And so the struggle continues as to who will set your council tax and provide your services.
Oxfordshire commisioned a survey which they say shows that the majority of people would prefer everything to be done by Oxfordshire County Council. They give the results as the majority agreeing with abolishing the six councils and setting up a unitary council in all district and city council areas. They do not provide a copy of the information provided during the survey nor the exact question(s) asked which rather devalues the results.
- 78% in West Oxfordshire
- 75% in South Oxfordshire
- 69% in Oxford
- 67% in Vale of White Horse
- 63% in Cherwell
Meanwhile Cherwell D.C. are resisting. They say local control is more accountable which may well be true. Cherwell also point out that unlike O.C.C. they are not in financial difficulties although the comparison here seems a little disingenuous given that it is OCC who provide some of the more challenging services – such as social services -right across the county.
Cherwell D.C. has also initiated a petition against such a merger which seems to have run out of steam with under 1000 signatures.
The outcome is not just academic. It could have significant consequences for planning decisions where the Oxford-centric position seems to be to push new development into the surrounding areas. What would become of the Cherwell Local Plan or the Bloxham Neighbourhood Plan is anyone’s guess.