Report this comment
  • "The only thing Oxford City Council is good for is raising council taxes and introducing stealth taxes. It is obvious that our councillors care little for democracy. How clever of them to introduce this when there are no local elections in the city this year."
  • This field is mandatory
  • This field is mandatory
  • Please note we will not accept reports with HTML tags or URLs in them.


  • Enter the above word in the box below

City council 'plans to abolish area committees'

Stephen Brown

Stephen Brown

First published in News by

OXFORD City Council is pushing ahead with controversial plans to overhaul its decision making despite public opposition.

The authority plans to downgrade its area committees that deal with neighbourhood issues, planning applications and grants to community groups.

It would also hand greater power to councillors on the executive board, allowing them to take decisions on their own. The Labour administration said it would improve efficiency and decision making.

It also said area committees were “overly influenced” by the public on planning decisions which had lead to the council losing costly appeals.

But the council’s public consultation revealed the majority of people were against the moves and opposition councillors claimed it had been designed to centralise power within the ruling Labour group.

Public opposition to each of the changes ranged between 55 and 86 per cent.

The council executive board is set to approve the plans at its meeting tonight, but a meeting of full council would need to ratify the decision next week.

Under the proposals, the six area committees that meet monthly would be axed and replaced by area forums that would meet quarterly.

They would also be stripped of planning powers, which would be handed to two newly created east and west planning committees.

Individual councillors would also be given a £1,500 budget to spend on neighbourhood projects or holding community meetings. Liberal Democrat leader Stephen Brown said their was “no reason of justification” for removing planning powers from area committees.

He said: “It is patently obvious, by any stretch of the imagination, the public do not want these changes.

Related links

“What is the point of having a consultation and then appearing not to take any notice of it? It is all about centralising and controlling.”

But council leader Bob Price said allowing single executive board members to take “non-controversial” decisions would improve efficiency.

He said area committees were not objective enough in deciding planning applications and this had lead to costly appeals being lost.

And he added the public consultation was not a fair representation of Oxford.

He said: “The number of people who responded was about 180.

“It is not a significant proportion of the city and most of them had a vested interest in maintaining the current committees.

“The opposition parties tried to get people to write in.”

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree