Wednesday
Mar152017

Volunteer needed

TeaBooks is a charity project that organises book groups for the over-60s across Oxfordshire. We are hoping to start a new group in Yarnton Residential and Nursing Home, open to residents, visitors and the local community. We are looking for a volunteer to lead the group, once a month for about an hour. There will be a small time commitment between meetings to order books, etc. Full support and training provided by the TeaBooks manager. More information available from Amanda Ferguson on 07826 529232 or [email protected] or see the website www.bookfeast.net/TeaBooks.

Saturday
Feb112017

Comments from Cherwell District Council regarding proposal for a single Unitary Authority

Please see below a message from Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council:
Oxfordshire County Council has announced a proposal to create a single unitary authority for Oxfordshire in place of the current district/county council structure.

The proposal was originally opposed by all of Oxfordshire’s city and district councils, including Cherwell. However on Monday South Oxfordshire District Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council announced they are now in support of the county council’s proposal for a single unitary authority and will be working with them to develop a submission to Government.

Cherwell, West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxford City Council all remain opposed to the proposal for reasons including (but not limited to):

  • Council tax will increase for residents if a unitary council were to be introduced to cover the costs of implementation.
  • For years Oxfordshire County Council has increased its share of council tax whilst reducing services meaning residents pay more for less.
  • On the other hand Cherwell has frozen its share of council tax for the past seven years without reducing services. When taking into account inflation, residents now pay less for more from Cherwell.
  • Oxfordshire County Council’s previous poor performance in managing budgets and delivering services has led to cuts in services such as children’s centres and buses which have a particular impact on the most vulnerable members of society.
  • Cherwell is a strongly performing council which has repeatedly intervened where the county council has failed – this option would be lost if a unitary model were to be introduced.
  • Cherwell has taken innovative steps to generate income to address reductions in Government funding. These include the Build! project and Graven Hill Village Development Company.
  • The predicted savings cannot be guaranteed. There is also no reference to increasing service provision to residents implying the only options will be reductions or maintaining the status quo.
  • Cherwell has supported the growth of a strong economy; the district’s unemployment figures are the lowest on record (less than 300) and the total amount paid in business rates is the highest for all of Oxfordshire.
  • Local issues which are of huge importance to the local community, such as protecting the Horton General Hospital, will be diluted amongst the county’s wider issues and considered a distant problem to a city-based unitary authority.
  • A single point of contact will be a single point of failure. CDC is a successful council; it does not fail.

I have issued a press release to the media confirming the authority’s opposition to the proposals which can be read on Cherwell’s website.

Daily messages will also be posted on Cherwell’s Facebook page which I would encourage you to view and share.

Oxfordshire County Council is currently collecting feedback on the proposal for a single county unitary authority. CDC is encouraging stakeholders to take part in the survey and reject the plans to help protect the future of Cherwell and other district councils in Oxfordshire.

The survey is available to complete until 28 February by clicking here.

I will continue to keep you informed of information as it becomes available. In the meantime I can be contacted directly at [email protected]

Cllr Barry Wood, Leader of Cherwell District Council

Sunday
Feb052017

Lunch Club

We now have a number of vacant places at our Wednesday club. If anyone would like to join us, please ring David Poulton on Kidlington 374158

Saturday
Jan212017

ONE new Council for the whole of Oxfordshire? Have your say.

Oxfordshire County Council wants to know what you think about its draft proposal to abolish all six councils in Oxfordshire and replace them with a one new council for the whole county, called a ‘unitary’ council.  

Why change?

Central government is changing the way councils are funded, and councils will soon have to pay for services mainly from council tax and business rates. Unless local government is reorganised, Oxfordshire councils will not be able to pay for vital public services for local communities and vulnerable people as the population increases and gets older.

The proposal

Oxfordshire currently has a two-tier local government – a County Council plus five District and City Councils. Oxfordshire County Council thinks that all of Oxfordshire’s six Councils should be abolished and replaced with one new Unitary Council which would save £20m each year – money that would pay for better services and keep Council Tax low. That money would be enough to fill over 300,000 potholes or provide 1 million hours of home care.

The new Council would be simpler for residents and business, with one website and one point of contact.

One councillor would represent your community and be accountable for all services. As members of an ‘area board’ serving the existing District or City areas, each councillor would take decisions affecting their community and also the county as a whole.

Environmental services such as street cleaning, countryside services and grounds maintenance would be properly joined up and managed locally to respond to community needs.

Bringing together social services, housing, leisure and welfare benefits would mean joined up support for people who need extra help, improving health and wellbeing. And joining up planning, housing, jobs and transport would mean Oxfordshire’s housing shortage can be addressed, along with investment in vital infrastructure such as roads.

Without changing local government in Oxfordshire, further service cuts may be needed. The government is reducing funding and a Unitary Council is more financially sustainable in the long term.

Oxfordshire County Council believes a new council for the whole county makes most sense. Simpler. Better services. More local. Lower cost. That’s what ‘One Oxfordshire’ means. 

Join the debate

This is a draft proposal and Oxfordshire County Council wants to hear from residents, before finalising the proposal and sending it to the government for a decision. 

To find out more and have your say, go to www.oneoxfordshire.org or come to a drop-in event at a library near you. Dates of the events are available on the website.

A brochure giving more details can be obtained from the Parish Council office.

Monday
Jan092017

Yarnton Parish Council’s response to the first consultation by CDC regarding the 4400 homes being proposed within Yarnton, Kidlington and Begbroke.