DRARA SPEEDING- we need your help!

DRARA is committed to working with Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council to address the problem of speeding traffic in the roads in this area. There are four items to alert you to.

1.Traffic survey

Oxfordshire County Council working with DRARA carried out a survey in November 2014 to collect data on volume and speed of traffic in Divinity Road, Southfield Road, Hill Top Road and Stone Street. (This follows an earlier survey carried out in 2013 which, because of the positioning of the equipment, did not give anything like a true picture of what residents actually experience particularly in Divinity Road and Southfield Road).

2014-03-13 14.42.56

We were advised to get this latest traffic survey done before embarking on our other work to raise drivers’ awareness of their inappropriate driving in these roads, namely more visible signage and community Speedwatch operations, in order to get an initial  ‘worst case’ picture. However, we do not really have this worst case picture: the positioning of the cameras was still problematic in this latest survey as they have to be fixed to street furniture that is managed by the council and where their view is not obstructed by parked vehicles, which leaves few options. But we do now have data that shows us the number of vehicles travelling in both directions over 24 hours in the roads surveyed over a period of one week, and a record of speeds. A first look at the data shows us that over a third of vehicles were exceeding the speed limit even at the points where the cameras were positioned, which were not necessarily the parts of the road where vehicles travel fastest. A detailed analysis of the data will be presented at a public meeting in late February (see below).

The following two items are where you can help and get involved:

  1. Slow down and think, etc.

We now have a range of large signs (‘slow down’, ‘it’s 20 for a reason’, etc.) that can be attached with cable ties to lamp posts along Divinity Road and Southfield Road which, given that the signage at the moment is at best poor and at worst invisible, should help to raise awareness of the speed limit here and to encourage safer and more considerate driving.

Please could you let me know if you could come and help with putting up signs on Sunday 8 February, morning or afternoon: tell me your preference and I’ll sort out definite timings.

  1. Community Speedwatch

With the support of our neighbourhood police officers, we are organising the first community speedwatch operation in Oxford. The first of these operations will be on Thursday, 12 February between 3.30 and 7.30 pm, a busy time where the impact of our operation should be high. The aim is, firstly, to draw drivers’ attention to their speed and, secondly, for the police to contact drivers who break the speed limit.

community speedwatch pic4

We need 4 or 5 volunteers at any one time during the four-hour period, who will be trained ‘on the job’ and supported by a police officer.

Lots of you are already signed up to help with this; if you can take part on that date could you let me know, and say which time you would be available? We will divide the time into hour-long slots, so 3.30-4.30 pm, 4.30-5.30 pm, and so on.

  1. Public Meeting

Come to the DRARA public meeting on 24 February at 7 pm at the Golf Club in Hill Top Road for a look at the results of the traffic survey, hear a report on the Speedwatch operation, and discuss next steps.

Please contact me with your offers of help with (1) putting up signs on 8 Feb and/or (2) the community Speedwatch on 12 Feb at: Traffic@drara.org.uk
Mary Chesshyre
DRARA Committee – Traffic lead

DRARA has joined the Big Energy Race!


Big Energy Race - 'How it works' graphic
Drara is joining the Big Energy Race, an initiative to support vulnerable consumers in communities across the UK to take control of their energy bills.
Big Energy Race - 'Prizes' graphic
The Big Energy Race aims to help people understand their current energy use, and will use a variety of challenges to help households reduce their energy consumption. Running in 14 regions covering the whole of the UK, it will help low-income families and community groups to reduce their energy bills and save carbon dioxide.
Community groups sign up to the race to encourage people in their local area to save energy. The race started in January and finishes on the 31st March. Each action a group completes will gain them points and whichever group has the most points across the UK at the end of the race will be eligible for a prize, which consists of money towards an energy saving activity in their area.
The initiative has been designed by behaviour change experts Global Action Plan in collaboration with the Energy Saving Trust, Citizens Advice Bureau and Energy UK. It is supported by major energy providers, including Npower, British Gas, EDF Energy and Green Energy. The Big Energy Race is the largest behaviour change programme designed to help consumers manage their energy use. The Race aims to register at least 250 community groups by January 2015, engaging 25,000 households and ultimately reaching over 1,000,000 people. It will enable consumers to take action over their energy use by giving them the tools to manage their energy consumption, rather than simply providing information on ways they can save energy.
Communities and individuals will compete against each other and accumulate points by undertaking challenges, such as tracking their meter readings or visiting an elderly neighbour who needs help to make their house warmer. Communities that accumulate the most points will receive a prize, which consists of money towards an energy saving activity in their area.
The Big Energy Race started its first lap in January 2015. Andy Deacon, Managing Partner at Global Action Plan, said:
“Using energy efficiently is one of the biggest challenges facing consumers, yet the vast majority feel powerless to act. Global Action Plan’s Big Energy Race is a win-win for consumers and providers. It will empower communities and individuals to take control, get energy fit together, and ultimately reduce their energy use.”
Global Action Plan has over 20 years’ experience working with communities and individual households to help them reduce their energy use. GAP’s recent research in conjunction with The Institute for Public Policy Research revealed that by 2030 consumers could on average save £99 a year through switching to more energy efficient appliances.
Global Action Plan is an environmental charity providing the UK’s only environmental behaviour change projects endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Since 1993, it has helped over 750,000 people make practical changes that create environmental savings in businesses of all sizes, as well as communities, schools and with young people. Find out more at www.globalactionplan.org.uk.


​Speeding has been a topic of concern to residents for many years.  Recent efforts to reduce speeding have included the creation of pinch points in our roads.  The Council has been monitoring the speed and volume of traffic on Divinity Road with an annual survey.  This is a legacy commitment following the significant consultation and subsequent deliberations that took place as a result of the Headington and Marston Area Transport Strategy (HAMATS) report in 2004.
community speedwatch pic4
At this time, the survey site was set at a point just south of Minster Road. This was because there were no other lower places where cars were parked on only one side of the road (a safety requiement for the survey methodology). Unfortunately, this site coincides with the start (or end point if you are coming down the hill), of a chicane in the road, which inherently slows the traffic in both directions. The location of pinch points further down Divinity Road however, now enables a better survey site.
The objective of conducting a new speed survey, is to collect data from a point on Divinity Road that better captures typical speeds. With this data, we can decide as a community, what action we would like to take to improvespeed management.  Additionally, we may decide to repeat the survey in other parts of our area, to strengthen our research and plan.  Our approach and motives are fully supported by the Police who have already risk assessed the proposed site, and who will also provide a speed gun.
To ensure our data is credible, we need a team of 4 people throughout the survey duration; 2 people to confirm the number plate and speed of the cars passing, and 2 people to write the detail correctly. Further, we should aim to survey the traffic over a 24 hour period to capture the fullest picture of the traffic and speed profile.
Community Speedwatch logo
So you can see, we need quite a few people willing to offer their time and support and join the team for some of the 24 hour survey. We haven’t yet set a date. Our thinking is to hold it at some time when the students and schools are back, and ideally before the weather gets too cold! So perhaps, late September, early October…. we can set the date together once we have group of volunteers.
As secretary, I am happy to co-ordinate and of course be involved. We do however, ideally need someone who is prepared and happy to oversee the survey and perhaps pick up looking after Traffic on the DRARA committee. This position is currently vacant.
So please consider getting involved in the survey, and email secretary@drara.org.uk if you are interested.
Many thanks and looking forward to hearing back from some of you,
Clare Ridley MBE

DRARA Secretary


Peter Marsh

We have to report the sad news that Peter Marsh, a long-term resident of Divinity Road, has died. Peter Marsh was a renowned social psychologist, some of whose many achievements you can read about here.

We send our condolences to his wife, Patricia, whom he married in 1967, their children, Jessica and James, and their two grandchildren, Emily and Finlay.

• Peter Marsh, social psychologist, born 15 September 1946; died 9 June 2014