IT would appear that your editorial writer, normally sensible and cautious, has stepped out of the world we live in and into a parallel one where local councils do not face massive cuts due to rising costs and dramatic reductions in Government grant (Friday’s Oxford Mail).

In coping with an extremely difficult budget settlement last year, all councils had to make tough decisions.

We could, like many authorities, have chosen to cut back on welfare advice work or children’s holiday activities.

Council tax could have been jacked up above inflation.

Instead, these paths were rejected, but some sacrifices have had to be made; for instance, council staff agreed to forego pay increments for two years and a charge was introduced for garden waste.

There are plenty of ways that people can influence the planning process.

Firstly, and most importantly, by engaging on the development of local plan policies, by which planning applications are judged.

Secondly, by signing up to e-mail alerts about planning applications in their areas.

Thirdly, by looking out for the bright notices displayed around application sites.

Fourth, councillors receive copies of the weekly list of planning applications, and I know most look carefully over this list for applications which are contentious and need further scrutiny.

Fifth, local residents’ groups may request a copy of any applications in their areas, and many do.

In this context, reducing the substantial sums posting consultation letters to residents was the least damaging budget saving we could find.

As an aside, your editorial criticised only Oxford City Council, although the accompanying story and photograph mentioned the identical decision taken by (Conservative-run) Cherwell District Council.

Was this a politically-motivated editorial, or did your writer simply lose his or her sense of local geography?

ED TURNER, Deputy Leader, Oxford City Council