Banbury Constituency Labour Party

Banbury & Bicester Labour’s Manifesto for Cherwell District Council Elections May 2016

A better plan for Cherwell

Banbury Labour’s manifesto 2016

Introduction
The Tories have been in charge for a decade. They have spent all of the money they made from selling off council houses. For what?

  • Planning chaos and threats from developers to ecological and historical landmarks.
  • An unaccountable council with rushed changes driven through without proper scrutiny.
  • Declining town centres with inadequate investment in local infrastructure while vital services close.
  • A shortage of good quality, genuinely affordable housing for local people.

Labour is committed to improving the way that the council does things. We are committed to delivering value for money to the taxpayer while also protecting services. Not through radical overhauls in structures, but by listening to local people and making sensible changes.

This is a manifesto committed to making a more prosperous, fair and thriving district. One that is a good place to do business and a place where people want to live.

I hope that you will support us.

Councillor Sean Woodcock

Leader of the Labour group on Cherwell District Council

THE MANIFESTO

Re-invigorating our town centres
Cherwell is a predominantly rural district, but Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington are very much key players in how the district grows. Labour believes that thriving urban centres are central to a prosperous Cherwell. A Labour Council will deliver this by:

  • Providing more free parking in Cherwell District Council car parks without increasing Council Tax or cutting services.
  • Promoting localism and devolving local power to Town and Parish Councils where we can; for example giving responsibility for Banbury Charter Market from the District to the Town Council.
  • Working with local landlords and businesses to create innovative solutions so as to improve our town centres and reduce the number of empty shops.

Fairness not austerity

These are difficult times for local government. The Tory cuts agenda is stretching councils and public services to breaking point. A Labour Council will respond to these challenges by:

  • Ruling out any future increase in Council Tax without specifically explaining what the proposed increase will pay for.
  • Investing in improvements that benefit the residents of Cherwell but only borrowing for that expressed purpose.
  • Supporting joint-working with other councils where it provides value for money and improved services. But we will call for greater transparency and democracy.
  • Promoting a real ‘Living Wage’ and fair terms and conditions for Council employees. We will expand this to include all sub-contractors.
  • Putting ethics and transparency as well as value for money at the heart of procurement and service delivery.

Putting Planning decisions back into local hands

The last few years have been very unsettling for residents. The Tories failure to have a Local Plan put local landmarks and eco-systems at risk. Confidence in planning is at an all-time low. A Labour Council will restore trust by:

  • Reforming the committee structure so that more decisions are made locally.
  • Supporting communities to develop neighbourhood plans.
  • Tightening rules on over-development in urban areas with licenses and restrictions for Houses of Multiple Occupation, which can cause squalor.
  • Ensuring that developers make fair contributions towards local infrastructure.

Protecting our environment

Labour is committed to protecting the environment from the effects of climate change. Locally, this is equally so. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful area of the UK which we all want to preserve for the future. A Labour Council will by:

  • Using investment and divestment to push the green agenda.
  • Ensuring the Garden City and Eco-town in Bicester will live up to the standards of the name. These standards will be extended across the district to promote more sustainability.
  • Standing up for the local environment by opposing shale gas extraction (‘fracking’) in Cherwell.

Promoting a brighter future

Labour is committed to creating a fairer society and a better future for all. We will:

  • Increase engagement with young people, disabled and ethnic minority groups.
  • Stand up for vital local services in the face of funding cuts and fight to protect our communities from damaging austerity.
  • Promoting more genuinely affordable housing for local people.
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