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Column 22nd July 2020

Your Council wants to know what you think it should do

The Vale of the White Horse District Council have set up an online consultation to determine the priorities for their Corporate Plan.

It’s over a year since they were elected so I guess it’s about time they started to work out what they want to do before 2024.

Their vision states that the 'Vale of White Horse District Council aims to help build and support thriving local communities, where everyone can enjoy the opportunity to live a happy and fulfilling life. We will do all we can to contribute to making that a reality in the Vale within the ecological constraints of our physical environment on planet earth, and we will ensure that our council and our district play their part in tackling the Climate Emergency.'

It sounds impressive but let’s just think what the District Council is responsible for.

They have responsibility for planning and deciding where houses are built and, to some extent, what proportion of those homes will be classified as “affordable”.

They don’t decide how many homes are built (that’s a national decision with the connivance of the unelected Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership).

They don’t decide what affordable means, that’s decided through a combination of developers controlling supply to keep prices high and the Government defining what percentage of market price is affordable.

They are responsible for the housing register and providing social housing.

They are responsible for waste collection (but not the recycling centres – that’s a County responsibility).

They are responsible for sports, leisure and art and in our area they are responsible for the Beacon, the Leisure Centre and the Wantage Memorial Park and for allocating developer contributions for sports facilities, leisure and art.

They own many of the open spaces in Wantage but not in Grove and are responsible for the children’s play areas.

They also have some environmental responsibilities. They can specify try to make new homes more carbon efficient and encourage us to improve our recycling. They can make their offices, parks and vehicles more environmentally friendly and encourage us to do the same.

They have identified their themes for the corporate plan as:

  • Providing the homes people need
  • Tackling the Climate Emergency
  • Building Healthy Communities
  • Building Stable Finances
  • Working in Partnership
  • Working in an Open and Inclusive Way.

We are invited to suggest what they should focus on so go to https://survey.southandvale.gov.uk/s/Valecorporateplanfeedback/ to give them your ideas.


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