The High Court has refused Colyton Parish Council’s case to contest the governance review that created Colyford Parish Council.
The court ruled that the challenge was too late, and East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) process for reviewing Colyford Parish’s creation was thorough, legal and within required timeframes.
The court awarded EDDC costs of £8,967 from Colyton Parish Council, towards EDDC’s legal fees for this case.
In Autumn 2021, a petition with 249 signatures requested a village council be set up, due to Colyford having an “identity and sense of place” separate to Colyton. In the subsequent consultation, held between 4 February and 4 May 2022, 56 per cent of respondents voted in favour of a new parish council. Between 23 August and 22 November 2022, EDDC consulted on draft proposals, resulting in changes to the proposed parish boundary. Councillors ratified the creation of the new parish at EDDC’s full council meeting on 7 December 2022. The first elections to Colyford Parish Council took place in May 2023.
Councillor Sarah Jackson, EDDC Portfolio Holder for Communications and Democracy, said:
“I am heartened that the High Court has found the work undertaken by EDDC on the governance and boundary review for Colyton and Colyford was both democratic and legally sound. As with any separation, there will always be those unhappy with the outcome. Whilst I empathise with those who may be disappointed by the high court's decision, I hope that this ruling reassures them that the process was conducted appropriately."
"I urge Colyton Parish Council to now honour the outcome of the Governance Review as further delay will simply put additional unnecessary burden upon the taxpayer. That said, this should give both parishes an opportunity to draw a line in the sand and move forward without having to spend any further time discussing the change in governance arrangements or the affairs of their neighbouring parish. In time, I hope that they can find new ways of working collaboratively for the benefit of all who live in the Coly Valley.
For more information about Colyford Parish Council, visit their website.