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Cancer centre plans fuel concerns over traffic
HEADINGTON residents have raised more traffic concerns after the announcement of a multi-million-pound cancer centre on their doorstep.
The area in the north east of Oxford is already home to five hospitals, two higher education campuses and one medical research facility, with residents said these institutions are putting a huge strain on its infrastructure.
Last week Chancellor George Osborne announced the new £138m scheme, as part of a £1bn investment into new science.
He said: “The problem is the very high level of institutional development in the area over the past 10 years.
“It is not that people are not keen on these institutions, but there has not been enough equivalent investment in the surrounding infrastructure.
“It is about people getting to and from work, and about people who are employed in Headington wanting to live near their work.
“These institutions seem to have converged on Headington and we want a more structured approach.”
Oxford University has just purchased the former Park Hospital site off Old Road and is intending to build four new laboratories on it – in addition to the Old Road campus which is being redeveloped to the tune of £57m.
Meanwhile, Ruskin College recently moved its Jericho operation to Old Headington, spending £17m on new buildings, and Oxford Brookes University is building a major new library and teaching building costing £132m.
In recent weeks, 10 residents’ associations in the area held a public meeting to call for a Headington masterplan to shape all development in the area.
Increased traffic and more frequent water leaks have all been put down to the increasing amount of building work.
Finch Close resident Harry Edwards said: “Councils need to work up more robust sustainable transport solutions to these sites, not just more buses, controlled parking zones and different coloured road markings. If there aren’t workable options, they must be big enough to say ‘no’.”
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman Steph Clark said: “The trust continues to enforce car parking restrictions at all its sites and encourages staff and visitors to use the park-and-ride services.
“At the moment we have no expansion or development plans that will impinge on the surrounding community in Headington, with all planned works happening on site.”
She added that no final decision had been made about where the cancer centre would be based.
Colin Cook, the city council’s executive board member for city development, said: “The control over development comes from the local plan. We also have the core strategy and the sites and housing development plan document.
“I am not sure an area action plan will make any difference and it will be a duplication of efforts.”
Thames Water said the number of water leaks in Headington were down to “weak pipes” and “operational issues”.