South Oxfordshire District Council met twice this month, 13 and 20 February, to debate and approve the budget 2021/22, to set the Council Tax, and to consider four motions.
The first motion put forward was to request that the Council condemn all hate crimes and deplore the rise in hate crimes against members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in Britain, while recognising freedom of speech and religion. Council also agreed to adopt the IHRA definition of Antisemitism and the APPG definition of Islamophobia in full and to update their equality policies.
Councillors agreed a motion for the Leader of the Council to write to local Members of Parliament and the Minister for Transport to request that government introduce measures to help keep passengers safe whilst using taxi or private hire vehicles.
The Council also agreed a third motion for the Leader of the Council to write to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to call for a review on the wide-ranging impact of permitted development rights that allows offices to be converted into residential homes without planning permission. In the letter, they will detail that this practice assists developers in avoiding contributing toward affordable housing and local infrastructure such as roads and community facilities.
The last motion discussed and agreed will see the Leader writing another letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request that the minister notes the current problems with the 5-year housing land supply rules, which can create uncertainty and costs for councils and residents. The Council will express that they would like the current system overhauled so that the council isn’t held responsible for external factors beyond their control.
Cllr Sue Cooper said, “It is an important part of the democratic process that my fellow councillors bring important issues for us to discuss and vote on. We will ask our officers to start working on updating our equality policies and I will be writing a series of letters to ask government to speed up changes that directly affect our residents.”