Teenagers will be given the opportunity to have their say in the future direction of their town after a proposal to form a local democratic youth body received the unanimous backing of councillors.

Youth in Bicester will be able to shape their own local agenda thanks to the motion which was proposed and seconded by Conservative Councillors Zoe McLernon and Mayor Jason Slaymaker at Bicester Town Council’s full Council meeting earlier this month.

The body will be open to young people aged 11-18 who live or are educated in Bicester and will be run by its members, with the support of Bicester Town Council.

A cross-party Youth Working Group will now be established to consult with young people on how they want the organisation to run, and work closely with local secondary schools to get interested young people involved.

Councillor Zoe McLernon, who represents the South Ward, said: “I was really proud to be involved in the Bicester Youth Council in the early 2010s.

“As a former member and Chairman, I am passionate about involving young people in the work of Bicester Town Council and Bicester as a whole.

“I stood in the local elections in May this year on the basis that I wanted to be a voice for young people, and I hope this is the start of many exciting opportunities to come for youth in the town.”

Bicester had a youth council before, but it was forced to close in 2014 due to a lack of interest from young people, as its older members moved on with their lives and left the organisation.

It was thought that the youth council became more and more focussed on organising events, rather than representing young people in local politics.

Mayor Jason Slaymaker was a member and former chairman of the youth council in 2008/09.

As a teenager he was passionate about making a positive contribution to the future.

He said: “Young people are becoming increasingly engaged with the important issues of the day both nationally and locally and I believe Bicester really stands to benefit from the input of the town’s younger residents.

“I think it’s really important we give this group a platform to get their voices heard and look forward to working with them to make this initiative a success.”