CONTROVERSIAL plans for a ‘super council’ have taken a major step forward today – despite opposition from some authorities.

Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet this afternoon voted to send a formal request for the shake-up to the Government.

It has fired the starting gun of a process that will see Communities Secretary Sajid Javid make the final decision later this year.

County council leader Ian Hudspeth said: "This is a hugely important decision that reflects the shared view that the Better Oxfordshire proposal offers the best way to improve services and get the investment in roads and infrastructure that Oxfordshire urgently needs."

The super council plan would involve scrapping all six of the biggest councils and replacing them with a single authority to run their services, saving about £20m a year.

It would also see households across the county pay the same amount of council tax, meaning bills could go up for some households where it is currently lower.

But it has bitterly divided councils, with some arguing the larger authority will be too large to meet the needs of different communities.

It is supported by the county council, as well as Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils, but Oxford City Council, Cherwell District Council and West Oxfordshire District councils remain firmly opposed.

Supporters have vowed to press ahead, despite the row, claiming that a survey of 500 households in the county found 70 per cent backed the super council proposals.

However, an Ipsos MORI poll published last night by opponents of the plan poured fresh doubt on the county council’s claims.

The survey – from a sample of 1,950 people – found 82 per cent of respondents had ‘little or no understanding’ of the super council plan.

City council leader Bob Price said: “The county council’s bid to abolish five successful district councils has been decisively rejected by residents across the whole county area who were not fooled by a glossy PR campaign.

“If they proceed to submit a proposal to Government that lacks a shred of popular support, they will be riding roughshod over the public.”

The poll also found respondents supported housing, street cleaning, leisure centres, planning, waste collection being run at a ‘district or city level’.

West Oxfordshire District Council boss James Mills said: “It is imperative these views are taken into account.”

The county council’s cabinet will meet at 2pm in County Hall, Oxford.