Councillors in West Oxfordshire have approved funding of £25,000 to be allocated to the battle against proposals to create a “super council.”
The cash will be used to finance the ongoing communications strategy which has included a comprehensive social media campaign and online survey, a letter to residents and signs in prominent positions across the district in response to Oxfordshire County Council’s “One Oxfordshire” proposals.
Addressing a meeting of full Council on Wednesday, Leader Cllr James Mills held up letters from residents supporting West Oxfordshire District Council’s position and its key benefits and services including free parking and low council tax.
It is believed these are at risk should a unitary authority come into existence, effectively abolishing the district councils.
Cllr Mills said: “I am representing the views of our residents. This is just a small sample of the letters, emails and telephone calls I have received.
“This is not a programme of this council’s making but when it is so clear how our residents feel, I believe we must relay the other side of the story.”
Cllr Mills added that the County Council is spending £200,000 on its campaign and said he had made it clear to them that he believed there are “better things to spend the money on.”
He added: “The County keep saying they will save £20m a year under One Oxfordshire. But I believe the districts could show Oxfordshire how to save up to five times as much as that.”
Cllr Mills is in favour of the creation of a combined authority model with a local mayor which would pave the way for devolution, unlocking central government funds for major infrastructure improvements.
Residents can have their say at: www.westoxon.gov.uk/at-risk
Oxfordshire County Council’s survey can be seen at: www.oneoxfordshire.org/get-involved