The decision by the Labour controlled Oxford City Council to close Temple Cowley Pools is just one of many being made across the city that blatantly ignores the wishes of the people. Democracy in Oxford is indeed dead. This page highlights just a few of these issues. At the heart of pretty much all of these issues is the megalomaniac ambition of a what is only a district council to expand the city and completely transform its character.
East Oxford Community Centre - EOCC needs YOUR help - NOW!
Follow up to meeting with City Council on 17th August
The response, any response, from the letter is awaited. See lower down the page for more information and most importantly what you can do...
THIS IS APPALLING - WHAT CAN I DO?
SEE THE VIDEO UPDATE ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THIS PAGE --->
1. Email email@example.com with offers of help - the group needs more support
2. Show your support by coming to the march from Manzil Way to the city centre on Bank Holiday Monday, noon. Bring 'ears' to help the council listen to us!
3. Sign the petition - email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how.
Northway and "Barton Park"
You can clearly see the destruction, the metal fence that is due to be taken away, the sound coming from the A40, and the secure green space that provides a safe play and recreation area soon to be destroyed - all for the benefit of another community.
From a democracy point of view, note the first few minutes where an anonymous (no council badge, no mention of his name) council officer tries to prevent us from recording. You will note also the flurry of concern amongst the councillors as they try and work out a way of preventing a perfectly legal act (filming a council meeting). Never be put off - it is a right now enshrined in law because councils like the Labour-controlled Oxford City Council refused voluntarily to allow the public to do this,
And then there is the presentation itself, followed by questions, eventually from the public and a comment at the end from Georgina Gibbs. The Northway residents' frustration is evident, as is the intransigence of the councillor trying to run the meeting (Cllr Roy Darke, Labour, represents Northway so should be directly accountable to the people he is clearly trying to shut up).
It's a mantra of pretty much all councillors - 'the city needs more housing'. Every initiative is justified using the housing need. It's accepted. But why? What evidence is there that building more houses in Oxford will address whatever the existing housing need is?
The SHMA is a sham, with the original figures and projections being dismissed by City Planning (who of course know far more than Central Government) and revising the housing demand in Oxford up. This is then used to justify an attack on the Green belt that has protected Oxford for decades. The original SHMA forecast a drop in demand for housing in Oxford by 2020; this actually seems reasonable, since house prices are going up and will at some point reach a peak where pretty much everyone thinks of them as unaffordable. Not good enough for the City Council though - who had the report altered to show a need for 28,000 more homes by 2030.
The Northern Gateway, much opposed for many years, is yet another example of how business issues, and decisions taken behind closed doors, are overriding the City Council's obligations to run the city for the benefit of the people. A cosy deal between the Northern Gateway Consortium and the Council is clear in their statements around how they will combine 'consultation' with the already set in stone "Northern Gateway Area Action Plan".
Northern Gateway is a great illustration of how the 'housing need' is being used by all parties to justify the scheme, either in part or as a whole. 500 houses - but at the same time creating a business park targeting thousands of new jobs - how, exactly, does this go any way to address the housing need?