Sir – Oxford City Council no longer directly informs residents of adjacent planning applications – as Fergus Millar states (Letters, March 19). Lack of effective communication with residents by the city council was clearly identified by the Goodstadt Review to explain the lack of public input into the granting of planning permission for the Castle Mill flats close to Port Meadow.

Yet when Liberal Democrat councillors proposed an amendment last month to this year’s budget [total circa £ 24,000,000] that the sum of £ 50,000 should be allocated to reinstate direct notification of neighbours, it was voted down by Labour councillors – who habitually oppose interesting or effective ideas originating from the opposition.

It is all a great pity – not only because many residents now protest about lack of prior knowledge of local planning applications; Goodstadt identified better communication as a means to connect residents to the planning of their neighbourhoods; and because our democracy is effective only if an administration listens to a reasoned critique by the opposition.

Mike Gotch
City councillor, Wolvercote