The simple answer is that the Conservatives on SODC are some of the biggest fans of the Growth Deal and a top down model of governance. They are willing poodles for what central government tells them to do. It is hard not to conclude that some of the councillors have their eyes set on national political recognition – future MPs perhaps?
Many of us in the Better South Oxfordshire Campaign have tried to persuade them to think about local people, the environment and quality of life. For well over two years we have engaged them in debate and treated them with curtesy and respect. Many of us have addressed the council several times. Sadly, we came to the conclusion that they are not interested in local people and quality of life and the full council meeting last December when they voted to adopt their local plan was the final straw. Twenty-two local people from all across South Oxfordshire spoke passionately and reasonably about their objections to the proposed local plan. Too many councillors completely ignored the sincere views from their electorate. The final vote was overwhelming and contemptuous of participatory democracy. We decided that as our elected councillors, we would oppose them through the ballot box; democracy in action.