Website URL : http://www.cherwell.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=11980

Last chance to make voices heard

People are being reminded there is still time to oppose plans for a single unitary authority in Oxfordshire ahead of a vote being taken next week.

On Tuesday (14 March), Oxfordshire County Council will vote on whether to proceed with plans to scrap the area's city and district councils and replace them with a single unitary authority with responsibility for all service delivery.

A petition opposing the proposals has been launched by Cherwell District Council, which has raised concerns about finance, service delivery and localism if the plans were to proceed.

Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council, said: "Cherwell has not increased its share of council tax for eight years. We have protected all frontline services. And on top of that we have delivered £8 million of savings since 2011. Yet next week Oxfordshire County Council will decide whether it wants to scrap these achievements and replace them with an untested, centralised model which will take control away from residents and place it in the hands of people who have no connection to the district.

"Local government should be just that - government at a local level. These proposals directly contravene this basic concept and we would urge as many people as possible to join us in voicing their opposition and signing the petition. By speaking up now, people have the chance to be heard. If they wait until later their voice will be lost."

Next week Oxfordshire County Council will vote on whether to submit plans for a single unitary authority to the Government for consideration.

The proposals have been opposed by Cherwell, West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxford City Council who have jointly invited Sajid Javid MP to meet with them to discuss alternative options. Mr Javid, who is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, will be responsible for providing recommendations on Oxfordshire County Council's plans to the Government for consideration.

Signatures gathered through the petition will be used to evidence the lack of consensus towards the plans. To sign the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/stop-plans-for-a-unitary-authority-in-oxfordshire

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