The contractor behind a £14.8m scheme to put a pipeline between two Oxford hospitals has been told to patch up the roads it dug up without permission. 

It was revealed yesterday that Vital Energi did not have permission from the relevant authorities to install an underground heating system - called the Hospital Energy Project - that would link the John Radcliffe Hospital with the Churchill Hospital. 

Vital Energi were today given the ultimatum of filling the dug-up trench on All Saints Road in Headington and reinstate the road with a temporary surface if they were unable to gain planning permission and restart work tomorrow. 

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Mark Neal said: "Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been informed by partner contractors, Vital Energi that they have decided to temporarily suspended work on the energy pipeline, while they clarify their planning requirements.

"The public road, where initial digging has taken place, is being reinstated with a temporary road surface as requested by Oxfordshire County Council in case of work being suspended.

"Both the Trust and Vital Energi continue to follow the due processes of approval as outlined by the relevant authorities.

"Work on the important energy efficiency and cost saving project will continue within the grounds of the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals sites."

City Councillor Ruth Wilkinson said she was keen for residents in the affected area to have their parking access returned as the scheme led to the suspension of parking along affected roads.

This includes All Saints Road, Latimer Road, London Road, Old Road and Stapleton Road. 

She said: "Many people support the project in principle but they want to make sure works are legal, and that adequate measures are in place to minimise inconvenience."