Today we reveal discussions are taking place in Oxfordshire over a new devolution deal that council leaders could seek with the Government.

These discussions are understood to have started about a month ago and could see hundreds of millions of pounds being sought in funding agreements.

There are also demands for control over the A34, the retention of business rates and a partnership with the Skills Funding Agency to better target the type of training courses needed for Oxfordshire’s ‘knowledge-based’ economy.

Council leaders say this will give them the ability to accelerate economic growth and make them more directly accountable.

In particular they point to routes such as the A34 and A40, two of the county’s roads that are constantly on the brink of gridlock.

Taking control of the A34 from Highways England, they say, will put local people in charge of fixing a local issue.

This theory – and it’s potential for success – is untested, but will surely be something motorists caught in traffic jams every morning will think is worth trying.

But an obstacle to this could be the reluctance in the county to consider a directly-elected mayor.

It is unclear how such a role could actually work across the city and districts, yet the Treasury reiterated this week that it sees the inclusion of the role as key for accountability. But council leaders are reluctant to concentrate power into one person’s hands.

Ultimately, it could be this factor over others that decides whether Oxfordshire can win the historic transfer of powers it wants.

Meanwhile, the conclusion of a two-year battle by campaigners to release documents concerning the failed £100m proposals for the West Way and Elms Parade shopping areas of Botley shed important light on decision-making processes.

Residents long argued the scale of the development was too big and supermarkets were not interested in joining the scheme.

It has now emerged the council was warned of these very points before it embarked on the scheme.

Questions must now be asked about why the authority proceeded with the scheme in the light of such advice.

What is clear is that a scheme must also be put in place that better meets the needs of people in Botley.

But more troubling is the council’s effort to suppress the publication of the documents.

The authority is right to say some are commercially sensitive, but – as the Information Commissioner has ruled – the publication of others was clearly in the public interest.

It is important to consider such cases as the Government carries out its review of our Freedom of Information laws.