COUNTER-PROPOSALS to ‘focus on issues affecting people’ have been tabled in a bid to scupper plans for a ‘time-wasting’ Oxfordshire super council.

Oxford City Council, along with Cherwell and West Oxfordshire district councils, has published plans to scrap the unitary bid put forward by the three other authorities in the county.

The trio said crucial issues of housing, transports and health and social would be ‘thrown off track’ by the wholesale restructuring of local government.

The three leaders Bob Price, Barry Wood and James Mills, have written to the new government with their plan and said the economic climate meant restructuring was now unlikely.

They said: “In light of the economic challenges the country faces and the issues facing our residents, we are more interested in discussing how we can work together with other councils in Oxfordshire and our partners on the issues that local people care about - supporting the local economy, housing, transport and improving services - than council structures.”

Earlier this year Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils launched a bid to replace the six biggest local authorities with a single organisation to save £400,000 a week and make services better.

The proposals are being considered by the Secretary for State Sajid Javid.

But the remaining three district councils branded the bid ‘a disaster’ and submitted their own plans in response.

They proposed a Combined Authority where the six councils would remain and work more closely to take decisions in the interest of the whole county.

Their report read: “The scale of the health and social care challenge needs to be tackled on a collaborative basis and cannot afford to be thrown off track, as it would be by a wholesale restructure of local government in the county.

It added: “The proposal from the County Council proposes between 15-20 area boards to take decisions on community services.

“There is a lack of clarity about how these bodies would work and the functions they would have.”

Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, John Cotton, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council and Matthew Barber, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council said: “We welcome the contribution by Oxford city, Cherwell and West Oxfordshire to the debate about the future of council services and investment in Oxfordshire.

“We are reviewing their report for the very first time and will discuss our response with the other councils in due course.”