Sunday, 20 August 2017

Villagers dislike move away from Watlington

ABOUT 70 people from Cuxham have signed a petition protesting at plans to move the village into another electoral boundary.

ABOUT 70 people from Cuxham have signed a petition protesting at plans to move the village into another electoral boundary.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is proposing that Cuxham is moved from the Watlington ward to the Chalgrove ward as part of changes designed to reduce the number of councillors on South Oxfordshire District Council.

The Watlington ward would have about three per cent fewer voters than average and it would be represented by one district councillor instead of the two it has now.

Ann Voss, who chairs Cuxham and Easington Parish Council, and Hannah Wylde, clerk to the council, say the changes would affect electoral equality, fail to reflect local community interests and identities and would not promote effective and convenient local government.

In a letter to the review officer, they say: “We do have very strong and important links with Watlington and very few, if any, with Chalgrove.

“It is our wish to remain in the Watlington ward and we request that you rethink your proposal.”

They note that Watlington is close enough to walk and cycle to and from Cuxham and that children from the village attend both Watlington Primary School and Icknield Community College in the town and residents use Watlington’s doctor’s surgery, library and shops.

Cuxham also comes under the same policing area as Watlington and shares a sewage works with the town while its electricity and gas come via Watlington. The village may also be included in the Watlington neighbourhood plan.

Ian Hill, chairman of Watlington Parish Council, has also written to the review officer asking that Cuxham stays within Watlington ward.

He said: “It is our belief that the residents of Cuxham look more towards Watlington than towards Chalgrove as their centre for local services such as convenience shops, post office and medical practices.

“In addition, a few houses in what geographically would be regarded as Cuxham are actually in Watlington parish. There are elements of ribbon development from both ends of the road between Cuxham and Watlington.”

If the proposals are agreed, the district council would have 36 members instead of 48. An eight-week consultation closed last week.

A spokesman for the commission said: “The commission is currently considering all the responses to the public consultation, including petitions and other submissions for the whole district. We aim to publish final recommendations in March.”

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