Oxfordshire Liberal Democrats

Oxford Liberal Democrats Call For End to Emergency Planning Powers

Oxford City Liberal Democrat Councillors have criticised the decision of the Labour Council to delegate all planning decision to officers without consultation.

In a letter to the Cabinet, Liberal Democrats have called for the use the of virtual meetings to keep the democratic process in place.

Read the letter below:

"Early in the current crisis, the Labour administration of Oxford City Council introduced new powers delegating all planning decisions to officers, without the democratic oversight of committee involvement, cancelling councillor “call-in” of sensitive or controversial applications, and allowing meetings of Council and the Scrutiny committee to be called and/or cancelled without consultation with their Chairs (respectively, Cllr Craig Simmons and myself). The Labour Cabinet should have consulted on these changes on a cross-party basis. They did not. They were simply presented as a fait accompli.

Liberal Democrats on the council fully recognise the scale of the challenges facing our dedicated and hard-working officers, and the nature of the issues facing them. We are pleased that, in the last few days, there has been a positive response to the concerns raised about delegation. Virtual meetings present challenges: but all councils and every other kind of organisation is facing those challenges. They can and must be overcome.

But we object strongly to the way these changes were implemented, without cross-party consultation. It is disappointing to see Labour’s centralising, controlling habits appearing once again. Liberal Democrats will continue to demand better standards of engagement and accountability."

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