parking. The usual points of throttling local trade or being a rip-off have been well discussed.

Case for profit

4:01pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – It is alarming to read that the owners of Elms Parade fear they may face the draconian step of a compulsory purchase order which would enable Doric to proceed with their plans for the complete demolition and redevelopment of the West Way centre.

No queues at cinema

3:59pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – The controversial development by Doric Properties at Botley includes a cinema and I see from a recent issue of The Oxford Times that the proposed new Westgate will also have a cinema. I am totally mystified.

Gaseous dominance

3:58pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – Although Professor Graham Lee, having set off for the Arctic, may be uninterested in replies to his prominent letter (March 27), your readers may well be. When asserting the effect of volcanoes on the earth, he confusingly includes CO2 in his list and accuses others of naivety.

Well connected

3:57pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – I agree with the sentiment expressed by Ian Scott (Letters, April 3) at the inappropriate photograph of Christopher Gray at the Oxford Literary Festival (Report, March 27).

Gray really matters

3:56pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – You’ve done it again (Report, April 3)! Five photos to illustrate “the most prestigious” literary festival: Alan Titchmarsh, Ian McEwan, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman, and . . . a member of the public. But not just any member. Clearly, Gray matters.

Second to none

3:55pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – Not only do we have the luxury of living in a mostly delightful city but we are also blessed by a letters column second to none — I refer of course to The Oxford Times — letters from Prof Lee (climate change) and Jan Kowal (Doric–Botley) (March 27) are a case in point.

Rising prices hurt community life

3:51pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – Wilfully or not, Charles Bidwell (Letters, April 3) has been selective in his reading of my letter. I wrote that, “If the present trend continues, North Oxford will become an exclusive ghetto for the mega rich,” not that it already is.

Crying to the bank

3:50pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – Charles Bidwell is agitated over the proposed ‘Mansion Tax’ and asks how North Oxford residents are going to pay it (Letters, April 3).  

Housing targets

3:49pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – Council leaders dispute locations for 100,000 extra houses in the county over the next 20 years. Oxford city has an adopted plan, so claims it needn’t build any extra houses. Instead, other districts must absorb Oxford’s share as well as their own.

Infinitely capable

3:48pm Monday 14th April 2014

Sir – Those who believe in God believe that God is infinite.

Examine all Witney-Oxford travel options

3:31pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – Both Railfuture Thames Valley and Bus Users Oxford support Witney Oxford Transport (WOT), which campaigns for an Oxford-Witney rapid transit.

North Oxford not so rich

3:29pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – If Jim Campbell thinks North Oxford is a “ghetto for the mega-rich” (Letters, March 13), I suggest he comes and has a look around for himself. My immediate neighbours consist of the widow of a retired army officer, five academic families with both partners working, an optician, and two JR doctors with working partners, a computer programmer and a retired solicitor.

Shouting in deaf ears

3:28pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – The articles in The Oxford Times and many letters have been full of talk about housing — that more is needed, the unaffordability of houses in Oxford, fear of in-migrants and rich ghettos, traffic problems with new developments, and so on.

House-hunting packs

3:27pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – Recently, in The Oxford Times there was an advertisement by a well-known estate agent. It stated a self-evident fact regarding the demand for houses in Oxford: “The competition is fierce.”

Worship of Mammon

3:26pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – What a red herring Queen Street has become in the Westgate development debate.

Keep buses in centre

3:25pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – The Oxford Civic Society and the Oxford Bus Company are surely right to oppose the closing of Queen Street to buses, as envisaged by the county council with city council support (Report and leading article, March 20).

Review Green Belt

3:24pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – The Vale of White Horse District Council is proposing to build 20,560 new homes between 2011 and 2031. The draft Local Plan proposes five strategic sites for 200-plus houses in villages in the Oxford Green Belt. The Vale Liberal Democrats oppose all developments on the Green Belt.

Theme omitted

3:23pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – Giles Woodforde marred an otherwise strong review (March 27) of Refugee Boy, the West Yorkshire Playhouse production showing at the Playhouse last week, by omitting the central theme of this remarkable play. Far from being “brought to the UK by his father then ‘abandoned’,” Alem’s story is rather a version of the Nazi Kindertransport.

Badly-made case

3:20pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – I continue to be disappointed that The Oxford Times is publishing Graham Lee’s letters on the subject of climate change.

Mistaken advice

3:19pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – When you reported the erection of the so-called ‘Taichi Arch’ on the forecourt of the Ashmolean Museum, you described it as ‘a permanent memorial’ to Professor Michael Sullivan.

Lack of medal beggars belief

3:18pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – I read with interest the letter from Wing Commander Jim Wright, late of 97 Squadron, in which he paid deserved tribute to the airmen from the Occupied Countries who served with distinction in RAF Bomber Command (March 20).

Dissatisfied veterans

3:18pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir — The commemoration of the 70th anniversary on March 24 of the ‘Great Escape’ from tunnel ‘Harry’ in the German POW camp in Poland must have been well covered in the media.

Totally disillusioned

3:16pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – In May 2011 we were elected as Independent members of North Hinksey Parish Council (NHPC). In our election campaign we called for the saving of essential local services, including Botley library and Seacourt petrol station and voiced our opposition to new housing developments and retail outlets on the grounds that they would only add further to our infrastructure problems.

Curious choice

3:15pm Monday 7th April 2014

Sir – The Oxford Literary Festival is an event of considerable cultural significance. It seems curious that your collection of pictures of the festival (March 27) includes a picture of Christopher Gray enjoying a chat and a drink at a dinner party. Ian Scott, Abingdon

Human activity is a small factor in climate change

The Oxford Times: Human activity is a small factor in climate change

11:12am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir — Well, it was entirely predictable that my dissenting voice would produce howls of protest from the vociferous global warming protagonists, and with a barrage of shots attempting to shoot my reasonings down in flames.

Covered Market could be at risk

11:08am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – Recent events mark a new low in the relationship between the Covered Market traders and the city council.

Empathetic views

11:06am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – Cara Robertson is right, the status of the Turin Shroud is not so important (Letters, March 13).

Tax on education

11:04am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – Chalgrove and Watlington parents may be annoyed to discover that Oxfordshire’s Tory Cabinet has handed a tax-free bonus to Carterton parents by adding a sixth form to their local school, while doing nothing to help the young people forced to change school at 16 in the east of the county.

Course is green jewel

11:03am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – Build on Southfield golf course, suggests Adam Dawson (Letters, March 20).

Loss of character

11:02am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – I refer to your article about the restored Lumley Tea Building (Report, March 13). Shirehall Properties, the owners of the restored retail units in Jericho are quoted as saying: ‘Mainstream retailers have shown little interest due to the relatively limited floor space and display space... with concerns over footfall etc.’

Big data plans

11:01am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – As many of your readers will be aware, last July the University of Oxford was granted outline planning permission for the proposed development at the Old Road/Park Hospital campus. Prior to the submission and subsequent approval of the planning application, a number of public consultation events were held in order to ensure that our neighbours and interested parties had an opportunity to be properly informed regarding the proposed development. We are now considering the first phase of development. The specific buildings being proposed are the Big Data Institute — which will develop approaches for generating, storing and analysing large datasets in medical science for a better understanding of human disease and its treatment — and the Amenities Building, which would serve the whole campus. We would like to share our plans with local residents and also obtain their feedback. Therefore we have arranged two public consultation events, scheduled for Friday, March 28, 4-7pm, and Saturday, March 29, 10am-1pm, at the Old Road Campus Research Building (the Green Building), off Roosevelt Drive, Headington. Several members of the university team, including our consultants, will be attending these meetings to provide more information and answer any queries. We look forward to welcoming all interested parties to these events. Carolyn Puddicombe, Director, Asset and Space Management, University of Oxford Estates Services, Oxford

Homes for Londoners

11:00am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – I refer to your article (March 20) concerning the proposed development in Elsfield Way, which will involve demolishing four older houses and replacing them with 22 flats, six large semi-detached houses and parking spaces for about 30 cars.

Insidious threats

10:59am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – Traditionally Oxfordshire has always been regarded as a rural county, indeed on the coffin map of urban England, stretching from Lancashire to Kent, Oxfordshire was the only notable green break with only five per cent of its land in urban use.

Better than guessing

10:58am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir –  The Vale of White Horse District Council Draft Local Plan identifies a "need" for up to 20,560 new dwellings by 2031. I do like the “60”. How precise! If only the Meteorological Office could predict weather in 2031 to four significant figures! But is this number as robust as the VWHDC seem, or perhaps want, to believe? Apparently it is derived primarily from a modelling exercise conducted by Cambridge Econometrics (CE). Unfortunately, models are only indicative, not predictive. I have worked with some of the best modellers in Europe. None would claim their models could achieve outputs more accurate than about +/- 50 per cent. It would be useful to know the accuracy CE places on its estimates. All models are highly sensitive to the values assigned to some input variables. A sensitivity analysis could identify these variables and how they affect the results but none is presented. Nor does CE explain how input variables are treated in their model or how externalities, such as rises in global energy and commodity prices, would affect forecast growth in the local economy and jobs market. It is the latter that drives estimation of population growth. I am not a fan of the “predict and provide” philosophies of the Blair, Brown and Cameron administrations. That is management not governance. Nevertheless it would seem prudent to identify a hierarchy of sites suitable for future additional housing need if/when it arises but the present extravagant plan forecast of 20,560 new dwellings is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. While perhaps better than pure guesswork, models do not provide a reliable means for irrevocable policy development. Dr Ron Barnes, Denchworth

Out-of-scale scheme

10:57am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – With only a few days to go before the deadline for comments to the Vale on Doric's plans for the Botley centre, 427 responses have been posted. I’m certain the number will increase by the time the guillotine falls.

No need for new religion

10:56am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – There is no need for Daniel Emlyn-Jones (Letters, March 20) to invent a new religion based on compassion rather than dogma. The Unitarian movement has evolved over 350 years into a liberal religious community, imposing no creed, and open to people of all faiths and none.

House price risk

10:55am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – There is a concern that now those retiring with a significant pension pot are no longer forced to buy an annuity they might invest instead in the buy-to-let market, which will push up house prices.

Local solution is best

10:54am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – I read in the letter last week that 12,000 people have signed the petition to save Temple Cowley Pool. I agree with the writer: if that is not enough to halt these plans then the principle of democracy itself is at risk.

Not bad Government

10:53am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – As a long standing Liberal Democrat involved with the Coalition, I find Nick Cotter’s reason for resignation from the party illogical (Report, March 20). Liberal Democrats have managed to achieve most of our manifesto commitments.

Manners maketh man

10:52am Monday 31st March 2014

Sir – Recently I received an unsolicited ‘phone call. When the caller asked me if I was satisfied with my bank and then asked “which is your bank ?” I refused to answer that question, having said I was satisfied. I then said that I did not like being interupted by these intrusive calls. Just before he slammed down the ‘phone on me, the caller said: “Go to hell!” I have no right of reply as he witheld his number. Anne Matthews, Shipton-under-Wychwood

Stop the badger cull

The Oxford Times: Stop the badger cull

11:11am Monday 24th March 2014

Sir – The truth is starting to emerge about the Coalition’s unpopular pilot culls.

Exacerbating inequality

11:09am Monday 24th March 2014

Sir – Jim Campbell’s vision of North Oxford as “an exclusive gated preserve for the mega-rich” (Letters, March 13) is, sadly, wrong. It’s going to be worse than that.

Build on golf course

11:07am Monday 24th March 2014

Sir – Re: 100,000 homes: The “Paris of Oxford”: I note with interest that the Southfield golf course is approximately 55 hectares, which, if developed to the density of a city such as Paris or Barcelona, would create 22,000 homes.  



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