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.

Police are looking to get more officers back out on the beat

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Friday 31st July 2015

BOBBIES will be given more time on the beat and ‘hot spots’ of crime are to be tackled after a landmark policing review.

Caribbean cuisine is on the menu at site of famous city centre pub

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Friday 31st July 2015

A FORMER pub in Oxford is set to be transformed into a Caribbean restaurant after sitting empty for nearly six months.

UPDATE: Brasnose Driftway reopened after 17 canisters removed by army

Oxford Mail:

10:17am Friday 31st July 2015

CANISTERS containing an unknown substance have now been removed from a house in Cowley, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

Buses avoid station as roadworks cause gridlock in and around Oxford

Oxford Mail:

4:56pm Friday 31st July 2015

BUS services have been withdrawn from Oxford Station for the fourth day this week as operators battle against severe congestion.

Crash on M40 closes one lane northbound between Oxford and Bicester

Oxford Mail: OM M40

4:31pm Friday 31st July 2015

ONE lane is currently blocked and traffic is queuing due to an accident on the M40 this afternoon.

Car crashes into taxi rank in Abingdon town centre

Oxford Mail:

1:10pm Friday 31st July 2015

A WOMAN has reportedly been taken to hospital after crashing into the back of a row of parked taxis in the centre of Abingdon this morning.

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