WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 2nd June 2021

Will there be any changes to housing plans as a result of the Election?

In the election at the beginning of May we all voted for our preferred County Councillors.

In the OX12 area this meant that, with the exception of Mike Fox-Davies (who didn’t stand for the Hendreds and Harwell), the sitting incumbents remained in post.

Jenny Hannaby and Jane Hanna OBE remain Liberal Democrat County Councillors for Wantage and Grove.

Yvonne Constance OBE remains Conservative County Councillor for Shrivenham and all the villages to the west of Wantage.

Sally Povolotsky Liberal Democrat took the seat for Hendreds and Harwell from the Conservative Party.

Prior to the election, Oxfordshire County Council had been led by a minority Conservative administration with support from an independent.

In the election the Conservatives lost eight seats, including the Hendreds and Woodstock (where the Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth lost his seat).

So now the County Council is led by a Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green Party alliance.

This group is known as the Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance and the new Leader of the Council is Liz Leffman (Councillor for Charlbury).

The Conservative Council was strongly supportive of the Government Plans for both the 100,000-home Oxfordshire housing growth deal and the Oxford-Cambridge Arc project.

So it will be very interesting to see how this is taken forward by the new administration.

It was a similar story in Cambridgeshire where the previous Conservative run council has been replaced by a new joint administration made up of the Liberal Democrats, Labour and four independents.

In Buckinghamshire (where Conservative leader Martin Tett had made his opposition to the Arc very clear) the Conservatives took 113 of the 147 seats in the first ever unitary authority elections.

So voters seem to have given the Government a very clear message that the Growth Deal and the Arc do not have the support of local residents.

We wonder if they will take any notice?

The Oxfordshire Growth Board, together with the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OXLEP), are leading the work on the plans for Oxfordshire to 2050.

The voting membership of the Growth Board are the leaders of the County, City and the District Councils so the change at the County will give a Liberal Democrat majority.

The first meeting of the Growth Board with the new members takes place next week on Tuesday 8th June.

We’ll be interested in finding out if there are any changes in policy.

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