Press coverage of the gardens leaflet

The Oxford Mail has covered the story behind the gardens leaflet produced by St Margaret’s Area Society.

You can read the story HERE.


Guide to the Front Gardens of North Oxford

The North Oxford Victorian suburb is admired throughout the world. Its character is that of a garden city and it is in all our interests to keep it that way.

St Margaret’s Area Society has produced the following leaflet, with advice from Oxford City Council, which has been delivered to homes in the area. It provides planning advice, discusses the current planning constraints and emphasises the value of suitable planting.

You can download a pdf of the leaflet by clicking Gardens leaflet 2018 final

Gardens leaflet darker picture 2018 final2 Gardens leaflet darker picture 2018 final3 Gardens leaflet darker picture 2018 final

Autumn Meeting, LMH at 7pm on 22nd Nov 2017

All residents and neighbouring associations are invited to attend the Norham Manor Residents’ Association and St Margaret’s Area Society Autumn Meeting:



Speakers include:




This is an opportunity to raise concerns about the conservation of our special area. Please come with your questions and comments!

The Monson Room at Lady Margaret Hall, Wednesday 22nd November 2017 at 19.00 for 19.30 – refreshments will be served

Meeting to discuss Area Appraisal, Thursday 23rd March 2017


Everyone is welcome to join St Margarets Area Society to hear from the consultants, Artemis Heritage, who prepared the North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area Appraisal report that is now out for consultation.

A draft of the report can be accessed by clicking here:

The meeting will take place in the Mordan Hall at St Hugh’s at 7.30 on Thursday 23rd March. Tea and biscuits will be provided.

North Oxford Railings Guide


Traditional iron railings were once an important and distinctive feature of the North Oxford Victorian Garden Suburb.

Many of the railings were removed during the war and of those surviving many are in need of repair or replacement. Increasingly, many building owners wish to reinstate their boundary ironwork to enhance the appearance of their property, but are unsure where to start.

A guide has been prepared by Oxford Preservation Trust and Oxford City Council and is intended to assist residents in the reinstatement of their railings. You can access the guide by clicking on the following link:


Do I Need Planning Permission – A Short Guide

Confused about whether you need permission or not? The following article gives you the facts you need to get started.

Building in front of the building line requires planning permission and is unlikely to be approved above ground. Below ground, however, basement extensions into the front garden may be permitted, provided that they do not constitute ‘gross over-development’.

Planning permission may be required to demolish, add or raise any wall, gate or railing, especially over 1m high in the front garden.

Planning permission for solar panels is required on whichever slope of a roof they are placed. Residents are encouraged to consider an installation on the rear roof or in the back garden.

Planning permission is not required for roof lights to
be installed on any roof slope provided that they do not project more than 150mm above the tiled or leaded slope. Where they are installed in a side slope they must be obscure glazed and cannot open unless the opening part of the roof light is more than 1.7m above the floor of the room they serve. At least in front roofs they must be of the ‘Conservation Roof light’ pattern, with a vertical bar down the centre.

Lopping or felling of trees (trunk over 75mm diameter and 1.3m above the ground) in the Conservation Area requires six weeks’ notice to Oxford City Council. Some trees will also be protected as Tree Preservation Orders (TPO). You will need separate permission from the Council before you carry out any works to a tree that is protected by a TPO.

Further information

The history and ethos of the area are summed up in Tanis Hinchcliffe’s North Oxford (Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1992).

The City Council planning website ( uk/planning) explains Conservation Area policies and displays planning applications and public comments on them. It has a draft ‘North Oxford Conservation Area Appraisal’ street by street.

New planning applications are publicised in The Oxford Times and by a yellow notice on site, with a deadline for comments 3–5 weeks later. Residents can receive weekly notifications of all the planning applications in their area by logging onto the City Council Planning database.

Meeting with Thames Valley Police, 25 April 2016

The following is a summary of public meeting with Thames Valley Police concerning burglaries and theft in North Oxford held on 25 April 2016 prior to the SMAS AGM. These notes were kindly supplied by Dorothy Myers of the Norham Manor Residents Association.

The meeting was held at St Hugh’s College by kind permission of the Principal. About 50 people attended from North Oxford.

The line-up: Inspector Mike Williams (MW), PC Chris Cassidy (CC), two female PCs, Poly Smart(PS) (OCC Streetscene Graffiti Removal Supervisor).

Councillor James Fry coordinated the meeting.

Attendance from NM Residents: Dorothy Myers, Jane Reed, Jo Bowlt, Anne-Marie and Vernon King and possibly others.

  • MW confirmed that local CID continues to focus on burglaries, street robberies, car thefts, etc.: burglary is still a high priority for the TVP; small valuable items are the target such as cash, jewellery, passports rather than large items; he encouraged people to email or phone to St Aldates if they are in any way concerned about anything: it is better to head events off than deal with them afterwards; extra patrols can be requested or other responses.
  • Regarding recent burglaries, CC said that one person was on remand and three were being investigated; most burglaries are done by 10 – 15 people and at any one time one-third would be in jail; when people are let out then burglaries start up again.   CC encouraged people to take effective precautions against theft from their property and to ‘target harden’ their homes with obvious measures – cut down high hedges, keep side doors locked, double lock doors, etc. etc.; make home less attractive to burglars than the one next door; use apps for tracking phones/tablets/laptops.
  • CC presented handout on CCTV Domestic Guidance; for CCTV on streets, he will look into it and contact us by email; the leaflet gives lots of useful contacts including the Information Commissioner who must be involved if CCTV covers public areas.
  • PS said OCC made the graffiti appointment a year ago; she works closely with TVP and the Community Response Team (CRT); not all about cleaning up but trying to find places where graffiti artists can do their work; if graffiti is taken down repeatedly there is less chance of it coming back; OCC has special vehicle with machine with high pressure hoses; Waterside have bought their own machine (£2-3000); OCC can remove graffiti from private property on contract for a charge of £15/sq.m plus labour; special paint is available for some surfaces; the actual offence is ‘criminal damage’ with possible sentence of 5 years and fine; recommended using smartapp for Oxford for all sorts of OCC related business.
  • Bag People: should have a pedlar’s license; TVP need names and vehicle registration numbers; lots of calls in North Oxford.

There were lots of leaflet handouts, UV pens, bag security links/bells which were all avidly taken up. A notice about OCC graffiti initiatives will be posted in the Notice Board at the end of Norham Road.

Contact details:

Chris Cassidy:; 01865 266159; 07977406023

Poly Smart:; 01865 252985; 07483 007119