I’ve heard about the Parish Council but I don’t really know what it does?
It’s good that you’ve heard about us! But we expect, like you, many local residents don’t have a clear view of what we do. Since we spend about £6,000 of your money each year on maintaining and enhancing the village, we thought that you might want to know a bit more about us.
We are the first tier of local government and our main role is to ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the village. As well as the Clerk, who is responsible for both the administration of the Parish Council and its compliance with relevant legislation, there are six councillors who work together as a team. Matters covered include: – village maintenance, planning, public footpaths, traffic, communication, housing, Parish Council land and finance. Other matters are addressed by the Parish Council as and when they arise and action agreed according to the circumstances.
We are often the first port of call for residents, and we take responsibility for ensuring that their queries or concerns are addressed, either by providing information and advice, by taking direct action ourselves, or by notifying the relevant authorities.
We also coordinate the Parish Emergency Plan and the Parish Welcome Pack.
What do you spend my money on?
Village maintenance and administration takes up most of our budget. We’ll also attempt to raise money from other sources like grants on an ad hoc basis to enable us to do specific projects, for example we currently have £3000 set aside to renovate the cricket field bridge this summer
Don’t you have something to do with planning applications?
Although Stratford District Council is the local planning authority it expects us to comment on all applications – from pruning trees to substantial housing developments – so that when it makes its decision the Planning Committee knows what the views of the residents are. We try very hard, using our local knowledge, to ensure that our comments are fair and reasonable although there are inevitably occasions when whatever we say will not please everyone.
OK, I’m getting the picture about what being a Parish Councillor entails, but what’s in it for me?
Residents really care about our parish but we need more people to come forward to fill vacancies as and when they arise if we are to ensure that it continues to flourish under its own steam. Because parish councils are the first tier of government it is important that they continue to be operated effectively by enthusiastic local volunteers. If we cannot recruit enough councillors then Stratford District Council will take over and we do not want that.
If you were to come on board, you would be playing a central role in helping to ensure that your community and village are maintained and enhanced. You would certainly get to know lots more about what makes the village ‘tick’.
Becoming involved in voluntary work, local government and committee activity also develops skills which might be useful for you in other areas of your life.
I don’t have time to be a councillor, I have a full-time job.
It is definitely possible to be a Councillor while also working. The Parish Council meetings take place one evening every other month and the time commitment other than that very much depends on what projects you choose to get involved in. It’s certainly no more than if you were involved in a sports club, society or another voluntary organisation.
Where can I get more information on being a parish councillor?
There’s slightly more to it than that because there is a procedure that we have to follow – but if you are over 18, and live in or near the parish and want to make a contribution to the village then you are half way there! Councillors come and go from time to time and we always publish vacancies on the village notice boards and in future on our website as well. If you are interested in becoming a parish councillor or would like to learn more please contact the Parish Clerk at NPAPCclerk@gmail.com. Good luck!