Oxford hospital pipeline hole to be filled

Headington pipeline trench
Image caption The firm has started repairing the hole it has already dug in Headington

A contractor installing an underground pipeline between two Oxford hospitals is filling a trench after a demand from the county council.

Vital Energi stopped construction on the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospital pipe after Oxford City Council said it had no planning permission.

Oxfordshire County Council said the firm should start repairing the hole if the work does not resume.

The NHS said the existing hole will now be temporarily filled in.

Mark Neal, the head of estates for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said its contractor would "clarify its planning requirements".

He added: "The public road, where initial digging has taken place, is being reinstated with a temporary road surface as requested."

Image copyright Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Image caption The pipeline is already being installed in trenches between the hospitals

The £14.8m scheme is to take 18 months and aims to upgrade the hospitals' heating systems, resulting in a 1.6-mile (2.2 km) pipeline.

But Oxford City Council said the company needed planning permission so on Wednesday work was suspended.

Oxfordshire County Council said: "We have asked Vital Energi if they are going to be in a position to restart their work on All Saints Road.

"If they aren't, we have requested they fill the dug-up trench and reinstate the road with a temporary surface so the closure can be removed and the road reopened."

Residents have previously complained about a lack of information regarding the project.

Works are planned in Woodlands Road, Sandfield Road, London Road, Latimer Road, All Saints Road, Stapleton Road, Old Road and Churchill Drive.

The BBC has contacted Vital Energi for comment.

Image caption Residents have previously complained about a lack of information regarding the project

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