Banbury residents invited to share big issues and priorities with county council

Residents of Banbury have been invited to talk with and question a panel of county councillors about the issues that matter the most to them.
Oxfordshire County Council has organised seven events in September to bring together residents and councillors to talk about local and countywide concerns.Oxfordshire County Council has organised seven events in September to bring together residents and councillors to talk about local and countywide concerns.
Oxfordshire County Council has organised seven events in September to bring together residents and councillors to talk about local and countywide concerns.

Oxfordshire County Council has organised seven events in September to bring together residents and councillors to talk about local and countywide concerns.

Five of the events will take place in-person including one at Banbury’s The Mill Arts Centre on Monday September 19 and the remaining other two events will take place online.

Leader of Oxfordshire County Council Cllr Liz Leffman said: “Oxfordshire conversations demonstrate our ongoing commitment to playing our part in a vibrant and participatory local democracy by listening to residents in a more active and inclusive way.

“Primarily, we want to talk to residents about the big issues that matter to them and their communities. We also want to check that the priorities we set last year as part of our new strategic plan still align with those of our residents, as part of the process of setting a new budget for next year. We are all facing new and significant financial pressures as a result of the cost of living crisis, and we want to hear from residents about their experiences."

Residents that wish to ask a question have been asked to submit it in advance as part of registering to attend an event. Alternatively, they can email [email protected].

There will be additional opportunities for members of the public to ask questions during the event itself and residents have also been invited to come along and just listen.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Cllr Calum Miller said: “We know that households across our county are facing huge financial challenges this autumn. Rising prices make this a cost of living emergency. The county council is also facing major budget pressures. We are committed to providing support to the most vulnerable people in our communities but, as the cost of doing this rises and our funding fails to keep pace, we face tough choices.

“Significant increases in inflation, the increases in energy, fuel and material costs, staff shortages are driving up costs and a shortfall in government funding are leading to a predicted funding shortfall of over £30 million next year. Other pressures include the growing nationwide costs of supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and the financial impact of implementing the government’s adult social care reforms.

“We are committed to the responsible management of the council’s finances and are planning ahead carefully to meet current and future financial challenges. We are at an early stage of our budget-setting process so we are keen to listen to what services local people value most and their priorities, and for these views to help shape our budget proposals. The Oxfordshire Conversations are a great way to start this discussion.”

The events taking place are as follows:

Monday September 12, 11 am - 12.30 pm, online Monday September 12, 7 pm - 8.30 pm, Abingdon, Guildhall Wednesday September 14, 7 pm - 8.30 pm, Witney, High Street Methodist Church Thursday September 15, 7 pm - 8.30 pm, Oxford, Old Fire Station Monday September 19, 7 pm - 8.30 pm, Banbury, The Mill Arts Centre Wednesday September 21, 7 pm - 8.30 pm, online Thursday September 22, 7 pm - 8.30 pm, Didcot, Cornerstone Arts Centre