Boundary sees divide over West Hill split grow bigger

Proposed boundaries for the new West Hill Parish Council. The black outline is the boundary campaign

Proposed boundaries for the new West Hill Parish Council. The black outline is the boundary campaigners in favour of independence have put forward. The hatched parts are areas that EDDC is suggesting should remain part of Ottery Town Council, subject to further consultation. - Credit: Archant

Campaigners on both sides rally for support from residents

Campaigners on both sides of a proposed West Hill boundary dispute have upped efforts to be heard in an increasingly acrimonious battle over land.

A bid that would see the woodland village form its own council – separate from Ottery – is through to a second consultation phase, where residents will be asked to give their views on specific details, including the name.

It is the boundary being proposed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) that is the source of controversy – with members of the West Hill Parish Council Campaign group (WHPCC) saying it would ‘carve up’ their village.

The group has been rallying for residents to back their calls for the boundary to remain in line with the current ward – as opposed to a much smaller area encompassing just the village itself.

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However, this week a collective of concerned residents from Ottery, West Hill and Tipton St John launched a counterattack and distributed leaflets asking householders to vote in favour of the proposed boundary, calling the camppaign group’s demands ‘unreasonable’.

The material was prepared by 16 people – including seven Ottery town councillors – and says: “Your help is needed to make sure that Ottery Town and Tipton St John have the boundaries they deserve – and not lose out to a new West Hill Parish.”

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It states: “West Hill wants everything, including the land right down to the new Bovis development. This is quite unreasonable.”

WHPCC chairman Margaret Hall hit back at the leaflet and argued it ‘lacks factual information’.

She said: “The boundary put forward by WHPCC is a long-standing West Hill ward boundary that has been accepted for over 150 years. The only change has been in 2007 when Higher Metcombe was added. We feel the criticism levelled against the village of West Hill is ill-informed. We only wish to retain the current ward boundary for West Hill and do not accept that it should be reduced by some 50 per cent.”

The leaflet was discussed at a meeting of Ottery Town Council on Monday, where members were assured it was produced at the expense of the individuals involved and does not represent the views of the authority as a whole.

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