THE Insider knows that planning is a complex area, which mere mortals frequently fall foul of.

So he was perhaps not particularly surprised to notice that it befuddles even those who should know better.

City councillor Mike Gotch, who happens to be the vice chairman of the city council’s west area planning committee, has submitted a planning application to confirm that the use of a house he owns is lawful.

The Wolvercote councillor has applied to confirm that the house in Harefields has been subdivided into flats lawfully – and has submitted evidence from someone who has been living in the ground floor flat since 1994.

Fortunately for Mr Gotch because of his status as a councillor, the final decision will have to be made by the committee of which he is vice-chairman.


PERHAPS someone at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has been listening to everyone’s favourite 80s soul diva a bit too much as the minutes of its audit committee on April 22 refers to one “Whitney Community Hospital”.

The board refuses to allow the Oxford Mail to leave its monthly board meeting with agenda papers like these in case any errors need to be corrected – perhaps now we know why.


NOW that the elections are out of the way, many councillors will be breathing a sigh of relief as they hang onto their jobs.
Perhaps none more so than Labour city councillor Mohammed Abbasi, who was re-elected for Cowley Marsh last week.
Mr Abbasi has been selected as this year’s new Lord Mayor of Oxford but rumours were circulating in the city council that he might be about to lose his seat.

Oxford Mail:

  • Councillor Mohammed Abbasi

This would have provided the city council with the awkward situation of having to find a new Lord Mayor at short notice in time for the mayor-making ceremony on June 9.
As it happens, Mr Abbasi was re-elected with a majority of more than 300. Perhaps someone at the city council needs to have a bit more faith in him.