Updated: Major political parties make their pitch for Cherwell District Council
Voters will be heading to the polls to vote for Cherwell District Council on May 6.
We asked the parties with the most representatives to provide reasons why you should vote for them.
Here are their replies (in alphabetical order).
Cherwell District Council:
"Under Conservative leadership Cherwell District Council is helping Banbury embark on a bright new chapter.
"Residents will have noticed the transformation to the town centre skyline as construction of the £60 million leisure extension to Castle Quay continues at pace. The hotel and Lidl supermarket will open soon with canal-side restaurants and a multi-screen cinema also coming. The opening of the waterfront development will be a step change for Banbury. It is the single largest investment in our town in a generation and we are proud to be delivering it.
"We have continued to champion Banbury as a great place to invest and do business helping to create diverse jobs and keep local unemployment low.
"We are also helping people achieve the dream of homeownership by facilitating the building of the new homes people need and turning brownfield land into affordable homes for purchase or rent.
"Our hope is for Banbury to be a thriving town with opportunities for all. We will not be thrown off course by Covid-19. We have supported residents, local businesses, and community organisations throughout the pandemic, but we know the hard work will not stop there.
"A vote for your Conservative candidate on 6 May will keep us on the path of progression. We hope we can count on your support."
"Having just one Green councillor on Cherwell District Council has made a hugely positive difference to residents over the past two years, and we now need to build on that success.
"Following the election of Cherwell's first Green councillor in 2019 a climate emergency motion was passed. Sadly, very little progress has been made since, but Greens will keep the pressure on the council to fulfil its promises to future generations.
"While the Conservatives continue with plans to concrete over our precious green spaces, Greens are actively defending them in areas like Kidlington, Yarnton and Begbroke where a legal challenge to this devastation is ongoing.
"Greens have revealed the impact of the council's investments into commercial property where massive losses have resulted in cuts to front line services. We're pushing for greater transparency and value for money for all council tax payers in Cherwell.
"We're also calling for more support for local key workers and NHS staff along with an emphasis on public health initiatives such as local Covid test and trace facilities.
"Greens have also been the driving force behind plans to tackle increased flooding threats across the district. In February a Green motion calling for a better response to this important issue was passed unanimously.
"Green councillors always work hard for residents, putting the needs of the community before party politics. Greater Green representation will mean more focus on important local issues as well as leaving future generations with a planet that's fit to live on."
"A Labour-run Cherwell District Council will ensure that all of our residents and business are provided with the security and opportunity that they deserve. After a decade of cuts, we now have the opportunity to build a better future, rather than returning to failed Conservative polices. Now is not the time to be raising taxes for residents, which is why Labour voted against the Conservative’s recent council tax hike, which is hitting your pocket right now.
"Labour prioritises providing more housing that local people can afford. We commit to making developers provide more genuinely affordable housing on every new scheme.
"Labour believes in growth that benefits local communities. We commit to more investment in local services and infrastructure.
"Labour wants better standards in private rented accommodation across our district. We commit to a licensing scheme for landlords and giving tenants a louder voice with proper engagement.
"Labour champions real action to tackle the climate emergency. We commit to a citizens assembly and more ambitious targets for making a zero-carbon Cherwell.
"Labour believes in our town centres. We commit to investment, innovation and improvement in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington for thriving high streets.
"Labour understands the value of quality public services, not just the price of the market. That is why Labour will fund local councils to prevent the need for council tax rises.
"Please vote Labour on Thursday 6th May."
"The Liberal Democrats stand for a fairer, greener, more caring Cherwell. We will decarbonise public transport and invest in walking, cycling, bus and rail infrastructure throughout the local area, ensuring walking and cycling routes are put first when designing highways.
"We will achieve this by working with local communities to develop active travel plans in Banbury. We will look to expand low traffic neighbourhoods and to implement 20 mph speed limits in residential areas.
"After 16 years trying, the Tories still don’t maintain the roads, more than 40,000 potholes had to be fixed last year alone. We will invest in improvements across Banbury and North Oxfordshire.
"We will invest in Banbury’s young people by providing funding to children’s centres and early years support and by restoring the Oxfordshire Youth Service. It is vital that children’s and adults’ health and social care is made a priority, and we therefore pledge to conduct a mental health services review to ensure the very best support for the most vulnerable in our local community. In order to achieve this we will work more closely with local health and social care providers to ensure quality support, and we will fight for integrated health and social care to be delivered and scrutinised locally.
"We will involve residents and community groups in planning services and infrastructure, and we will respect and listen to the views of local North Oxfordshire residents by involving people and community groups in planning services and infrastructure.
"A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for the fairer, more caring and more responsible management of Cherwell’s public funds."
Banbury Hardwick Ward
Independent: Berenice Westwood
She said: “The best way to effect change in your community is to get on the local council. This is what someone told me over a year ago, and so I made the decision to run in these elections. This is the first time I have done anything like this, but I feel very strongly that I want to have a positive impact on my home town.
"I feel totally disenfranchised with party politics, especially on a local level, but I feel inspired by DIY democracy. I believe in community-led politics, and I hope to involve you as much as possible when it comes to local council matters; I will ask your opinion, run polls, and maintain a consistent line of communication.
"What I really hope to get stuck into is cleaning Banbury up a bit – the quality of our air, tackling the litter problem, and reducing the amount of single use plastic in our town.
Our local councils can achieve more than we know – small changes in a community that can make all the difference – and I hope to realise some of these changes (with your help).
"I’m not an expert on any of this stuff, and I haven’t got all of the answers, but I feel certain local democracy needs a shake up, and I am getting fed up with waiting for other people to do it. I am proactive, and I am a do-er, so here I am, hoping to make a positive difference."
Reform UK: Stephen Christopher Hartley
Banbury Calthorpe & Easington Ward
Independent - John Jefferson Brown
Mr Brown said: "Get off your knees. Take back your freedom. Live your life. Big party politicians are the problem. They do not have our best interests at heart. It's all about their handlers, themselves and the party.
"No more lockdowns. They are inhumane and only benefit powerful big businesses and are certainly not based in science as they claim. Propaganda and fear: That’s the real pandemic. It’s time to turn off the television, take off those masks, throw open the doors and feel the sun on your face. Don’t exist to ‘stay alive,’ it’s time to live and be alive.
"What will you tell your grandkids what you did during the world Covid hoax? If you have to ask for freedom that means you are not free. You take freedom. You don't ask for it. Reclaim your lives. Think for yourselves and question everything...wake up!"