Tory-run Oxfordshire County Council have published proposals which would see Oxford City Council abolished, along with the four neighbouring district councils, and replaced with a new Countywide Council. The 'One Oxfordshire' (see www.oneoxfordshire.org) proposals, labelled as 'crazy' by Green County Councillor David Williams, are also backed by Labour and LibDem County Councillors who seem to have fallen in line with the Tories.
No one can say for certain what changes a Tory-run Council would make to the City. However, historically the County Conservatives have not supported a number of policies which have been backed by the people of Oxford and its councillors, for example, policies on affordable housing, homelessness, the Oxford Living Wage and climate change.
They have also taken a very different approach to how the council provide services. Whereas Oxford has continued to operate its own services and held on to its assets, the County Conservatives have chosen to privatise services and sell-off assets. This means that as Government funding has reduced Oxford has not suffered any serious service cuts or redundancies in recent years.
Of course, Oxford City Council is not perfect but it is far more accountable and far more reflective of the electorate it serves than the Conservative majority that pervades the rest of the County.
Luckily there is still time to oppose One Oxfordshire as the proposals are out for consultation* (until end February 2017). Sign our petition and let the Tories, Labour and LibDem Councillors on Oxfordshire County Council know that you do not want to see Oxford City Council abolished and Oxford ruled by Tories.
*You can also respond directly to the online consultation here - www.oneoxfordshire.org/get-involved38 signaturesWe are opposed to the One Oxfordshire proposal that will replace local councils with a large distant bureaucracy covering the whole of Oxfordshire, which will not reflect the diversity of the county.
@RuthiBrandt tweeted link to Petition. 2015-08-03 19:04:39 +0100Sign the petition: Save East Oxford's Community Facilities http://www.greenoxfordshire.com/saveourcommunityfacilities?recruiter_id=49265
The Labour-run City Council is planning to seize direct control of East Oxford Community Centre (on the Cowley Road) and rush through a redevelopment funded by selling off the East Oxford Games Hall and Film Oxford sites.
The Centre is currently run by the East Oxford Community Association. EOCA has a chequered history but the current management committee have proven themselves to be effective managers of the Centre. The Centre is home to many local groups (including Fusion Arts & Oxford Action Resource Centre) and most nights all available rooms are
booked out. Both the Games Hall and Film Oxford are also well used, the latter includes a well-loved community garden.
Says local Green Councillor Elise Benjamin:
“There is already mistrust in the community because of Temple Cowley Pools and the old Cowley Community Centre and now East Oxford residents are being hit again by a Labour council that seems more interested in selling the community to the highest bidder. These plans make a mockery of council claims they will consult the community about the future use of the East Oxford Community Centre. Users of East Oxford Games Hall and Film Oxford weren't even aware of the plans to close them.”129 signatures
Green Councillors are calling on the Labour-run City Council to ‘think again’ about its decision to seize direct control of East Oxford Community Centre from the Community Association and rush through a redevelopment funded by selling off the East Oxford Games Hall and Film Oxford sites.
We are calling for:
- A Centre run for the community by the community
- Improvements to the East Oxford Community Centre not to be made dependent on the closure of the Games Hall and Film Oxford.
- Proper public consultation on the future of community provision in East Oxford
Oxford is now the most unaffordable place to live in the UK. Houses cost more than 11 times average wages. The country and Oxford's council have a housing crisis on their hands.
Too often, people paying rent get poor service from rogue agencies and landlords. Greens want to take action to drive up standards in rented housing and to tackle the burden of rent.
We believe that access to housing is a human right—the council must do more to meet the housing needs of people in Oxford. Greens support increasing the number of council and social homes available to those who need them.
No council houses have been completed in the last year in Oxford. So when suitable houses become available on the local market, Oxford City Council should purchase them to increase the council housing stock.31 signatures
We demand that Oxford City Council use some of the £10m it has set aside to buy properties for use as Council housing to purchase the Crown House Club on the corner of Crown Street and St Mary’s Road in East Oxford. The Council could then provide 4 flats for immediate rent and a potential additional 5 flats for rent once the non-residential parts of the building are converted for residential use.
We believe the £1m price tag for the Crown House Club, and the potential to create up to 9 Council housing units in an area of housing need, presents excellent value for money for the City Council. With a constant decline in social housing available in the city, it would be a travesty to pass on such a good opportunity to increase the Council's housing stock.
Ruthi Brandt, councillor for Carfax ward
After several years of environmental activism as a student, Ruthi Brandt came to Oxford to pursue a research degree in animal behaviour. During that time she has founded the Oxford Roots & Shoots Society which campaigned on issues ranging from wildlife conservation to climate change. She has been living in the city for ten years.
Since graduation she has been involved with other campaigning groups such as – the local Greenpeace group, climate camp and 350.org. In the last few years she has been active with - and working for - UK Tar Sands Network. She has also been an active member of The People’s Supermarket co-op in East Oxford.
After working with Green councillors last year to make Oxford the first Tar-Free city in the EU, Ruthi decided to take the ‘think global, act local’ phrase to a new level by becoming a Green Party councillor on the city council.
You can contact her on ruthi[at]greenoxford.com