Twelve years after a bid to merge Devizes town and Roundway parish councils failed, the councils are discussing the possibility again.
Back in 2002 the proposal, put forward by Devizes Town Council, was seen by Roundway Parish Council as a hostile takeover, resulting in bigger council tax bills for their residents. They opposed the idea, eventually ending in Kennet District Council vetoing the bid.
But in recent years Devizes and Roundway councils have been working together on projects including the Devizes Neighbourhood Plan, and councillors on both sides sense a sea change.
After a request by Wiltshire Council to review the boundaries of Devizes and Roundway parishes, the councils set up a joint working party to discuss merging. Bishops Cannings Parish Council has also been invited to be part of the discussion.
At the first meeting last month the working party came up with three options – no change, merge all of Roundway with Devizes or merge Roundway with the exception of Roundway Village with Devizes.
A meeting of the town council’s planning committee discussed the options last week and some councillors spoke in favour of option two, including Albert Wooldridge who is a member of both councils.
Town councillor Nigel Carter said: “I’m minded to suggest we pursue the Roundway option. We seem to have got to a quite remarkable stage where there’s a considerable degree of co-operation between the two councils. I think we have found there is logic in merging the two councils.”
The committee agreed to let the working party continue talks with the two parish councils.
Roundway Parish Council discussed the options but made no decision. The issue will be further discussed at a future meeting.
Parish council chairman Chris Callow said: “We are not dismissing anything but we need to make sure it’s in the interests of the people of Roundway. We intend to do consultation. We are doing a lot of joint working with Devizes at the moment and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been.”