West Hill council campaign comes under fire
PUBLISHED: 11:11 04 February 2015
Plans to form a new break-away West Hill council have been blasted as ‘pointless’ by some residents from surrounding areas.
The Herald revealed last year how the West Hill Parish Campaign Group (WHPCG) revealed its intention to split away from the Ottery parish and form its own authority.
Campaigners say this would enable better provision of services for people in the woodland village and give residents greater influence over issues that affect them.
But the plans have been met with criticism on social media from some residents of Ottery and surrounding areas, who feel the plans are ‘snobbish’ and unnecessary - accusations that are refuted by campaigners.
Ray Bagwell, 35, of Longdogs Lane, Ottery, said: “The plans are pointless and a waste of money.”
His views were echoed by Sidmouth resident Matthew Baker, 37, who believes that West Hill is a more affluent area and feels that is why people there want to disassociate from Ottery.
He said: “It is snobbish.”
Others said they would be interested to see how the changes – if they go ahead - would affect services for people in Ottery.
Town councillor Jessica Bailey is one of the campaigners and has hit back at critics.
“West Hill has its own identity and it needs to have its own voice,” she said.
“Parish councils have wide ranging powers. A parish council in our village is the best way of identifying needs and providing services to the people who live here.”
She encouraged people to attend a public meeting on Friday, March 6, at 7.30pm in West Hill Village Hall, to voice any concerns and find out more.
If successful, the bid for an independent West Hill council would mean drawing up new ward boundaries for Ottery St Mary Town Council.
Before an application can formally be put to East Devon District Council, the WHPCG needs to gather at least 250 signatures from West Hill residents.
The campaign group is holding a drop-in session for anyone interested in getting more information on Saturday, January 31, from 9am to noon, outside McColls in West Hill Road.
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