Where am I? Who can help me?

I’ve written before about how the St Loyes ward is in the Exeter City Council area, but in the East Devon constituency, and how since 2016 the boundaries of the two don’t quite match, and nor do the boundaries of St Loyes and the Devon County Council division of Wonford & St Loyes.

What other boundaries don’t match? Almost all of them!

  • The administrative county of Devon excludes Plymouth and Torbay unitary authorities. The ceremonial county of Devon includes Plymouth and Torbay.
  • For some reason, postcodes (eg EX2 5XX), sectors (EX2 5), districts (EX2) and areas (EX) bear no resemblance to administrative boundaries.
  • The Diocese of Exeter is often known as the Church of England in Devon, but the boundaries don’t quite match.
  • While on the subject of the church, you need to know which parish you live in when you get married in church. St Loyes is covered by the parishes of St Michael and All Angels, Heavitree to the west, Trinity Church, and St Michael & All Angels, Sowton.
  • St Loyes hosts the Middlemoor HQ of Devon & Cornwall Police
  • …and one of the fire stations of the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service
  • …and the HQ of the South Western Ambulance Service, which serves the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and the former Avon area.
  • That actually has the same boundaries (shock!) as the official South West England region and the South West England European Parliament constituency (which isn’t quite the same thing).
  • Back to health, and the structure of NHS England. Public health and wellbeing is managed by Devon County Council. We’re almost nearing some standardisation! For the planning and commissioning of health services, St Loyes used to fall within the Eastern Locality of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, but on 1 April 2019 this merged with the South Devon and Torbay CCG to form NHS Devon CCG, covering the whole of (the ceremonial county of) Devon. GP practices as a whole align with this area, but I can’t find a map of their boundaries. They almost certainly don’t align at the local level with wards, postcodes or…
  • Primary and secondary schools are managed by Devon County Council, but the catchments don’t align with council wards or divisions. In 2019-20 St Loyes is covered by four primary school catchments, and also hosts St Nicholas’ Catholic Primary School, and three secondary school catchments, and hosts St Peter’s CofE School.
  • South West Water can’t even agree with itself on its water supply and drainage services. It supplies water to Cornwall and Devon, but the eastern boundary for drainage follows river catchments.
  • Different companies manage the high voltage electricity transmission (National Grid in England & Wales only), regional distribution (Western Power Distribution), and supply (whoever your household has chosen). Western Power Distribution’s area extends all the way to the east coast, and it’s definition of the South West stretches into Somerset and Dorset.
  • Different companies also manage the high pressure gas transmission (National Grid Gas across the whole of Great Britain), regional distribution (Wales & West Utilities), and supply (whoever your household has chosen). Wales & West Utilities’s area has a bizarre fractal-esque boundary.
  • It’s enough to make you want to collapse on your sofa and escape into TV.  But if you want to catch up with the regional news… BBC South West serves Cornwall, Devon, Scilly, SW Somerset, W Dorset and Channel Islands; and ITV West Country is produced out of Bristol and serves Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire.

Finally, sometimes we might support England, Team GB, or the UK (“Royaume-Uni, nul points”). But there are no boundaries when caring for our neighbour or the planet.