PARISH COUNCIL – what it’s there for
Established in 1894 the Parish council is the first level of democracy in the country – councillors being elected or co-opted from local people by local people to represent the interests of and to serve the local community. It is quite separate from a PCC (parochial church council) and is only concerned with non-secular matters.
The parish council is there to prioritise and respond to local needs and deal with a conflict of interests, if this should occur, in a reasoned and sensible way. It wants to help improve the quality of life and the environment for people in the parish
It is a corporate body and any decisions taken are the responsibility of the whole council. The council has the power to raise money through taxation (the parish precept which you see as a separate item on your council tax bill) and a range of powers to spend public money, including the General Power of Competence.
Some of the main issues that councils deal with are: planning (the parish council is a statuory consultee for the Local Planning Authority), highways, traffic, community safety, allotments, cemeteries, playing fields, community centres and village halls, litter, war memorials, seats and shelters and rights of way.
Currently the government is encouraging councils to deliver more services and to play a greater part in their communities – and they can therefore give financial support to:
· Local transport including transport to hospital
· Affordable housing
· Pond clearing
· Decoration of village halls
· Teenagers’ drop in club
· Summer festival