Queen’s Hills looks set to remain part of Costessey
- Credit: Archant
The prospect of a new Queen's Hills parish council appears to be fading fast, after a recommendation that the housing estate should remain part of Costessey.
Queen's Hills Residents Association (QHRA) triggered a community governance review process earlier this year, submitting a 268-signature petition to South Norfolk Council (SNC) calling for the estate to break from Costessey Town Council.
A first round of public consultation concluded this month, and its findings went before the electoral arrangements review committee at SNC, which is overseeing the review process, yesterday.
While many people signed the initial QHRA petition, just 10 Queen's Hills residents who engaged with the consultation exercise said they were in favour of a new Queen's Hills parish council.
Even QHRA, in its submission, expressed no preference over whether the estate got its own parish council or not.
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Alex Jackson, the only member of QHRA to attend the meeting, said: 'We're trying to represent everybody's views, as if we go down a pro parish council stance we will upset people who want to stay in Costessey.'
He said he was 'disappointed' at the low turnout in the consultation, that this may have been a result of the consultation running through the school summer holidays and that the quality of arguments was more important than the number of responses.
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He suggested Costessey Town Council's clerk and deputy clerk could be shared with a new Queen's Hills parish council, and claimed that things such as new football pitches and resolving traffic problems could be achieved more quickly with a separate set of parish councillors.
Keith Kiddie, who sits on the review committee, asked Mr Jackson: 'With your hand on your heart, do you think you would have enough people to maintain a parish council?
'I sit on Diss Town Council and I know how difficult it is to run it with a population base of 8,000.'
Mr Jackson said he felt people would volunteer for the parish council if they felt it would represent Queen's Hills.
There was an opportunity for members of the public to speak, but nobody did.
Sharon Blundell, district councillor for Old Costessey ward and a Queen's Hills resident herself, said: 'If residents in Queen's Hills wanted their own parish, I would have expected at least 250 responses, not 10.
'Most residents only seem to be concerned about the financial impact it [forming a separate parish council] would have on their family, which is understandable, as they may be paying more for less.'
The review committee unanimously resolved to recommend that Queen's Hills remain part of Costessey, but that a new Queen's Hills ward is created to give the estate a louder voice on Costessey Town Council.
This proposal will go out to a second round of public consultation, before a final decision in the new year.
Speaking after the meeting Tim East, chairman of Costessey Town Council, said: 'I'm absolutely delighted that the committee has recommended that Queen's Hills will become a ward and remain under the jurisdiction of Costessey Town Council.
'It has always been crucially important that the historic integrity of the existing Costessey parish boundaries will not be altered and remain the same.'