COMMENT: Interesting times ahead for us and our politicians

9:00am Wednesday 2nd July 2014

THEY are two words guaranteed to send shivers down the spines of most county politicians: Unitary status.

The mere mention of them is enough to provoke a defensive reaction not seen since the French built the Maginot Line.

That didn’t help the French much. Nor will ducking the unitary debate do anything to stop it now that county council leader Ian Hudspeth has let the cat out of the bag.

He hasn’t said as much, but Hudspeth may envisage a countywide unitary authority sweeping away the five districts, bringing savings galore and a greatly streamlined system of local government.

It would also outflank the last bastion of the left in the county, Oxford City Council, at a stroke by absorbing it into a Greater Oxfordshire. There will be many in Oxford choking on their breaksfasts over that one this morning.

Canny city leader Bob Price is well aware of that and has already set out his own vision of a unitary Oxford.

It is not impossible that both the city and county could become unitary authorities, which would leave the other districts as cannon fodder in what could be a long and bloody political battle.

Leaders such as Barry Norton in West Oxfordshire and Matthew Barber in Vale of White Horse may well be stockpiling food and filling sandbags today in readiness.

But forget the vicious infighting that is imminent. Ultimately, any decision must be based on what is right for the council taxpayers, from the point of view of value for money and quality of service.

Things may get rough but, like it or not, this is a debate we simply must have.

Let battle commence.

The £1.6bn investment that ‘would keep us at the global cutting edge’

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 2nd July 2015

AMBITIOUS proposals for £1.6bn of transport and development schemes in Oxfordshire have been unveiled by a partnership of businesses, universities and councils.

Have you seen missing Stephen Gray from Abingdon?

Oxford Mail:

10:59am Thursday 2nd July 2015

A MAN from Abingdon has gone missing.

Thunder, lightning and hail predicted for Oxfordshire on Friday

Oxford Mail: After the heatwave comes the thunderstorms: 'Yellow Alert' as heavy rain forecast

10:50am Thursday 2nd July 2015

THE glorious weather will come to an abrupt end as thunderstorms and heavy rain were forecast for tomorrow.

It’s hotter than Rio as Oxfordshire sweats it out in a sizzling 31C

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 2nd July 2015

THE county sizzled in the sweltering heat yesterday, but experts have warned that the good weather may not last long.

Man sectioned for kitchen knife attack on father

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

9:00am Thursday 2nd July 2015

A FATHER whose mentally ill son tried to stab him to death has said he bears no ill will towards his attacker.

Regiment leaves Germany for new county home

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Thursday 2nd July 2015

A REGIMENT based in Germany has said farewell to its barracks as it begins the move to Bicester.

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