In the run up to local elections on Thursday 3 May 2018, Banbury and Bicester Labour Party have today launched their manifesto – a series of commitments to provide decent, affordable homes, thriving towns and villages, a cleaner, greener environment and a more caring and responsible way of running the council.
Labour group leader Sean Woodcock said, “This manifesto promises real change to our area with a cast-iron commitment to protect the public purse.
The Conservatives have run Cherwell for nearly 20 years and they have no plan to solve the very real problems facing the district. Labour has here a set of practical policies that will address them.”
KEY POINTS FROM THE MANIFESTO:
- To increase the requirement for affordable housing in all new developments to 50%
- To create a register of private landlords to raise standards
- Start-up a local housing co-operative to provide more homes for social rent.
- On all housing developments which receive public funding, we will prioritise sale to local, first-time buyers.
Sean Woodcock said, “We are seeing many new housing developments in Banbury and Bicester but the reality is there is not enough affordable housing, and with home ownership out of reach for many, people have no option but to rent from a private landlord at often inflated rents levels. We want to tackle that.”
Thriving towns and villages
Sean Woodcock said, “The Labour Party believes in proper planning for growth. Poor planning has led to Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington falling behind similar towns in neighbouring districts. Meanwhile many villages have found themselves victim to speculative housing development.”
- The manifesto promises a new Masterplan for Banbury, which will harness the unfulfilled potential of the canal area and the old town.
- A new Masterplan for Bicester to make its garden town status mean something, with more green spaces, a thriving town centre around Sheep Street and new infrastructure to underpin it all.
- To Protect the Green Belt around Kidlington by properly exploring alternatives sites around the village for meeting Oxford’s Unmet Housing Need.
- And a genuine devolvement of decision making to villages to ensure any rural development is based on neighbourhood plans.
A cleaner, greener environment
- Ensuring a renewed focus on sustainability when considering planning and development.
Sean Woodcock said, “We want to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide levels. Two ways we can start is by installing electric charging points in council car parks and changing the requirements for licensed taxis in favour of cleaner cars.
We also want to be at the leading edge of reducing plastic waste in our environment. We will cut the use of plastic by our council, and install drinking water fountains in all our urban centres.
A more caring and responsible way of running the council
Sean Woodcock said, “We want to address the affects of damaging government policies on our communities by improving and protecting public services whilst also protecting taxpayers’ money.”
- Develop a new financial strategy to maximise income available for the council to spend on services. To borrow only for growth.
- A start-up fund for community groups & co-operatives that wish to run public services facing cuts.
- Provide better support and infrastructure for those with disabilities, and those who care for them, in order that they can better access services
- Maintain the maximum level of support for low-income families available on the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.