Residents of Dunchideock have until the end of the month to respond to Teignbridge Council recommendations that it retains its Parish Council after villagers demanded that it be disbanded.

More than half of villagers signed a petition last year requesting that Teignbridge Council consider abolishing Dunchideock Parish Council. Residents said their parish council had been ravaged by divisive characters, spurious freedom of information requests, complaints and an increasing difficulty in finding candidates willing to stand for election.

A better alternative, they argued, would be an informal community forum. However, some residents are concerned that an informal forum such as a village WhatsApp group would not be open to everyone and would have no accountability.

Teignbridge Council opened a Community Governance Review (CGR) consultation to decide the Parish Council’s future last autumn. However, only 7% of residents responded with three in favour of retaining the parish council and 12 in favour of abolishing it.

Noting the 93% of people who did not give a view to the CGR consultation, Teignbridge Council issued a draft recommendation in February to retain Dunchideock Council. In its recommendations, Teignbridge Council said ‘it is clear from the responses that there is little or no desire to de-parish the area, or to seek to merge or combine with a neighbouring parish or parishes’.

Teignbridge Council also notes that the reason a petition to abolish the Parish Council was submitted was due to contention within the parish. ‘We believe the particular challenges facing the parish council would likely be no less contentious for a parish meeting to deal with’.

If the Parish Council was abolished, Dunchideock would still need to have some form of formal governance arrangements in place and hold at least one parish meeting per year.

Anyone wishing to respond to Teignbridge Council’s draft recommendation to retain Dunchideock Parish Council has until April 30 to make their comments to Teignbridge Electoral Services department either by email or post.

Teignbridge Council will publish its final recommendations on the fate of Dunchideock Parish Council on July 1st and the Community Governance Review will formally conclude by August 30th.