Your Parish Council is there to support you – the community of Shrewton.
Your parish council is a civil local authority and is the lowest, or first, tier of local government along with Town Councils and City Councils. It is an elected corporate body, has variable tax raising powers, and is responsible for, and to, the nearly 2,000 people who live in Shrewton (1,870 at the 2011 census).
Listed below are the general responsibilities and powers of parish councils. Not all of these apply to Shrewton.
Duty to provide facilities
- Allotments – Duty to consider providing allotment gardens if demand unsatisfied.
Powers to provide facilities
Parish councils have powers to provide some facilities themselves, or they can contribute towards their provision by others. There are large variations in the services provided by parishes, but they can include the following:
- Support and encouragement of arts and crafts
- Provision of village halls
- Provision and maintenance of recreation grounds, parks, children’s play areas, playing fields and swimming baths
- Provision and maintenance of cemeteries and crematoria
- Maintenance of closed churchyards
- Cleaning and drainage of ponds, watercourses and ditches
- Flood avoidance and management
- Control of litter
- Provision and maintenance of public toilets
- Creation and maintenance of footpaths and bridleways
- Provision of cycle and motorcycle parking
- Acquisition and maintenance of rights of way
- Provision and maintenance of public clocks
- Maintenance of war memorials
- Encouragement of tourism
They may also provide the following, subject to the consent of the county council or unitary authority of the area in which they lie:
- Bus shelters
- Signposting of footpaths
- Lighting of footpaths
- Off-street car parks
- Provision, maintenance and protection of roadside verges
Parish councils must be notified by the district or county council of:
- All planning applications in their areas
- Intention to provide a burial ground in the parish
- Proposals to carry out sewerage works
- Footpath and bridleway (more generally, ‘rights of way’) surveys
- Intention to make byelaws in relation to hackney carriages, music and dancing, promenades, sea shore and street naming
In some cases parish councils exercise the following powers:
- Creation of a neighbourhood plan
- Guardianship of common land
- Withholding of consent to stop up unclassified highways and footpaths
- Consultation on appointment of governors of primary schools
- Appointing trustees of local charities
There are transparency requirements of the Parish Council. This includes publishing all minutes of meetings and having an annual audit. Minutes of all Parish Council meetings are made public – on the notice board and here on the Council Meetings page.
The Parish Council is comprised of eleven elected Councillors and meets monthly to discuss issues relating to the village (Shrewton is both a Civil Parish and a Village. The boundaries are the same – if you live in the Parish you also live in the Village).
Councillors are all elected. On occasions where vacancies exist and the number of applicants does not exceed that councillors are elected unopposed which is also referred to as “co-opted”.
The Parish Council also awards grants to support local initiatives and organisations. This requires a commitment by those who stand as Councillors to participate fully in village life as well as attending these meetings.