PLANS to create a new parish council for Derry Hill and Studley have been rejected by the current councillors, despite a large amount of public support.

Calne Without Parish Council made the recommendation to Wiltshire Council that merging Pewsham and West wards to create a Derry Hill and Studley Parish Council, be rejected, voting seven-four against the idea.

The topic sparked heated debate amongst the current 11 parish councillors, who each gave their opinion on the matter.

Public speakers started the discussion with Richard Fitter saying: “It is not only appropriate, but necessary for Derry Hill and Studley to have its own Parish Council to serve the needs and protect the interests of its residents”. 

Richard Aylen, who lives in Derry Hill, added: “People of Derry Hill and Studley can not easily relate to Calne Without PC, as they would be able to with their own council.”

Cllr Ioan Rees, who represents West Ward, who started the petition for a new council, said in his presentation: “I genuinely believe a smaller council focussing on a smaller community will have a bigger influence. I’m yet to hear any credible argument against it.”

Opposing councillors’ main issue with the proposal was their belief that surrounding, more rural areas, of the new parish council would continue to feel under-represented, just as Derry Hill and Studley do now.

Vice-chairman Cllr Jim Cook said: “I promised I would listen to the arguments before making my decision. As a representative of Pewsham Ward I feel disgruntled there has been no consultation of this plan with the rural areas. For these reasons I cannot support the plan.”

Things got more heated when Cllr Susan Baker said: “We are a large council with money. If you go on your own you best be prepared to dip into your own pockets.”

Wiltshire Council will have the final say on the plan. A decision is expected by March.