Liberal Democrat leaders on District Councils across Oxfordshire have backed local democracy over government diktat.
The intervention by the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick, in the South Oxfordshire District Council's Local Plan process demonstrates this Conservative Government's disregard for local democracy and the views of residents.
This heavy-handed move to prevent South Oxfordshire Councillors (and the 34 members of the public registered to speak) from debating and deciding how to progress with THEIR local plan is outrageous.
In May, Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent councillors were elected across South Oxfordshire because they were vocally opposed to the high housing numbers and some of the development sites in the draft Local Plan.
Therefore, it is right for the new administration to explore how to deliver a different Local Plan for local residents.
Councillors are elected to represent local residents and make decisions about local council matters on their behalf. It's how representative democracy works.
In fact, the Minister's own department's website says:
"The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s job is to create great places to live and work, and to give more power to local people to shape what happens in their area."
Whatever your views on the Local Plan in question, for a government minister to prevent the local democratic process taking place is an insult to local voters and a very dangerous precedent to set.
We support our South Oxfordshire colleagues in their efforts to win back control of THEIR Local Plan.
Emily Smith, Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council
Andy Graham, Leader of the West Oxfordshire Liberal Democrat Group
Andrew Gant, Leader of the Oxford City Liberal Democrat Group
Katherine Tyson, Leader of the Cherwell Liberal Democrat Group
Richard Webber, Leader of the Oxfordshire County Council Liberal Democrat Group