Greens seek three unitaries for Oxfordshire

An appeal to the warring factions behind differing proposals to restructure local government in Oxfordshire has been made by Oxfordshire Green Party. County Councillor David Williams is suggesting that both sides in the debate, the County Council and District Councils, come together and adopt a plan for three unitary authorities in the Oxfordshire area.

The Green have prepared a detailed 27 page review that looks at the future of all services under local authority control and lays out clearly what would be the most efficient, economic and most democratic structure.

Councillor Williams says: "Our plan would mean the abolition of virtually all of the existing structures with the exception of the City. In the forthcoming reform that is inevitable for most councils whatever is agreed. A great deal of money and Officer time can be saved if a three unitary compromise can be obtained."

David Williams adds:

The Oxfordshire Green Party review suggests three Unitary councils rather than the present County Council and five District Councils. There would be a Northern Unitary composed of West Oxfordshire and Cherwell council areas; an Oxford City unitary; and a Southern Unitary created from the existing council areas of the Vale of the White Horse and South Oxfordshire.

David Williams notes:

The public money spent on consultants and the immense periods of time spent by Councils and Council Officers on devolution to Unitary authorities has not been justified. Reluctance to publish the findings of these consultants on the part of our councils suggests the commissioned research offers things our councils do not want to hear. Have the consultants come to the same conclusion as the Green Review?

The Greens have also asked that the new unitary authorities are elected by Proportional Representation but Councillor Williams acknowledges that Central Government is likely to veto that.

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