SOME readers may today be getting a sinking sense of deja vu.

Just two years ago in May 2019, people across South Oxfordshire were celebrating after they ousted the ruling Conservatives from their district council and installed... a rainbow coalition of Liberal Democrat and Green councillors.

The left wing parties had rocketed to power largely on the platform that they were going to challenge massive housebuilding proposals for the district and tear up the Tories’ Local Plan.

What was it that Robert Burns said about ‘the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men...?’

Within a year, the Government’s Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the council that if they even tried to overturn the Local Plan that he would block them from doing so and get the then-Tory led county council to take over their duties.

He even banned them from talking about the subject at their public meetings.

The situation made a mockery of local democracy, but in the end the Lib Dem and Green council leaders decided they would rather stay in power and try to implement some of their plans for the district than make a stand over housing and end up losing everything.

Today, we are told that we are days away from seeing a Lib Dem-Green coalition take control of our county council from the previous Tory administration.

Like the Lib Dems and Greens of South Oxfordshire, they have promised to try to put tackling climate change at the heart of what they do.

So what will central Government now stop our democratically-elected county council from doing?

Is it too late for South Oxfordshire District Council to throw out their Local Plan and then have all their control passed to the county council? Because this might actually be a politically astute time to do it...

We joke, but heart of the matter is deadly serious, and we hope that our new leaders will indeed keep their promises and help to restore some faith in local democracy in our county.