Boundary changes to save councils £173k as 36 councillors will go

Witney Gazette: Didcot town council leader Margaret Davies Didcot town council leader Margaret Davies

BOUNDARY Commission bosses have agreed to axe 25 district councillors in southern Oxfordshire and 11 county councillors.

The potential savings in basic allowances are about £50,000-a-year at Vale of White Horse District Council and £35,000 at South Oxfordshire District Council.

At Oxfordshire County Council the bill could be reduced by about £88,000.

In Didcot, a quarter of all district councillors will represent the town following changes which reflect its growing population.

The commission has agreed to axe 12 district councillors representing wards across South Oxfordshire. The decision followed eight weeks of public consultation. Instead of 48 councillors, there will be 36.

The Winterbrook area of Wallingford will now become part of a two-member Wallingford ward.

Cholsey parish council chairman Mark Gray said: “Two councillors instead of three will represent Cholsey and Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, and Winterbrook is coming out of a Cholsey ward and going into a Wallingford ward. I don’t think that’s a good decision – there’s a historic link between Cholsey and Winterbrook going back to the Domesday Book.

David Buckle, joint chief executive of the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils, said Didcot would now have eight councillors representing it instead of nine.

“It’s entirely appropriate that Didcot will have a quarter of the total number as it is such a growth town, with thousands of new homes being built at Great Western Park,” said Mr Buckle.

The recommendations, which will come into force at the district council elections in May 2015, say the remaining councillors should represent four three-member wards, seven two-member wards and ten single-member wards across the district.

Related links

Didcot town council leader Margaret Davies, district councillor for Didcot Park ward, welcomed the ruling that East and West Hagbourne should be included in a ward with parishes to their east, instead of being linked with Didcot.

She said: “The Hagbournes wanted to retain their rural identity and, like a lot of villages, fear being swallowed up by Didcot.”

East Hagbourne parish council chairman, David Rickeard said: “We are pleased that the Boundary Commission has responded to local opinion.

“The Hagbournes will now be in a big ward with Cholsey, Moulsford, Brightwell, the Astons and the Moretons.”

Commission chairman Max Caller said: “We believe these recommendations deliver electoral equality for voters.”

THE NUMBERS

  • Oxford City Council – 48 councillors. No plans to reduce the number at election in 2014.
  • Vale of White Horse District Council – from May 2015, 38 councillors, 13 fewer.
  • South Oxfordshire District Council – from May 2015, 36 councillors, 12 fewer.
  • West Oxfordshire – 49 councillors. No plans to reduce the number at election in 2014.
  • Cherwell – 50 councillors. No plans to reduce the number at election in 2014.
  • Oxfordshire County Council – from May 2, 2013, 63 council seats up for election, down from 74.

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:37pm Fri 5 Apr 13

Man on the Green says...

We should be pressing for commensurate reductions in WODC and Cherwell. Most have little real purpose other than be there to "endorse" the leader's self-promotion schemes, and help the sort of cover-up recently denounced by Eric Pickles, in return for which they receive handsome "allowances" (paid for out of our council tax). In this respect, we still need to know the truth about the £110,000 buy-off of Cath James, erstwhile Strategy Director at the WODC, which was condemned by the Council auditor (and actually constituted prima facie criminal conduct under the Audit Act).
We should be pressing for commensurate reductions in WODC and Cherwell. Most have little real purpose other than be there to "endorse" the leader's self-promotion schemes, and help the sort of cover-up recently denounced by Eric Pickles, in return for which they receive handsome "allowances" (paid for out of our council tax). In this respect, we still need to know the truth about the £110,000 buy-off of Cath James, erstwhile Strategy Director at the WODC, which was condemned by the Council auditor (and actually constituted prima facie criminal conduct under the Audit Act). Man on the Green
  • Score: 0

1:18pm Fri 5 Apr 13

Man on the Green says...

This is what the responsible Minister, Eric Pickles said about such pay-offs:

“For too long local government has made departing staff sign gagging orders, often with big pay-offs attached, away from the eyes of those who get left with the bill: the taxpayer.

When leaving a job, councils and their employees need to part ways fairly. Giving out thousands in under-the-counter pay-offs to silence departing staff is not the way to achieve this.

Councils have a responsibility to the public and transparency is at the heart of that. By shining a light on these activities and introducing new democratic checks and balances to stop gagging orders being abused we are helping councils improve accountability in local government.”

It's hard to disagree with a single word of what he said. It's high time the disgraceful conduct of the WODC leader and chief executive is held up to full and public scrutiny. There is no excuse whatsoever for this atrocious lack of transparency around the use of taxpayer monies. We can't keep on waiting.
This is what the responsible Minister, Eric Pickles said about such pay-offs: “For too long local government has made departing staff sign gagging orders, often with big pay-offs attached, away from the eyes of those who get left with the bill: the taxpayer. When leaving a job, councils and their employees need to part ways fairly. Giving out thousands in under-the-counter pay-offs to silence departing staff is not the way to achieve this. Councils have a responsibility to the public and transparency is at the heart of that. By shining a light on these activities and introducing new democratic checks and balances to stop gagging orders being abused we are helping councils improve accountability in local government.” It's hard to disagree with a single word of what he said. It's high time the disgraceful conduct of the WODC leader and chief executive is held up to full and public scrutiny. There is no excuse whatsoever for this atrocious lack of transparency around the use of taxpayer monies. We can't keep on waiting. Man on the Green
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

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