An authority has been described as operating like a "street gang" as councillors regularly "forget to negotiate housing money".

Damning remarks were made in a Woodstock Town Council annual general meeting (AGM) last month.

This followed two anonymous town councillors appearing before the district council's standards committee only two weeks earlier, in a separate incident, for allegations of breaching the council's code of conduct.

Oxford Mail: Woodstock Town Hall.Woodstock Town Hall. (Image: Oxford Mail)

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One month previously, chaos also ensued as the council mayor splashed out cash from his own pocket after concerns were raised about use of taxpayer money for the authority's Christmas gifts.

Veronica Oakeshott, who attended the AGM and is Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for the newly-formed Bicester & Woodstock constituency, said: "I was astonished to hear the town council mayor Nick Manby-Brown accusing councillors of being so focused on opposing housing development that they forgot to negotiate crucial money to help pay for infrastructure needs - such as health and transport.

"This means that opportunities to find the money to sort the surgery problem are being missed. 

"Other councillors admitted that even when local MP David Cameron was PM they couldn’t secure central NHS funding to sort out the surgery."

Oxford Mail: Veronica Oakeshott.Veronica Oakeshott. (Image: Contribution.)

We approached Woodstock Town Council for clarity on what has been happening at the authority in the past few months but did not receive a response.

Town councillor Sharone Parnes said: "I have often experienced what has felt to me like intimidating and insulting resentment, by some colleagues, around things like asking to record named votes, raising data protection concerns, querying out of the ordinary financial expenditures, and suggesting to consult the public before determining positions that affect the entire community.

"Sometimes some of the reactions seemed almost more like those within a stereotypical street gang than a democratic entity operating in a locality associated with the legacy of Churchill.

"But hopefully the new municipal year post-election will produce a more dynamic, open, inviting and cooperating cohort as the people of the constituency deserve better consideration and more respect, in my opinion."

Mr Parnes said he was unsure about the mayor's basis for claims councillors were "forgetting" to negotiate section 106 agreements.

Oxford Mail: Sharone Parnes.Sharone Parnes. (Image: Sharone Parnes.)

A report presented at a meeting this month also noted concern about the previous administration giving away half of the civic budget to one of the four town churches.

It stated: "Unfortunately, this request to use underspends from the previous year is a breach of the financial standards as the request should have been taken to full council for agreement.

"Although it was believed at the time of the request that it had been discussed at previous meetings these discussions do not appear to have been minuted.”

This comes in the context of a financial report on the Christmas gifts scandal also being promised imminently after concern was raised but ending up arriving 10-12 weeks later than anticipated.