When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
8:00am Thursday 31st May 2012 in Letters
Sir – I have stood down after six years as a city councillor. It has been an interesting experience. I have met a great range of people in my ward, really enjoyed working for residents and trying to do what I could for the preservation of what is special about my area, our precious green spaces and the historic integrity of the city.
However, I have noticed over the two years of the Labour administration a great change in our once democratic system.
Our area committees, in all except some traditionally Labour areas, worked well. People were able to have their concerns and local wisdom acknowledged and listened to in planning and other matters.
Now the area committees have been abolished and replaced by “forums”, talking shops with no powers or budgets.
The two new planning committees were gerrymandered in such a way that areas normally under the Green or Lib Dem influence are now ruled by a Labour majority. The strangely distorted area boundaries for these committees mean that our East Area is now under the West Area Committee.
St Clements is one of Oxford’s most colourful and interesting areas and I am concerned that the decision on the car park which supports so many of our businesses in these difficult times has in effect been deferred until after the elections.
The developers have lodged an appeal on the first application and I have ensured that the appeal will be contested at the level of an enquiry but there is a second application that is being negotiated at the moment for a development of the same size. The Labour administration is still committed to this and it is only too likely that it will allow it after the elections.
Over the last two years also, all power has been invested in our “strong leader” Labour’s Bob Price and, unfortunately, Labour councillors will not be allowed to go against the financial plans of their leader.
Nuala Young, Oxford