SO WHAT IS A PARISH COUNCIL?
Parish Councils are the lowest tier of government in England. In times past the councils were tied to local churches, this is however no longer the case. A parish is normally a small area enclosing a single community. If the community is sufficiently large the council may be called a town council, rather than a parish council. At the other extreme, in some very small parishes there is no council, simply a Parish Meeting.
The Parish is able to raise funds from its residents in the form of a “Precept”. This is added to the sums requested by the County Council, the Police Authority, Fire Authority and the District Council and is then collected through council tax.
Councillors are elected by parishioners, normally during local elections which are held every four years.
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL?
It is fair to say that the Council has little power but a reasonable amount of influence. A prime example of this is planning applications. The planning authority, currently Kennet District Council, gives details of every planning application within the parish to the Parish Council for review and will take into account the Councillors’ comments when coming to a decision.
Ogbourne St George Parish Council is also directly responsible for providing the following services to the parish:
- The maintenance of play areas throughout the village – including the provision, regular inspection and maintenance of play equipment.
- Grass mowing of public areas under Council control.
- The updating and maintenance of the Street Lighting system in accordance with UK regulations.
- The management of small areas of land around the village such as the Coronation Garden.
Perhaps most importantly the Council takes a lead in getting things done in the community, such as liaising with the police and other authorities; ensuring minor on going maintenance is carried out; and operating as a focal point for discussion and debate of all things which directly affect the Parish.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON AND GET INVOLVED?
The Council normally meets in the village hall on the second Thursday of odd months. The Parish records are held by the Parish Clerk, however, copies of the most recent minutes and other Council notices are displayed on the Council’s notice board opposite Parklands Hotel.
All meetings are open to the general public and the Council is keen to see residents of the Parish attend meetings. Although members of the public have no right to speak at meetings, the Chairman may, at his or her discretion, invite individuals to address the Council if a matter being discussed is of particular interest. In addition Parish Councils are obliged to organise an Annual Parish Meeting each year which all local electors may attend and raise issues of local concern.
HOW DO I GET IN TOUCH WITH THE PARISH COUNCIL?
The Parish Councillor details can be found here