Petition to change boundary between Caister and Ormesby knocked back

Pointers East development

Pointers East development - Credit: Archant

A bid to re-draw the boundary between two villages has fallen at the first hurdle, after borough councillors decided a 500-plus signature petition was not valid.

The petition presented by Caister Parish Council centres on the controversial 189-home development, known as Pointers East or Beauchamp Grange, which is between Caister and Ormesby.

Officially the site lies in Ormesby but is being marketed by Persimmon Homes as being in Caister because, they say, it is geographically closer and easier to find on web searches.

However parish councillor Lynne Connell argued the new development further blurs the boundary and is unfair because precept payments will go to Ormesby which is further away.

She wanted the boundary which currently sits at Meadowcroft to move to Jack Chase Way, clearing up any uncertainty.

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So she organised the petition under a 2007 law which would mean the borough council would need to consider moving the boundary if 7.5pc of electors in the area signed.

It was previously thought 10pc of electors would be needed, but the legislation changed last year and now just 7.5pc is needed.

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However the law is unclear over whether that is 7.5pc of the total electors in Caister, Ormesby, or the two villages combined.

At Great Yarmouth Borough Council's policy and resources committee on Tuesday councillors decided the figure should be set based on both areas combined, which meant the petition would not have enough signatures to be valid.

Monitoring officer Chris Skinner said there were 574 signatures on the petition, and 7.5pc of the electors in Caister was 571.

So if councillors were happy to base the figure only on how many electors there were in Caister, the petition would be valid.

However, as councillors decided the figure would need to be based on both parishes, it would need 822 signatures.

Conservative council leader Graham Plant said: 'I'm not happy with the recommendation [to accept the petition] because this affects two parish councils and if they are not in agreement we would be putting one above the other.

UKIP councillor Kay Grey, of Gorleston ward, added: 'Surely if the land is in the other ward we have to consider them.'

There was also concern that if a precedent was set it would 'open a pandora's box' for parishes to take land from one another.

Cllr Plant added: 'Is it important or is it one person's campaign? I don't like the idea of parish councils just taking land to get money. That's not something this council is happy about.'

On hearing the news Ormesby parish council chairman Adrian Peck said: 'We are delighted, we want to keep [the development] because we have been constructive since it was proposed. But I suspect this won't be the end of it.'

Mrs Connell, from Caister Parish Council, said they would now have to take another look at their options and see how they can move forward.

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