Decision Maker Response
Oxford City Council’s response
Apr 16, 2019 — There are two important questions to address here. Does Oxford City Council have the right to install lighting? Oxford Preservation Trust bought South Park in 1932 and gave it to the City of Oxford in 1959. The Trust holds a legal covenant on the land and that restricts the City Council from installing lighting, so we just don’t have the automatic right to install lighting. And, if the City Council could install lighting, should it? A number of local residents have raised concerns over the years, as council tax payers, about money being spent on this project when students can walk an extra minute to the same destination in the darker hours of the day by an existing, well-lit, accessible route. Local residents also raise strong concerns about light pollution and its impact on South Park’s unique designation as a dark sky area, and its wildlife and biodiversity.
However, as a result of concerns raised by residents about drug dealing and drug use in South Park, the Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce has been working hard to tackle the issue – cutting back foliage and canopies to improve sight lines across the park, moving park benches into more visible locations, and carrying out high-visibility police patrols of the area.
The Taskforce - which is a partnership between Oxford City Council, Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council - is moving onto another part of East Oxford because we’re confident that we’ve made the park a safer place, and we hope many students and neighbours will be reassured by our track record.
For more information about the Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce, please visit: www.oxford.gov.uk/drugstaskforce