What is a Parish Council?
A parish council is a statutory authority set up under the Local Government Act 1972. It is the first tier of local government, below district and county authorities.
Who sits on the Parish Council?
The council is made up of councillors elected by residents of the parish. Councillors are elected every four years, though this does not necessarily mean that a ballot will take place. If no one stands against the existing councillors then they are elected unopposed.
Langford Budville PC consists of five councillors and a paid officer, the Clerk. The Clerk does not vote or make decisions. That is the function of the councillors.
What powers do Parish Councils have?
Parish councils have a wide range of powers including the following:
Right to be notified of planning applications.
Power to acquire land and maintain it.
Provision of Bye Laws (Power to make bye-laws in regard to pleasure grounds, cycle parks, baths and washhouses, open spaces and burial grounds, mortuaries and post-mortem rooms!)
Duty on Parish Councils to consider crime reduction in every policy and action.
Liaise with Police, neighbourhood watch.
Ensure Footpaths are in order. Check on road signage and drainage and contact relevant authority if necessary.
LBPC are directly responsible for the Triangle, including the Play Area.
They also have the power to raise money through the council tax (parish precept)
Plus many more ...
Who are Parish Councils accountable to?
They are accountable to the electors of the parish. The PC's accounts are approved by the District Auditor. Councillors are bound by a Code of Conduct. Breaches of that code of conduct are investigated by the Standards Board for England. Councillors found guilty of a breach can be removed from office.
Who can attend Parish Council Meetings?
Parish council meetings are open to the public and press. Notice of the date and time of meetings must be published in advance, usually on notice boards. The Clerk can also provide details.
Can I speak at a Parish Council meeting?
Not when the PC is conducting its business. It is considered good practice to allocate time for the public to speak, usually at the start of the meeting. The chairman can call the meeting off to allow comments from the floor.
Do councillors have to declare an interest in matters on the agenda?
Under the code of conduct councillors must declare a personal or financial interest in such matters.
What powers do Parish Councils have with regard to planning applications?
Parish councils have the right to be consulted about planning applications. The council will discuss the application and its views will be taken into account by the planning authority, providing the points made are relevant to the determination of a planning application.