District Council consults local people for their views on the creation of a new West Hill parish council
East Devon District Council is to begin asking local residents for their views on whether West Hill should have its own parish council separate from Ottery St Mary Town Council. A first period of public consultation – part of a Community Governance Review- is due to start 12 October 2015 and will conclude on 12 January 2016. A leaflet and questionnaire, together with a map showing the possible West Hill Parish Council boundary, will be sent out to all households and interested parties in the Ottery St Mary area.
If supported, a second period of consultation will run from March to June in 2016 and a decision on the consultations will take place within 12 months.
West Hill, which lies approximately two miles south west of Ottery St Mary, is currently part of the Ottery St Mary Town Council area and is represented by four ward members (out of a total of 15 councillors) who sit on Ottery ’s Town Council. If the proposal for a new parish council is approved, the village would no longer come under the jurisdiction of Ottery’s town council.
Residents are also being asked to consider a suggestion that if West Hill gains its own separate parish council, there should be an increase in the number of councillors representing the town ward of Ottery St Mary.
It the proposal ultimately goes ahead, the new West Hill Parish Council would have its first election of councillors in May 2017.
One of the benefits that a new parish council would achieve for West Hill, is that the council would be entitled to levy money from local residents as part of their Council Tax bill. This money would then be spent by the parish council within West Hill, enabling the community to benefit directly. Residents also need to consider why the new council is needed and what benefits it will bring.
East Devon District Council Chief Executive and Returning Officer for East Devon, Mark Williams, said:
We want to encourage as many residents as possible, who are affected by this proposal, to give us their opinion on whether West Hill should have its own parish council. Their views and recommendations will be taken into consideration when we are preparing the proposals, which we hope to publish early in 2016. Residents will then have further opportunity to comment on these draft proposals.
The deadline for submissions is 12 January 2016. For further information please visit the proposed creation of West Hill Parish council page.