FOUR of the biggest political parties in West Oxfordshire have set out their stall ahead of forthcoming elections.

On May 6, 17 wards in the district will be up for grabs.

Because the elections were postponed last year, councillors elected to West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) will only serve a three-year term.

See also: How Miss Oxfordshire is running for city councillor and Miss England at the same time

Michele Mead, the current leader of WODC, said the health and wellbeing of residents is a priority.

The Conservative councillor added: “As we ease out of lockdown and the fantastic success of the vaccine rollout, we can look forward to getting back to normal.

“We will be focusing on the local economy, continuing to support businesses through grants and encouraging employment.

“The environment and climate change are top of the list as well as listening to the concerns from local people when considering building developments.

“We will also continue to support the reduction of speed in our towns and villages, and we will be helping the police to fight rural crime.”

From left to right: Michele Mead, Duncan Enright, Andy Graham and Barry Wheatley

Current WODC leader Michele Mead

Local Labour Party leader Duncan Enright said the future of local services and businesses are ‘at stake’ in this election.

He added: “Our NHS and frontline workers have been heroic over the last year but have struggled to deal with coronavirus due to years of Conservative cuts in our public services and wasteful outsourcing to private companies.

“Coronavirus has shown us what matters most and we need to go back to a society where we look out for each other and value our public services.

“Labour’s approach is to secure our basic services that we rely on, make sure we are there to support families who need us most, and rebuild West Oxfordshire so that it is the best place to grow up, get on and grow old in.”

Duncan Enright speaking at the Corn Exchange in Witney in October 2016. Picture: Ric Mellis

Transport is a key part of the Liberal Democrat campaign, and party group leader Andy Graham said: “Infrastructure before housing, ensuring all new developments comply with greener planning regulations including insulation, electric charging points, expansion of cycling network and support for the feasibility study by the Witney Oxford Transport group to investigate the light railway link from Carterton to Oxford via Witney.

“No building on the floodplains and investment with partnership agreements, with enforcement with The Environment Agency, Thames Water and local councils, with flooding and sewerage treatment a priority.

“Health and wellbeing with increased funding for adult and social care as well as an increase of support for youth services with an upgraded health centre for Woodstock.

“Continued support for reduced speeding in all our villages especially with the continuing roll-out of ‘20 is plenty’, started by the Lib Dems around West Oxfordshire.”

Lib Dem group leader Andy Graham. Picture: Jon Lewis

Lib Dem group leader Andy Graham. Picture: Jon Lewis

Barry Wheatley, chair of the West Oxfordshire Green Party, said: “Greens will protect and regenerate Oxfordshire’s nature, clean up our countryside, and oppose plans to build on flood plains and valuable farmland.

“We will work to end sewage overflows into our rivers and use natural solutions to prevent flooding and benefit wildlife.

“Greens will reduce traffic and pollution, invest in bus services and push for a Witney-Oxford rail link, provide safer cycling and walking paths, and fix existing roads.

Barry Wheatley, chair of the West Oxfordshire Green Party

Barry Wheatley, chair of the West Oxfordshire Green Party

“We will fund schools and educational support, improve pay and services in social care.

“Greens will make it easier to switch to clean energy sources, get paid to produce electricity, and save money.

“Greens will help create local jobs and attract green sector investment across Oxfordshire to protect livelihoods and the planet.

“We will take urgent action to reduce emissions from homes, transport, and businesses.”