District councils abandon cross-boundary plans for Oxfordshire

District councils in Oxfordshire have scrapped plans to create four unitaries that would split out into neighbouring Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire.

The reorganisation of proposals involved scrapping Oxfordshire CC, a move which was backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, was dropped as a result of its cross-county nature.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the company commissioned to undertake a detailed independent analysis of the options, has informed Cotswold DC that the changes would been delayed by the need for primary legislation.

Currently legislation states that two police force areas cannot span one council area.

Councillor Lynden Stowe, Cotswold leader, said: “We are very frustrated that current legislation has not yet caught up with some of the most innovative joint working arrangements in the country.

“This is not the first time - nor will it be the last - where outdated and inflexible legislation is a barrier to public benefit.”

In response, Councillor Mark Hawthorne, Gloucestershire CC leader, said: “We've been clear from the beginning that plans to cut up the county would push up costs for all taxpayers and jeopardise services that people depend on.”

Instead, an Oxfordshire-only solution will be submitted to government in the autumn.

Councillor Matthew Barber, Vale of White Horse DC leader, said: “Eliminating cross-boundary options now enables PwC's independent study to focus solely on Oxfordshire's residents and engaging with stakeholders in the county.”