CHERWELL councillors have pledged to focus on regeneration projects including Bicester Garden Town, and to support communities through the cost of living crisis, after approving a ‘delivery plan’ for the next two years.

At a meeting on Monday (November 7), the district council’s executive voted in favour of adopting the plan, which establishes a new way of working for the council since the end of its partnership with Oxfordshire County Council in February this year.

Councillors said they wanted to “ensure to have a clear strategy for the economic prosperity of Bicester, Banbury, Kidlington and our rural villages and communities including specific opportunities to regenerate and improve our town centres.”

The plan also mentions revamping the Bicester Garden Town project, deliver improvements to Kidlington Roundabout and access to Banbury Railway station, and to support non-car based modes of transport.

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Other priorities set out in the plan include:

  • Responding to the climate emergency
  • Work to prevent homelessness
  • Ensure the right target for new homes and economic growth, in the right place, and protect our villages, communities and the environment
  • Deliver effective and efficient services to meet the needs of local communities

Councillor Barry Wood, who leads the council, said: “The annual delivery plan establishes a new way of working for the council and it sets out our ambitions and priorities for and on behalf of the local communities.

“We have for a decade been part of partnership arrangement of one sort or another and we now embark on a new chapter in the journey as a council, one that is a standalone authority able to work with any partner to achieve the outcomes for our local communities and citizens.

“We are now again a standalone team Cherwell, and we will need to be dealing with things, get on and deliver our key priorities, without waiting for a whole partnership machine to get into action – for me this is a positive way for us to stand alone as a council.”

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The delivery plan will accompany the annual budget setting process for the council.

The report states that for any national challenge to be successfully responded to it, solution and co-ordination at a local level are required.

It said: “The national landscape is complex and whether this is in response to the rising cost of living, climate change, housing, support to refugees and asylum seekers, health, inclusive growth and jobs or financial, it is fundamental that a local solution for local communities is in place.

“The annual delivery plan establishes that local focus and solution to the national challenges we presently face.”

Councillor Ian Corkin said: “This is about making real change – we all know from our case work that these are priorities which the public thinks are particularly important.”

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers. 

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