HEALTH bosses have been forced to deny a conspiracy to mislead Headington residents over the inter-hospital pipeline. 

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHT) wants to install underground heating pipes - called the Hospital Energy Project - to meet growing demand for heating and hot water at the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals. 

But in recent weeks the hospital has failed to hire someone to deal with the dedicated email address and phone number set up by the trust for residents' queries. 

Speaking at a public meeting yesterday, OUHT director of the project Mark Neal said: "I would like to start with an apology to the residents of Headington. 

"From the information I'm receiving, the project has failed to actually communicate the necessary information to people living in the area so far and that's not acceptable.

"We will be doing everything we can to remedy the situation and to take people's opinions onboard.

"I admit we do not have anyone to deal with the queries from residents at the moment but we are hoping to hire someone to look at them in the immediate future."

Work to install the 2.2km pipework will be taking place in stretches of 120 metres on All Saints Road, Stapleton Road, Old Road, London Road and Latimer Road and will take 18 months. 

Mike Ratcliffe from the Highfields Association said that he though the behaviour of the OUHT communications department was "appalling."

He said: "What's worrying is that the communications department has provided no form of communication at all.

"Perhaps they should've have consulted us before the work began so that we could've had some in put and not ended up in the situation we're in now, which is that there will be no dedicated parking in Headington.

"They need to set up some form of liaison body so that they can actually listen to our opinions."

Mr Neal defended the trust by saying "there has been no conspiracy to mislead Headington residents."

He said: "We're not professional PR people here and we've done our best to work with the people of Headington thus far.

"We will take on any suggestions for car parking and dealing with roadworks in the area as work to each 120m of road will displace 40 cars, which we accept is not ideal."

Councillor for Headington and Quarry Roz Smith said that she had suggested to the Trust that parking be allowed on double yellow lines in the area throughout the project.

She said: "I have suggested this to the council and I hope it might make parking a little easier but something more certainly needs to be done."

Work is set to begin on All Saints Road on January 4.