After a quarter of a century in elections and local government, with 24 years as a county councillor and eleven as Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, I thought all of that was finally behind me and I was not entirely sorry. However, I now find myself fighting an election again to be elected to a vacant place on Adderbury Parish Council. How did this happen?
Well, before the elections to Adderbury Parish Council in May 2016, several villagers urged me to stand, citing the disharmony and obstructionism that had become a feature of the meetings and hoping I might help to restore calm and objectivity. I gave this some thought at the time but had a pretty full work load in my voluntary and charitable roles so declined.
Almost a year later, my largest voluntary/charitable role is ending in February so I will have some time for a different interest and I know I can bring a lot of experience and personal skills to democracy at the lowest level. I make no pretence that Adderbury Parish Council has any significant powers to change the world but it is the closest democratic body to the people it represents and this is a fine large village with plenty of potential. I have heard of the problems that persist in this council and have therefore put my name forward as someone who is willing to represent the whole of Adderbury village and not a sectional part of it and who will do his best to maintain its quality and improve its facilities.
I would be foolish to pretend that the Parish Council has the power to prevent further housing growth. If the county and district councils are increasingly powerless in this respect, Adderbury Parish Council certainly is. However, I would ask you to look at the new housing that has come to Adderbury recently and I think you would accept that it is of a better quality and better suited to our village than that which has been imposed on Bloxham or Bodicote. I regard Adderbury as the premier, quality, ironstone village of North Oxfordshire and, if elected, I will do all that I can to ensure that future housing growth in the village is of a high quality, appropriate in style and supported by adequate infrastructure investment. That will be a hard enough battle; anyone who pretends they can prevent any more growth or prevent it in their favoured part of the village is not being honest with you.
I have never had a huge personal interest in sport and dislike the growing commercialism we see in cricket and football and, increasingly in other areas. We have absurd salaries for players and their managers and, it seems, endemic corruption at the national level. Against this, I see the value of sport at a local level and believe strongly that local communities should be supporting young and old alike to enjoy sporting activities of their choice and close to where they live. I am therefore strongly in favour of promoting better local facilities for footballers, cricketers, runners, athletes and other activities within what can be afforded and what housing developers can be expected and persuaded to support.