A NEW parish council for Nythe is to be created after a surprise decision by Swindon Council – but the move could be blocked by a judicial review.

The council agreed to cut off 1,138 homes from Stratton parish to create a new Nythe Parish Council from May 2014, after calls from Couns Dale Heenan and Richard Hurley (Con, Covingham and Dorcan), who say this would cut council tax, improve services, and boost local accountability.

The change is part of Swindon Council’s community governance review, which aims to ensure every parish council or meeting reflects the identities and interests of the community, and is effective and convenient.

Previously, the corporate governance review working group – a cross-party group of senior councillors – had twice recommended the Nythe proposal be refused, claiming there was no clear supportive evidence in its favour. But Thursday’s full council backed the idea, 27 votes to 23, after a last-minute motion by the two councillors.

Now Stratton Parish Council is holding an extraordinary meeting on April 23 to discuss whether to try to stop the move in a potentially costly judicial review. Parish chairman John Foley believes such legal action would be supported by residents, as those left in the Stratton parish would have to pay more council tax to plug an £80,000 to £100,000 funding gap caused by Nythe taxpayers leaving.

The two sides are using petitions to support their arguments. Disregarding those who signed both petitions, the parish council, backed by the Labour group, gained 366 signatures against, and Coun Heenan gathered 298 signatures in support.

Coun Heenan said: “I am very pleased the positive case for Nythe has been recognized by other councillors, and a Nythe Parish council of seven people will be elected in May 2014.

“Green open space around the area will continue to be protected and maintained, Nythe residents can decide their own services and could see their council tax bills reduced by £70.”

But Coun Jim Grant, the Labour group leader, said: “This is a wholly unacceptable political decision. You have overturned democracy.”

Coun Foley said: “The majority of people in Stratton St Margaret don’t want a separate Nythe.”

Stratton parish has a population of around 22,000 in 9,900 homes. It is one of the largest parishes in England in both population and geographical size. The boundaries for the new parish would be the edge of the rugby ground, a line north of Marlowe Avenue, along Dorcan Stream, and along Dorcan Way.