Campaigners want to create Ottery Civic Society

A campaign group formed to fight a housing application now wants to create Ottery’s first civic society and promote resident’s views on other contentious issues.

Protect Ottery St Mary (POSM) said it was formed very quickly last November, in reaction to the Butts Road 130-home application, but in anticipation of more proposals they want the best form of ongoing organisation to deal with them.

A spokesman said the most appropriate body appears to be a civic society, adding they are well-established and generally recognised as planning consultees in the UK.

He said: “Their response carries significantly more weight in planning decisions than an ad-hoc protest group.”

A civic society is a voluntary body, funded by members’ subscriptions, and run by an elected committee, who normally seek to register as a charity.

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POSM say a new civic society would not clash with the aims of other bodies in Ottery such as the Heritage Society or Sustainable Ottery, nor would it impinge upon the role of the town council.

The spokesman for the group said: “With the concern about the quarry proposals and the imminent stream of applications for housing developments, it is important to establish as strong a body as possible to respond to them.”

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They say an Ottery St Mary Civic Society could be formed very quickly, but first they want to know how many residents would be interested in such a scheme.

POSM said: “Residents turned out in large numbers, over 100 each time, for recent open meetings upon the Local Plan, the Butts Road development application and the proposed quarry development.

“We sincerely hope that there will be great support for the forming of this Society, it may well be very important for all of us.”

Stephan Bouloux, who has experience running a civic society, will take a leading role in getting the project moving, and POSM say Stephan can be contacted on 01404 815931 to register interest, or ask any questions about the proposal.

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