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WODC: Unitary proposals for Oxfordshire   ()

Dear All

The District Council is responding to the ‘One Oxfordshire’ proposal by alerting residents as to the impact a single unitary authority would have on our District.
All the information is on a web page – www.westoxon.gov.uk/at-risk - and also below. We are encouraging people to complete both the Oxfordshire County Council survey and  our own.
If you, or any of your councillors, have any queries, please contact your local district councillor or Cllr James Mills on james.mills@westoxon.gov.uk.
 
Do you think West Oxfordshire is too good to lose?
 
Oxfordshire County Council wants to set up a single unitary authority ‘One Oxfordshire.’ This would spell the end for district councils, putting many services and benefits we now have at risk.
 
AT RISK:
·         Our low council tax
·         Free parking
·         Proposed A40 improvements
·         Local knowledge and a local voice
·         Leisure centres and community facilities
·         Dix Pit Waste Recycling Centre
·        Our buoyant local economy
 
West Oxfordshire’s track record of delivering local services has been proven time and time again. We are also aware of, and act on, the specific issues and challenges facing the District, such as housing and infrastructure.
 
We believe an efficient and locally accountable district council is best placed to serve the needs of local residents.
 
Oxfordshire County Council has repeatedly failed in key areas such as highways, transport and social care.
 
Have your say
We think there is too much at stake to gamble on the One Oxfordshire unitary proposal. Let Oxfordshire County Council know what you think by completing their online survey before Tuesday 28 February 2017.
 
www.westoxon.gov.uk/at-risk - for your views on the impact for West Oxfordshire
www.oneoxfordshire.org – to join the countywide debate
 
The risks in more detail
 
AT RISK: Our low council tax
Are you worried about increases in council tax?
We have the second lowest district council tax charge in England. This is likely to rise under a single Oxfordshire authority due to a need to equalise spending and tax plans across the county.
 
AT RISK: Free parking
Do you want free parking to continue in West Oxfordshire?
One Oxfordshire is a threat to our free parking policy here in West Oxfordshire. This benefits our residents and is a major driver behind our thriving town centres and flourishing local economy. Parking charges would pose a threat to retailers and business as a whole.
 
AT RISK: Proposed A40 improvements
Are you fed up of travelling on congested, poorly maintained roads such as the A40?
The current devolution model would unlock government funds for major improvements, but creating a new authority would add years to any future developments.
 
AT RISK: Local knowledge and a local voice
Should decisions about where you live be taken locally rather than remotely?
Under One Oxfordshire, all decisions would be significantly influenced by councillors who live outside of West Oxfordshire. Without local knowledge they will not have your best interests at heart, because they will not know what they are.
 
AT RISK: Leisure and community facilities
Should community facilities continue to be improved?
We help fund maintenance and improvement to parks, play areas and village halls. Future improvements are planned for our leisure centres including phase 2 of Carterton. With One Oxfordshire there is no guarantee these improvements will take place. Instead, cuts are more likely in order to fund county council services.   
 
AT RISK: Dix Pit Waste Recycling Centre
Do you want to retain a local Waste Recycling Centre?
We now only have one Waste Recycling Centre remaining in the District. In 2015 we successfully fought against Oxfordshire County Council’s plans to close this Centre.  Further cost cutting by a One Oxfordshire authority could put the Centre at risk again. 
 
AT RISK: Our buoyant local economy
Do you want unemployment to remain low?
We play a key role in driving economic growth in West Oxfordshire. We have secured significant The unemployment rate is now one of the lowest in England.
 
 
To summarise, for West Oxfordshire residents the impact of the single council proposal will be:
 
One Oxfordshire - PAY MORE and GET LESS