A STRANGE new atmosphere seems to have descended over Oxfordshire County Council – one of mutual respect and friendship. At this week’s cabinet meeting members of the council’s Labour opposition couldn’t find a bad word to say about any of the items which were up for discussion.

The result was that the meeting, which was scheduled to last for nearly three hours, was over in 90 minutes.

Labour councillors such as Liz Brighouse, Gill Sanders and Laura Price all seemed to be in agreement with the Conservative counterparts. Tory county councillor Nick Carter even raised concerns about the “lack of adrenaline” he was feeling, because of the absence of a good argument.

SPEAKING of good time-keeping, county councillors have been taking part in a review on how the authority’s governance structures work.

This includes how meetings are chaired and how much time councillors have to speak.

Interestingly the complaints seem to revolve around too many questions being asked and too many motions being tabled – it’s almost as if they didn’t want to be detained by the trifling business of being a councillor.

Perhaps even more interestingly the Green group – made up of only two councillors – is keen to see the length of full council meetings – which can last up to five hours – extended. That will make them the flavour of the month among the other councillors.

SOMEONE at Thames Valley Police has obviously had their thinking caps on. The force has recently been given £2m by the Government which it is to share with Hampshire Constabulary to improve contact with callers.

Clearly better communication is a good thing. But in the original version of a police press release, Chief Superintendent Amanda Pearson (the business executive of the programme, apparently), was quoted as saying people contacting the force could not be called “callers” because the methods of communication were now “multi-platform”.

Suspiciously that little gem of corporate insight is now missing from the online press release.

All a bit Ploddledigook if you ask me.

PLANNING officers at Oxford City Council know how to win over the councillors.

Officials seem to have forgotten to include a planning application for a garden outbuilding in Whitehouse Road on this month’s West area planning committee agenda.

This means that the committee has to be reconvened next week so it can consider the weighty issue of this small structure. Funnily enough planning officers had issued a decision notice by accident because they had mistakenly thought that the committee had already considered the application.