New council proposals focus on issues not restructuring
A document outlining counter-proposals to plans for the creation of a single unitary Oxfordshire council has been submitted to the new Government.
It comes in response to the proposals for a unitary county council submitted by Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils.
The submission from Oxford City Council, West Oxfordshire and Cherwell district councils sets out an alternative approach with proposals for a Combined Authority which would bring together all council leaders alongside the Local Economic Partnership to work in partnership and take decisions in the interest of the whole county.
The submission highlights the importance of building more homes for local people, improved transport networks, inward investment and social care as key issues in the strategy.
This would avoid costly, time-consuming elections, an administration overhaul and a disruption to local services that would be created by the merger of six councils.
Significantly, decisions would still be made at a local level by locally-elected people with the six councils working closely together and sharing services and facilities to keep costs down.
In submitting the document, Oxford City Council along with West Oxfordshire and Cherwell district councils, have emphasised that the key priority for the all the Oxfordshire authorities is to work together to build on existing successful joint working arrangements by councils county-wide.
The three council leaders joined together to say: “In light of the economic challenges the country faces and the issues facing our residents, we’re more interested in discussing how we can work together with the other councils in Oxfordshire and our partners on the issues that local people care about –supporting the local economy, housing, transport and improving services - than council structures.
“In our view, local government restructuring is not likely to progress in the current context and we wish instead to focus on work collaboratively tackling the real issues our residents face.”
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