The Plain roadworks update 23/3/15

Various sections of The Plain roundabout will be closed for night time resurfacing as follows. Click on the links for maps and details.

Phase 1 – Tuesday 7 April to Saturday 11 April


Phase 2 – Monday 13 April, Friday 17 April


T2604 LAMINATE of additional works to Order

Signage for diversion routes will be maintained throughout via local roads.

Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for those frontages within the closure area, subject to the progress of the works. Please note that access routes will depend on exactly where the works vehicles are at any time and may need to be negotiated with the gang on site as necessary.

The “No Waiting” restriction means that vehicles will need to be removed from the highway where there are in place yellow “No Waiting” cones.

Further information regarding the works may be obtained by contacting Paul Gannon or Andrew Warren, OCC Highways & Transport on 0845 310 11 11.

Download: T2604-LAMINATE-of-additional-works-to-Order.docx

DRARA traffic survey results

Over 40 residents attended our recent meeting to discuss Traffic in our area, together with Jamila Azad, our County Councillor, Sgt Applegarth who heads our local Community Police Team, and a local journalist.

The data summary follows. The headline is that a large number of cars drive through our streets every day.  Generally, 30% or more travel over 20mph too.

​There was a lot of discussion about the different options to pursue. The more detailed summaries from each camera in each street can be seen here: traffic survey data.

speedwatchersThere are a number of actions that came from the discussion – see below.  To make any of this happen, we will need to set up a Traffic team who can pick up bits of this and move it forward. If you would like to get involved, then please let us know.
  • Do another survey to better capture traffic volumes across the area.
  • Pollution is a concern.
  • Speed-watches – do more especially at key times to maximise the visibility. They’re easy to organise as have the kit and don’t require big commitment for people ie even an hour will help
  • ​Find out and meet the criteria to get a Police-enforced Speedwatch​.
  • Link up with residents in Morrell Avenue and Magdalen/Howard Street to learn from their experiences
  • Find out what need to do to get permission
    • to possibly paint 20mph on road,
    • to erect flower tubs on pinch points and affix signs (written by our children) to create residential feel to area
    • to get more official speed signage up (the temporary ones raise awareness but don’t look good and are blurred beside the ocean of other (letting agency) signs
  • Speak directly with the Golf Club and with the main taxi companies to agree actions to communicate with their drivers
    ​about speeding.
  • Explore speed bumps and speed signs to  understand what exactly would have an impact and in which location.
  • Jamila is eager to support us at County Council level (they are the main decision-makers in terms of spending money) and suggests we speak at the next Traffic meeting to share our survey results and discuss the actions we want to take place. She will also link us to Shaun Hatton, who is key to the work on strategic planning for roads in the county.
If you have any questions or feedback on this topic, or if you would like to get a bit more involved, please email Mary Chesshyre, our Traffic lead.


traffic survey data

traffic survey data

Download: traffic-survey-data.xlsx


Bulletin from Oxfordshire County Council

The work that we are doing at the Plain will remove one of the main cycling barriers into and out of Oxford city centre. The Plain is a busy five-arm roundabout with high bus flows and a history of cyclist casualties. It is also off-putting for less experienced riders. The county council is embarking on a project to improve the attractiveness and safety of the roundabout for cyclists and pedestrians by reducing the width of the circulatory carriageway and tightening the entrances onto the roundabout.

How we’re getting on with the work

The first closure on The Plain Roundabout has reopened, providing access to St Clement’s Street from the roundabout. Footway works outside of Clems Night Club has been completed.

Work outside of Sainsbury’s has also been completed and the new loading bay will be opened this week.

Footway work will begin this week adjacent to Magdalen College School, with pedestrians being relocated onto the newly completed footway adjacent to the carriageway.

The second closure is underway, restricting access to The Plain from St Clement’s Street with a diversion in place via Dawson Street. This will continue to be in place until Sunday 15 February 2015.

The new green light for cyclists at Longwall Street has been activated, providing cyclists with a five second head start over all other traffic heading east at the junction. This is a first for Oxfordshire, making improvements for cyclists as they proceed east over Magdalen Bridge.

What’s next?

The third closure will involve closing Cowley Road at the junction of The Plain Roundabout, in both directions. This will begin on Monday 16 February 2015 and will be in place until Sunday 8 March 2015. During this period, there will be diversions in place. These are listed below.

  • Vehicles into the city will be diverted to Iffley Road and then Temple Street.
  • Vehicles out of the city will be diverted to Circus Street then Iffley Road.
  • Cyclists into and out of the city are diverted via Dawson Street and St Clement’s Street.

Local bus companies will advise of closures to bus stops.

Work will also start on Cowley Place during school half-term from Saturday 14 February 2015 through to Sunday 22 February 2015. Traffic will be able to enter Cowley Place under control of “Stop/Go” boards in day-time. Give-way priority will be set between 4.30pm-7.30am.

During the work, access to all properties will be maintained, and we will contact individuals directly about how we work outside of their property.

For further details and information about this scheme, please visit The Plain Project Page

For live travel information and our journey planner, visit Oxfordshire Travel Choices


Eighteen DRARA residents turned out through the afternoon and evening on Thursday to snap potential speeders and to raise awareness of traffic issues in the DRARA area. Most drivers slowed dramatically as they reached our camera and signs, and eagerly vied for the right to give way to one another – we’ve never seen such slow, polite traffic!speedwatchers

Sgt Neil Applegarth from Cowley Neighbourhood Team said: “Thames Valley Police already conducts regular speed checks in the East Oxford area, but members of the Divinity Road Area Residents Association (DRARA) have always been keen to do more to ensure the 20 mph speed limit is enforced. The Force doesn’t have the resources to be in East Oxford conducting speed checks every day, but it’s great that the residents want to tackle the issue themselves.

“With the support of Thames Valley Police, they have organised Oxford’s first Community Speed Watch initiative. The Force has supplied the equipment for DRARA to use and any drivers caught by the residents will be sent a letter by police.

“This is about educating the drivers who continue to break the speed limit and capturing intelligence and it’s very positive that the residents are taking such a proactive approach to dealing with this problem. I look forward to working with them and supporting the Community Speed Watch as it goes on.”

A warm thank you to Sgt Applegarth for organising the equipment, to Mary Chesshyre, the DRARA Committte member for Traffic and Clare Ridley, DRARA Secretary, for organising the event, and to the students who came out to offer hot drinks!  Two Brookes Student Wardens and our City and County Councillors came to experience first hand the traffic we encounter every day. A press photographer joined us, so look out for articles in the Oxford Mail and Times.

We’ll give a full update at the Public Meeting on 24th Feb and also in the next Newsletter.

Download: speedwatchers.jpg


DRARA is one of the sponsors of the Cowley Road carnival. Here’s the latest news  from the organisers’ website.


We over the moon that Cowley Road Works won the Bybox Best Community Project for the Cowley Road Carnival. Not only is Carnival is a fantastic event celebrated by the whole community – and 45,000 people came last year – it is also the culmination of a series of other events and a whole lot of hard work from the team and all our volunteers.


To get this award is fantastic recognition of our work. We wouldn’t be able to organise Carnival without our wonderful dedicated team of volunteers, fundraisers, sponsors and supporters, and I want to thank every one of them. We couldn’t do it without you.


I would also like to say ‘well done and thank you’ to Ian Steadman who won an individual volunteer award for his work with Cowley Road Works.

We are already busy working on events and organising Carnival 2015 for 5 July. On 6 February we have a Ceilidh at East Oxford School, on the 24th April we are running a teachers’ training session to help them prepare school groups for the Carnival procession, and on the 29th April the Ultimate Picture Palace is hosting a Carnival fundraising event featuring a performance by up and coming young band Balloon Ascents and a showing of the film Spinal Tap. Details are all on the website

One of our Trustees, Zaheer Quereshi, was also at the ceremony, he said: “We are doing what we can to promote diversity and art in the community, we urge people to come forward, give their moral & financial support (specially the traders & businesses). Well done Team Carnival.”

Groovy Su, congratulated us too, she said: “I just wanted to congratulate you and all the team for getting the ‘Best Community Project’ award. That’s quite some title! Fantastic for you all to get such positive public recognition for all that you do to give Oxford the best party it has all year! Hooray!!!”


Download: carnival.jpg


Many of you will be very aware of the road works taking place at the Plain Roundabout. Cllr Jamila Azad, knowing of our concern over the knock on effects of congestion and stepped up traffic volume in our area, has sent us detailed information here (click to download): LAMINATE OF NOTICE of ORDER and Phases 3, 4 and 5 publicity plans.  To summarise:

The Plain Roundabout

Improvements to cyclist safety and maintenance will start on the 5 January and run until May 2015.

Access restrictions will be in place in the following phases:

  • Phase one – No access onto St Clements Street from The Plain Roundabout for approximately two weeks between 19 January and 1 February 2015.
  • Phase two – Closure of the exit onto The Plain Roundabout from St Clements Street for approximately two weeks between 2 February and 15 February 2015
  • Phase three – Closure of Cowley Road for approximately three weeks between 16 February and 8 March 2015
  • Phase four – No access onto Iffley Road from The Plain Roundabout for approximately two weeks between 9 March and 22 March 2015
  • Phase five – Closure of the exit onto The Plain Roundabout from Iffley Road for approximately two weeks between 23 March and 17 April 2015

Keep up to date with the Plain Road works on the local government website and on this site here.


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:
Mary Chesshyre
DRARA Committee – Traffic lead

Download: 2014-03-13-14.42.56.jpg

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

Download: Big-Energy-Race-Prizes-graphic.jpg