Archive for January, 2012

Insights on a Green Oxford: The Recycling Journey

The City of Oxford in collaboration with students at Oxford Brookes University has produced a video, entitled ‘The Recyling Journey‘, that explains the recycling process in the area.

The video can be accessed at:


Other videos are being produced by Oxfordshire Waste Partnership and we will forward information about these when they are available.

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Start Walking: A Road Trip to Islip

It may still be winter, but the scenery is beautiful on the walk to Islip. A bit over 3 miles each way. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon away from Victoria Road. We made it from Victoria Road to Islip and back in 4.5 hours – well over 1 mile per hour with lunch included – beat that!

Crossing Stream on Walk to Islip

Pause on Walk to Islip

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Minutes of Victoria Road Group Meeting on 9 January

Monday 9th January 2012, 8pm at Jonathan and Sally’s (59)

Attendance: Mary Lewis (Chair), Jonathan and Sally Bromley, Carol, Bill Dutton, Mick O’Connor, Betty Marshall, Anna Buchanan (Treasurer), Gordon Buchanan, Paul Lewis, Jelly Williams.

Jonathan took the minutes.

1       Apologies

Received from Sam, Ali, Nick, Sue, John, Manda, Mireille, Philippa and Diana.

2       Minutes of last meeting, and matters arising

Minutes were approved.

Matters arising:

  • Anna pointed out that the sum of £23 received was in fact a tax rebate.  The actual sum was larger.  Needs correction in the minutes.

action: Mary

  • Photographic competition: 16 entries were received, 6 were shortlisted and displayed at the Christmas party. The winner was Da Cornock-Taylor, the runner-up Jonathan Bromley.  Those photos are already on the blog. Thanks are due to Elman Poole for setting up and generously funding this event.  Sally asked whether it brought in any people who don’t normally participate in VRG activity.  Mary reported that all six shortlisted were VRG “regulars”, but the others aren’t known at this time.  There was a suggestion that we could exploit the results by using the images on merchandise such as tea towels or calendars. Prize money is available for a second run of the contest.

3       Newsletter

Chair suggested that one issue should be circulated as a matter of urgency, even though Sam and Manda’s plans for a revamp of the newsletter are not yet complete.  In the medium term we hope to make it more arresting and informative, with VRG contact information appearing in every issue.  More immediately there is a need to publicise the Seven Roads Jubilee event and VRG Quaffers’ Quiz.  A very simple flyer should go out ASAP.

Several members indicated that there is already a good level of information about VRG activities.  Perhaps a year’s calendar of anticipated events, with approximate dates, might be useful?  There was some discussion of possible formats.

Jonathan will prepare a simple newsletter, for immediate circulation, by 15th Jan.

action: Jonathan

The relationship between the newsletter and the existing Welcome Pack was briefly discussed.  It was felt that the Welcome Pack is genuinely useful.

This topic will be reviewed at a future meeting.  Paul will prepare a mockup example for discussion.  Sally to investigate colour print costs.

action: Paul, Sally

4       Recent and upcoming events

The Christmas party took place at no.56 with about 40 participants including a few new faces.  Thanks were expressed to Ali and Sam for hosting, and to Nick for preparing fine mulled wine.

Mick and Sally reported on progress towards the wine tasting challenge evening (“Quaffers’ Quiz”).  Helpers will be needed before and during the event.  We need to inform Juliet Field (church hall bookings secretary) of our requirements for tables and chairs in the upper hall.  Mike and Mireille have helped extensively with planning and are familiar with the organization of such events.  Carol (and Alan in absentio) offered to run the drinks bar (donations).  Mary and Paul can help at the event but not beforehand.  There was a problem with cleaning of the upstairs hall when we last used it; we need to check with the hall whether they have yet provided a suitable large sweeping brush.  Hall cost will be about £80.  Total budget for the evening about £240, with the intention that it should roughly break even.  The organising team will seek feedback on what people liked and disliked about the event.  Sally and Mick briefly outlined the evening’s format.

action: organising team, helpers

OxClean is March 3rd-4th this year.  Mary has registered us, but there has been no response from the Council yet.  We will tackle the same area as last year (around the Marston flyover on the A40).  Highlight this event in the Newsletter.

5       Seven Roads Jubilee event

A team is working on a party on 26th May – avoiding the Bank Holiday week and being sensitive to those who might object to royalist celebrations.  A format similar to the millennium party, but on a smaller scale, is planned.  It will probably run from noon to midnight, with closure of King’s Cross Road from Victoria to Portland.  Mary and Sally are Victoria Road’s representatives on the team and will keep VRG informed.  VRG has pledged to contribute £100, and a total of £280 has already been given or promised; the organisers expect to go ahead once £1000 has been raised.  It was suggested that a contributions box could be available on Green Balloon Day.

5.1     Provisional dates for 2012

The following dates were agreed:

Sat 4 Feb Quaffers’ Quiz
Sat 28 Apr Green Balloon Day (Carol kindly offered the use of her driveway for coffee)
Sat 26 May Seven Roads Jubilee party
Sun 1 July VRG Garden Party (venue to be arranged)
Sat 17 Nov Media Madness
Sun 9 Dec Christmas party


6       Communications received

  • Information had been received from the City recycling team about the Refashion event (see below)
  • The parents of Catriona (VR resident who died unexpectedly) send us £20 each year as a contribution to Christmas celebrations.  Nick has already thanked them.
  • Mary had received a response from Jean Fooks (councillor) regarding concerns about the forthcoming Sainsbury’s supermarket in Suffolk House and our regret at the loss of local retailers.  It was disappointing; the building does not require permission for change of use, so the council are unable to intervene.  The site is owned by a London Property Company; apparently there is now no retail property at all in Summertown that belongs to the council.  This issue had also been aired at the North Area Forum in December 2011.
  • Paul had received a response from Nicola Blackwood MP regarding support for a Post Office in Summertown (perhaps in the Library).  The response was long and thorough, but noted that current improvement plans for Summertown Library are on a small scale.  There are vague longer term plans for more extensive changes to include a Post Office.

7       Recycling

The battery recycling bin is now outside No.46.  Thanks were expressed to Mary and Paul for hosting this useful facility.

Carol (Recycling Champion) has been in touch with the City Council’s recycling team, two new employees who seem very energetic and have organised the Refashion event.

8       AOB

  • Gordon noted that he has used the Post Office’s online postage prepayment service, and it could be useful to other residents.
  • Carol is considering holding a yard sale, and asked if VRG might wish to get involved with more vendors participating.  Some concern was expressed that this is not something that should be directly promoted or sponsored by VRG, but of course there were no objections to the idea of an individual sale and it was suggested that it might be even more successful if several residents were to hold such events on the same day.
  • Gravel from some driveways, particularly on the sloped north side of the road, tends to spill on to the footpath making walking difficult for all but the most agile.  Could residents perhaps be reminded of their civic responsibility to keep the footpath passable?  The meeting’s opinion was that it could perhaps be mentioned in the newsletter in a general way, but it would be inappropriate for VRG to approach individual householders.
  • Bill noted that the Animal Sanctuary in Stadhampton always needs old towels, sheets, rags and newspapers for animal bedding.  He could accept contributions at No.55.
  • Anna asked whether last year’s successful skip hire could be repeated.  There was general agreement, with a suggestion that anyone putting more than a trivial quantity into the skip be asked to contribute £10 to the cost.  Suggested date 7th July.  Various people offered to have the skip on their driveway but it was felt that Sam and Ali’s at no.56 would be best, if available.

9       Thanks to hosts

Sally and Jonathan were thanked for their hospitality.

10   Date of Next meeting

8.00pm, Wednesday 14th March 2012 at No.102A (Mick and Philippa).

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All the Little Shops UK: Value to Summertown?

There has been interest in how to save more of the small shops in Summertown. In that spirit, I’ve run across an initiative called ‘All the Little Shops UK’, which is in the process of building an online platform. They have a Web site already at

It is possible that online initiatives such as this can build a critical mass of users that will enable small retailors, for example, to have more visibility than if they are going alone online. Since being offline is likely to undermine a store’s visibility and viability, maybe we should help alert local shops to this potential. I think they can sign up free.

All Little Shops UK

Comments? Thoughts? We have been wondering about activities we might undertake to support local enterprises, and perhaps this is something to support.

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A Fashon Show and More for Charity: 19 January 2012: Oxford Town Hall

You are invited to get involved in the biggest fashion event of next year.

Fashion Show for Charity

Oxford City Council are organising an event at the Town hall in conjunction with Oxfordshire Waste partnership called Refashion.


ReFashion is on 19th January 2012 is an exciting fashion event to promote innovative textile recycling.   Visitors will be invited to bring along any unwanted clothes where they can then swap, refashion, upcycle, sell or donate them – anything that avoids sending textiles to landfill.  As well as wealth of exciting clothes, accessories and crafts stalls and a ‘swishing’ area, there will be catwalk shows throughout the day to showcase recycled fashions created by local schools and colleges.  The event will run from 1pm-7pm at the Main Hall in Oxford Town Hall – entrance will be free for this not-for-profit event


Please see the attached posters we have to advertise the event, I can send out hand copies if you let me know how many you need.


Do you have any skills to offer on the day? Do you know any groups who would like to be involved in the fashion show? Could you spare a few hours to help, or could you just spread the word!?


We would like as many champions to be involved as possible, so please contact me if you require any more info.



Maria Warner

Customer Liasion Officer, Recycling Team, Direct Services, 01865 252953



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OxClean on Friday 2 & Saturday 3 March: Save the Dates

OxClean is an Oxford Civic Society initiative in partnership with Oxford City Council and The Oxford Times and is dedicated to keeping Oxford clean and tidy all year round – ensuring that our beautiful city  is a welcoming and pleasant place for people to live, work and visit. Each year, Victoria Road has been able to field a strong group of litter pickers to help clean up. Plan to help this year.

OxClean Victoria Road Group 2011

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Oxford’s North Area Forum at Cherwell on 15 December 2012

The next North Area Forum, which is meeting at Cherwell School (North Site – Music 2) on 15 December.

6 – 6.30pm Informal networking  – Conversations with councillors/officers

6.30 – 8.30 Forum – Welcome, introductions, and updates from Councillors

6.45 Open-agenda discussion

7.15 Neighbourhood Plans and the Sites and Housing Policy DPD – Michael Crofton Briggs, Head of City Development

For more information, on the Area Forums for Oxford, see:

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VRG Meeting Minutes of a meeting held on Thursday 1 December 2011

VRG Meeting

Minutes of a meeting held on Thursday 1 December 2011

At No. 46

Appointment of Minute-taker: Philippa

In attendance: Mary (in the chair), Paul, Suzi, Bill, Celia, Jelly, Sue, Nick, Betty, Sally, John, Ali, Da, Diana, Mick and Philippa

Birthday congratulations to Betty!

1.            Apologies for Absence

Anna, Chris, Sam, Manda, Peter, Mike and Mireille


2.            Minutes of last meeting and Matters arising from them


3.            Photographic competition

Winner will be announced at the Christmas party.


4.            Events:

            Performance Evening 22 October

Report on the Evening: It was agreed that it went very well. Thanks were expressed to the core team – Manda, John, Paul and Mary – and all those who helped on the day. The upstairs hall was better in some ways than downstairs, although some felt it would have been better staged lengthways. Unfortunately staged that way, the performers might have been right on top of the audience as it is slightly narrower than downstairs. There was some time to chat at the end: however, some kind volunteers had started clearing up straight away. It was agreed that we would try hard to prevent this next year. Some people had to leave at half time but that was thought preferable to them not coming at all. The proportion of audience participation numbers was higher this year than previously: the majority agreed that this was a positive thing but the balance needs to be monitored and also the choice of sing-along-songs needs some care. Some new things were tried and they generally worked well. Suzi suggested checking out the United Reformed Church hall as it has a real piano, and the shape is perhaps better.

There was a complaint following the event from the Church Hall that the floor was left rather dirty, and they were not able to charge the two classes the next day. Mary had given a donation of £40 on behalf of VRG as compensation to the Hall. It had been swept on the night but clearly it was not entirely clean. It was suggested that we bring vacuum cleaners next time or buy a big broom to use. We will also urge the Church Hall to provide more adequate equipment themselves.

            Green Book Day/Media Madness  19 November

Report on the Day: a very pleasant event. A bit disappointing that we did not have many new people. A lot of books were exchanged. Thanks to Mike and Mireille for hosting the event and Jonathan and Bill for depositing all the remaining books with Oxfam. Mike and Mireille were complimentary about the organisation and help they had received.

5.            Future Events:


Christmas Drinks/Carol singing   Sunday 11 December, at No.56:

Meet 5.15pm for carol singing outside No. 105. Drinks would be from 6-8pm at No. 56. Sufficient wine was available from the Performance Evening. Ali would sort out glasses. Nick would get mulled wine spices, juice etc. Guests to bring festive finger food. Celia has a preserving pan if needed for the wine. Ali would clear her pinboard for displaying the photographic entries. Mary would arrange to have prize money available.


Green Balloon day was the next scheduled event: a date in May would be fixed at a future meeting.


Seven Roads Party: There is an extra bank holiday at the beginning of June for the Queen’s Jubilee. For the Millennium there was an event for the Seven Roads that connect in the area, and everyone in those streets was involved. Most of King’s Cross Road was shut off with a number of attractions going on. It was a wonderful event. There is a proposal for a similar event for the Queen’s Jubilee. The VRG is not committed in any way and people can participate individually. There are three street representatives on the committee: Mary, Ali and Sally. There were alternative dates still being debated: either the actual day, or the previous weekend. There was not a strong view from the group present about which was best. It was agreed that we would provide a donation of £100.

Additional event: Mike and Mireille had suggested a wine tasting. This was along the lines of Call My Bluff with the ‘experts’ presenting the vintage of the wine etc, and people guessing which description was true. Nick and Sue would find out what was needed to run this. Mick, Philippa, Sally, and Ali volunteered to assist with organising. Proposed dates: 4th 11th 18th or 25th February. Mick would check with the venue asap.

5.            Communications Received

From Scope thanking us for the goods we gave them after Green Balloon Day which, along with a gift aid declaration, have raised £23.

A communication had been received re. Hernes House Residential Home concerning an application to develop 9 family size houses with 18 car parking spaces. This communication would go on the noticeboard.

A reminder that Oxclean would take place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd March: people were encouraged to join in with the litterpicking.


  1. 6.              Any Other Business

Newsletter: It was reported that Manda had done some work on this. Ali and Da will distribute if it is ready in the next week or so. News about the winetasting event would be incorporated. Paul and Mary would print it.

Finances: £535.35 in the bank before the donation to the Seven Roads event.

Suzi raised concerns about the spate of business closures in Summertown and proposed contacting newspapers or local councillors. Everyone supported the idea of writing to the Councillors. The Chair of the Group agreed to write.


            Date and venue of Next Meeting-

Monday 9th January 2012 at Sally and Jonathan’s.

Finally, thanks were expressed to our hosts, Mary and Paul.

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2011 Activity on Victoria Road News and Views

Our blog was viewed over 2,200 times in 2011. These are the posts that got the most views in 2011:

Our post on library closures received the most comments. Thanks for your contributions.

New Year's Display in London 2011

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