Green party unveils its own vision for unitary authority

David Williams, leader of the Green group at Oxfordshire County Council.

David Williams, leader of the Green group at Oxfordshire County Council.

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Oxfordshire Green Party has put forward its own proposal for the reorganisation of local government in the county after describing the ‘One Oxfordshire’ vision as ‘remote and dysfunctional.’

Last month Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) unveiled its proposal for a single unitary authority for the county, which would see the eradication of the county and district councils.

All council services would then be run by one council and the number of councillors reduced from 282 to 100 to 125.

So far, the proposal has received little support from district councils.

David Williams, leader of the Green group at OCC, said the party rejected having a single unitary authority covering the whole county and instead favoured having three unitary councils for the north, Oxford and south.

Mr Williams, who was one of the main authors of the party’s submission said: “A single unitary council covering the whole of Oxfordshire would be hopelessly remote and dysfunctional.

“In order to make decisions, councillors on such a body would need to meet in area groups because local knowledge is needed to make decisions about planning and local services.

“Dispersal of such meetings around the County would certainly chip away at claimed savings from this proposal.

“We are concerned that a single unitary might want to siphon off money from Oxford City Council to areas of the county which do not have ‘big city’ needs.

“At least a quarter of Oxford’s children live in poverty-stricken households, housing is under-funded and our schools struggle to recruit and retain teachers.

“We do not have enough money to guarantee potholes in many side-streets are ever repaired. Taking money out of Oxford would make things worse.

“Oxfordshire Green Party supports having three unitary councils for the county: north (Cherwell/West Oxon), Oxford and South (Vale of the Whitehorse and South Oxon). Each of these areas should have full coverage of parish and town councils. Abolition of the Local Economic Partnership and the transfer of its funds to three new unitary councils would help to restore local services after years of cuts.”

Once complete, the Green party proposal will be at www.greenoxfordshire.com