THE leader of Cherwell District Council has urged communities secretary Sajid Javid to block plans to reshape Oxfordshire as a unitary authority.

Last Friday the county council along with the Vale of White Horse South Oxfordshire district councils officially relaunched their controversial vision to abolish the six largest councils and replacing them with a new ‘super council’.

Barry Wood, along with the leaders of West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxford City Council, has opposed the move and called for the government to halt the plans.

In a joint statement, the group said: "We stand united against the proposals for a unitary council, which we maintain are flawed and will disregard the specific needs of each individual city and district. We are three strong-performing councils but we are different in the way we operate and that is what’s key to our success.

The joint Better Oxfordshire proposal released by opposing councils last week supersedes the county council’s One Oxfordshire document released in January.

Changes include trebling the number of local sub-areas within the council from five to at least 15, and creating a new ‘standalone council’ specifically for Oxford.

Opposing groups for a county-wide ‘unitary’ authority would lead to council tax hikes and local priorities being overruled.

The Banbury Cake can also reveal they commissioned polling company Ipsos MORI to survey 1,950 people on the proposal, with taxpayers footing the £43,500 bill.

Cherwell has put aside a total war chest of £150,000 to fight the proposal for a super council, while West Oxfordshire has budgeted £25,000 and Oxford £75,000.

The group insisted it is responding to a 'propaganda campaign' being waged by Oxfordshire County Council, which itself will spend more than £200,000 on the campaign.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: "The government has told us that a unitary council is a good vehicle for devolution, so let’s make local government in Oxfordshire simpler, not even more complicated and costly."

The Department for Communities and Local Government was asked to comment on the letter but failed to respond.