Information on public speaking is available online
Andrew Parr, Chair of Colyton Parish Council spoke on the vote to which the response figures were based. These were collated from a questionnaire and not a ballot or referendum with people being unaware of the financial implications. He said he had asked for a proper ballot but this had been rejected by the council. He said the results had showed conflicting evidence. He stated that the financial requests evidenced in the Vesting Statements were unreasonable and that Colyton Parish Council would be financially worse off if the split was to go ahead. He asked that there be no transfer of assets.
Alison Stenning said she thought Colyford wanted independence from Colyton but saw that they wished to use Colyton PC as a ‘cash cow’. Colyford would have to pay for maintenance costs just for the play park and 3 gateways so could see no reason to the transfer assets over to them. She asked why EDDC wanted to destabilise a very long established parish in the district.
Joy Gardner said analysis of the questionnaires showed more that 71% of people of Colyford did not wish for a new parish council. She said people had thought this was just a pre questionnaire and that when the full facts were available they would get to vote on the changes. There had been no factual information and what this would entail had been sent out to residents. She said claims that Colyford had been neglected were untrue and that it was not in the interest of residents to split the parish council. This could lead to a potential rise in the cost to the parishioners’ council tax in both communities.
Ken Clifford from Colyton Parish Council, said he was bewildered by the wish for Colyford to separate from the present parish council.
Colin Pady said that through consultation he had had with people, they were opposed to this proposal which had been started from a minority group from Colyford Village Residents Association (CVRA), he did not feel their views reflected majority feeling. He had a fifty yearlong connection with the village and any split would be a serious mistake and said the 2 villages were stronger together.
Julian Thompson stated democracy could be thought of as a way of governing by the will of the people. Colyford had 800 residents and was one the largest village in the district without its own parish council. He said Colyford had the people, skills and competency to operate its own parish council. CVRA steering group had delivered the petition which had led to the proposal being discussed today. He said 76% of Colyford submissions wished to have they own parish council.
Ian Priestley said the new parish council would have strong values, behaviours and benefits. The CVRA had informed all residents of the procedures and processes as they had happened. Their blueprints presented a fresh start. He said the new parish council had shared a future vision and sense of belonging, they valued diversity with strong professional relationships with people of different backgrounds and would represent their community by working hard on its behalf. The new parish council would work closely with other councils and intended on being good friends and neighbours.
John Vieth talked on how a new parish council would work once established. He claimed that Colyton Parish Council were wealthy and as Colyford had no democratic bearing they could not access their share of the parish precepts. He said there was a strong majority to change, that the boundary made sense and that they had the right values as well as it being affordable and achievable. He said it was only fair and reasonable that the CVRA had requested sensible Vesting Statements. He claimed the relationship with Colyton Parish Council was untenable.
Andrew Wilkinson said he lived in Colyton and had known Colyford and its people all his life. He stated the whole process had been a slur against the good work and performance of the parish council. Residents cannot understand the need to break up something that works and had done for many decades. The figures in this process did not reflect the feeling of parishioners because few understood the full implications of the full consultation; the questionnaire implied a further opportunity to comment. He had no idea that should this motion go ahead, Colyton PC would have to hand over 30% of its assets; clearly having financial implication for the parish council and the people of Colyton. The motion for the split had implications far beyond discussions on boundaries. It would affect the whole parish and its finances, use off and access to its assets, governance and landownership which he was certain many people in Colyton were unaware of. He asked for the decision not to be made until greater effort to inform all people affected to the full consequences to the intended split.