Has the silly season started early this year? Going by the number of ill-judged comments being made about West Adderbury residents’ request for a Community Governance Review, some of them downright nasty, you’d think so. But do you expect the same kind of silliness from those elected to serve us?
Let’s get one thing straight. What West Adderbury residents are asking for is nothing new. We are asking for things to go back to how they were a few years ago. We had our own parish council for over 100 years. We had separate local government from East Adderbury for nearly 1000 years.
Let’s get another thing straight. West Adderbury residents are not asking for anything special. We are not asking for anything that East Adderbury and Twford doesn’t have. All we want is what was taken from us: a parish council that can meet our needs. Why should East Adderbury and Twford have this but not West Adderbury?
Well the Parish Council has said why it opposes West Adderbury residents being allowed to represent themselves and has given its 3 reasons in a report on the community governance review. All 3 rest on mistakes.
Mistake Number One: bringing back West Adderbury Parish Council will increase council tax.
No, your council tax will NOT go up just because West Adderbury Parish Council is brought back. Cherwell District Council says that it might go up or down. It could stay the same. It will depend on the spending plans of each Parish Council.
So let’s look at those spending plans. Adderbury Parish Council has already spent over £61,000 of your money on its grandiose plans for the Milton Road. That was before it started any physical work on the field. If APC can’t make this overly ambitious facility pay for itself, guess who is going to pick up the bill? The football club can’t pay its rent of £150, so not them. it will be down to you the taxpayer to shell out the cash – nobody was asked if they wanted to take this risk were they?
WARA says that a West Adderbury Parish Council would keep tax levels the same, if not even lower. They say that West Adderbury residents would be consulted on any matter which might require an increase. West Adderbury Parish Council would produce a fully costed business plan for any sport and leisure provision on the Milton Road, in full consultation with residents, and allow ALL residents to decide what they want and what they can afford.
When West Adderbury Parish Council is brought back, we will be free of the risk of paying for facilities we do not want.
Mistake Number Two: bringing back West Adderbury Parish Council will “split the village”.
Is that the village of West Adderbury? Or Twyford? Or East Adderbury? There is no village of Adderbury and there never has been. There is a Parish of Adderbury made up of three separate villages. The community governance review document does not once mention “splitting a village” – it quite clearly says that it is only the parish that will change.
Adderbury as a group of three separate villages will remain even after West Adderbury regains its Parish Council. If any resident has been upset, confused or misled by Adderbury Parish Council’s mistake, then rest assured, nobody is splitting any village.
Mistake Number Three: bring back West Adderbury Parish Council will cause division in the village.
Oh dear, APC is making the same mistake again. There is no village of Addebury, only a parish made up of the separate villages of Twyford, East Addberbury and West Addebury.
For a thousand years West Adderbury and East Adderbury had separate local government, yet they managed to exist side by side without problems. By contrast, the failed attempt at creating a more “efficient” single parish to govern three separate villages has not created harmony. Adderbury Parish Council was so divided and dysfunctional that in 2017 Cherwell District Council had to pay for consultants Hoey Ainscough to try to fix it. The report paints a damning picture of a Parish Council that is divided, ineffective and failing to do its job.
The Parish Council is already damaged beyond repair by division, but the residents in the parish are also bitterly divided. You only have to read some of the vile posts on social media and the village website to see how badly mistaken APC is when it can’t see that the “village” is already deeply divided.
Bringing back West Adderbury Parish Council hasn’t caused these deep divisions in our community. It is the divisions which have caused the call to reinstate West Adderbury Parish Council. The only way to bring peace and unity back to the community is remove the source of the division: the failed single parish council.