West Hill independence campaigners received a strong show of support from villagers
- Credit: Archant
Campaigners for West Hill independence received a strong show of support from residents last week at their first public meeting.
Around 190 people turned out to discuss whether West Hill should form its own parish council or continue as a ward of Ottery St Mary.
The West Hill Parish Campaign Group (WHPCG) argues that an independent council would better represent the interests of people in the village and launched a petition to support its cause.
If 250 signatures are obtained, East Devon District Council will need to carry out a formal consultation into the future governance of West Hill.
WHPCG chairman, Dr Margaret Hall said the turnout shows that residents are interested in their village and what change may mean for them.
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West Hill councillor Jessica Bailey said: “The vast majority of people were positive about the proposal – we saw this through comments people made and in the show of hands at the meeting.
“There were a limited number of people who expressed concerns.
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“The meeting helped us understand those concerns and will give us a chance to provide a response – which will be posted on the West Hill Residents’ Association website.”
Mayor of Ottery, Glyn Dobson attended the meeting and expressed doubts about whether both sides of the argument were properly presented.
“Providing the majority of people from West Hill want it then I would support it,” he said.
“I cannot see the benefit of it and I did not think the reasons put forward were very valid.”
Councillor Jo Talbot agreed that it is the votes of all the people in West Hill that count. The petition is available in McColls shop, West Hill, in the Royal British Legion and West Hill Garage.