Cotswold unitary bid questions answered
If the Cotswolds joins Oxfordshire, how would that affect the rest of our county? How would it affect council tax for Cotswold residents? These are just some of the questions highlighted in a document published today.
We are keen to ensure that everyone has access to as much information as possible following the announcement from Cotswold District Council that it wants to become part of a family of Oxfordshire unitary councils.
The new council, West Oxfordshire - Cotswolds Unitary Authority, would be entirely separate from the county and five other district councils in Gloucestershire.
A feasibility study is due to be carried out in April and the county council has worked with its partners and service leads to develop a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) which will form part of its response to that study.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: "All parties need to acknowledge what's being proposed would have a major impact on people across Gloucestershire and especially in the Cotswolds.
We estimate that 70 per cent of the Cotswold budget and funding decisions for residents and businesses would be in the hands of unelected quangos - an Oxfordshire Combined Authority and the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
What's more, we fear investment in the local economy, like the A417 Loop, will not be a priority for Oxfordshire.
"It's only right that we provide as much information as possible and ensure that all of the issues are looked into properly before any decisions are made.
"This set of FAQs has been developed to address some of the questions that are already being asked and I am sure there will be plenty more questions as we dig deeper into how things would actually work."
Gloucestershire County Council, the five remaining district councils, our Police and Crime Commissioner, Gloucestershire Constabulary and the NHS in Gloucestershire are united in opposing the West Oxfordshire - Cotswolds Unitary Authority plan.
The FAQs are available online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/cotswoldfaqs