WILL THE END OF OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL IMPROVE BICESTER?
The BBC are reporting that a recently published plan could see the end of Oxfordshire County Council and it's powers and responsibilities split between the district councils.
The proposal says that Cherwell District Council will assume those responsibilities currently held by Oxfordshire County Council for our North Oxfordshire region. Additionally it suggests that Cherwell District Council could merge with South Northants Council into a single body. The two councils currently work together sharing administrative functions.
So why is this good for bicester?
Currently different issues in Bicester are split between three different councils, Bicester Town, Cherwell District and Oxfordshire. In summary each looks after;
- Bicester Town - Town maintenance, local planning issues e.g. extension to a home
- Cherwell District - Major planning issues, council tax, refuse collection, housing, benefits
- Oxfordshire County - Libraries and transport.
Historically we have seen severe mis-matches between Cherwell District and Oxfordshire County when it comes to planning. Cherwell allows new housing developments but Oxfordshire does not co-ordinate the transport (e.g. road) infrastructure correctly. By combining the responsibilities into a single entity some inefficiencies will decrease and hopefully the outcomes improve (examples: Howes Lane, London Road Level crossing, Southern Ring Road)
Also many residents complain that if they take an issue to one councillor they are told 'oh sorry, that's not my council, that is XYZ council you need to talk to'. Technically they are correct but pragmatically this is ridicuous because most of our councillors sit on multiple councils; for example around the table at Bicester Town Council, despite being the least powerful body, all the necessary people sit and could speak to each other and resolve the issues. Do they? Not really and our members attend the vast majoroty of Bicester Town Council meetings.
So from BicesterTAG's perspective, we believe that scrapping one tier of our three tier local government would be a benefit to our town's growth and future. What do you think?