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Residents in peaceful protest over work on soldier museum
RESIDENTS have started a peaceful protest against a new military museum by blocking workmen from putting up scaffolding.
Work on the £3m Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum in the grounds of the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock began last year.
Contractors need to put up scaffolding in Brown’s Lane to install glass in the building and repair a listed wall.
But residents said they were not consulted until the last minute – and have refused to move their cars out of the way.
Contractor Feltham Construction contacted police – who warned residents their cars would be towed if they were not moved.
Work on the scaffolding was due to start on Friday.
Brown’s Lane resident Sue McGlynn said: “We decided on a ‘Gandhi protest’ of passive resistance – a policy of just doing nothing – and have left our cars in place.
“All we are asking for is a decent bit of notice. There is a lack of cooperation on the museum’s part.”
She said cars would only be moved when the residents had been “properly consulted”. Ms McGlynn, who said the consultation process could take weeks, was “incensed” to get a letter from police on Tuesday that said cars would be towed away if they were not moved.
Police were last night unable to say under what legislation the action would be taken.
Resident Mike Farley said: “Woodstock has a considerable traffic parking problem and Brown’s Lane is one of the few places you can park with no restrictions. The contractors were effectively taking away four parking spaces.”
Last year, residents complained about the scale of the two-storey building, saying they were unaware it would rise so high over the Grade II listed wall.
Mike Holmes, Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum property and finance director, said: “We are working with Oxfordshire County council to resolve the issues.
“We have followed the procedures laid down by the county council.
“We hope that we can resolve the issue quickly and it will not delay the project.”
He said contractors would be moved to other parts on the development while discussions about the scaffolding continue.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth, member for Woodstock, said the scaffolding licence had been temporarily suspended, which means the scaffolding cannot go up, to allow talks between the museum and residents.