County reform ‘would ignore historical links’

PUBLISHED: 06:30 10 July 2015


Local councillors have hit out at proposed changes which could see Budleigh Salterton politically separated from East Budleigh and Otterton.

The Boundary Commision has come up with proposals to reduce the number of councillors on Devon County Council from 62 to 60, with implications for the existing Budleigh ward.

Currently, county councillor Christine Channon’s ward includes Budleigh Salterton, East Budleigh, Otterton and Newton Poppleford.

Under the proposals, two new wards could be created – one which links Budleigh Salterton with the Littleham district of Exmouth, creating a Budleigh Salterton Coastal ward, and an Otter Valley ward linking East Budleigh and Otterton with Ottery St Mary.

In its response to the Boundary Commision’s proposals, the county council has criticised this suggestion.

Councillor Channon said that dividing Budleigh Salterton from the villages would go against the current arrangements for healthcare, policing and schools.

She added: “It’s just number crunching from the Boundary Commision, and no consideration for communities whatsoever.”

Budleigh Salterton Town Council has also agreed to oppose the move, saying there are ‘historical, cultural and practical’ reasons the town and villages should not be divided.

East Budleigh Parish Council has also raised concerns.

Council chairman David Buss said: “Most of our community interests and links are with our neighbours in Otterton and Budleigh Salterton. We have very little contact with anywhere north of Newton Poppleford, and the proposed boundary stretches right up to Ottery St Mary, Aylesbeare and West Hill.

“We have very little link between us and those communities.”

Cllr Buss added that consideration of existing links formed part of the Boundary Commision’s criteria for reforms.

Exmouth Town Council has previously criticised the plan to link Littleham and Budleigh.

The Boundary Commission’s consultation has now ended and it will be publishing its final recommendations in September.

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