The County Council’s Cabinet voted today to submit a unitary bid proposal called “A new council for a better Oxfordshire” to Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The proposal was co-written by the County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, and the Vale of White Horse Council, and all three authorities have now voted through executive decisions to press on with the submission.
The proposal can be seen at betteroxfordshire.org.uk
It makes a case for abolishing the existing two tier structure of six councils and replacing them with one new council for the whole of Oxfordshire.
If the proposal gets the backing of the Secretary of State, (this is by no means certain) it is possible that those elected to office in the May 2017 elections will only serve for two years until 2019, and the Oxford City Council elections might be suspended in 2018 allowing existing City councillors to continue until 2019. At that point, all out elections would take place for the new authority.
Oxford City Council’s “Hands off Oxford City” campaign has now come to a close. Over the next few weeks it will:
- Develop an alternative proposal which creates a partnership body to oversee spacial planning and infrastructure invested in the County with the aim to get all Councils to work together;
- Provide Government with an independent assessment of public opinion;
- Commission an independent and detailed analysis of the County Council Unitary proposals and publish that; and
- Ensure local stakeholders and the public know there is an alternative and publicise the results of public services.