Changing the boundaries of Bury St Edmunds?
- Credit: Archant
Residents who think of themselves as being from Bury St Edmunds could be in for a change in the next few months.
The question of local identity could be shaken up in west Suffolk as a new review, running until April 27, looks at whether Moreton Hall should become a parish in its own right, and whether people in Withersfield should become part of Haverhill.
St Edmundsbury borough councillor Patsy Warby is chairing a working party leading a community governance review.
She said: “As our towns and villages grow, it becomes necessary to re-check that parish boundaries match local identity, so that any current or potential anomalies that have been highlighted to us are ironed out, and that local services are delivered in the most effective and convenient way achievable.
“This is really about strengthening communities, where people identify with the area in which they live, where the boundaries lie, and with it how their voice is represented at the most local level of democracy.”
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The consultation is now live and she said a number of recommendations had been made by the group.
“This isn’t a referendum but it is important that we hear evidence and public opinion before we make any major changes,” she said.
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The council has already carried out two stages of consultation with parish councils and other groups to find boundary issues across the borough and shape changes.
The community governance review is looking at where people see their local identity and where the parish boundaries should lie.
“It is hoped that, in turn, should lead to more people being engaged in local democracy and some of the decisions that affect the place in which they live,” said a council statement.
Suffolk county councillor Trevor Beckwith for Moreton Hall requested the working party look at the area becoming a parish in its own right – currently residents are represented on Bury St Edmunds Town Council.
The proposal therefore could affect every elector in Bury St Edmunds.
Other decisions will affect a number of rural parishes or boundaries where new homes are to be built as part of the Vision 2031 blueprint for growth, particularly around Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill.