8 Dec 2013

What is the Parish Council?

By Phil Blomberg

What does it do? Who pays for it?

The Parish Councils of the UK are the oldest authorities in the UK, based around ecclesiastical parishes, in a system of local government that originated in the feudal system of the 8th century.

The Parish Councils were formed in England in the 1890s to take over local oversight of civic duties in rural towns and villages.

They are the lowest, or first, tier of local government, and are elected bodies and have variable tax raising powers. The Councillors are normal members of the public who can be democratically elected into their posts if there is any competition for their seats.

The powers of Parish Councils are fairly limited. In Rodborough the Parish Council looks after many of the local amenities such as the play areas, some of the public grassed areas (not including the commons). Stroud District and Gloucestershire County Councils consult with the Parish Council over matters such as planning applications, roads, pavements and public footpaths. Other bodies such as the Police and the National Trust also liaise with it as a recognised source of local information. The Council has its own staff and budget and can periodically address matters such as road safety and long term planning strategies if it wishes to. It operates a number of committees which report back to it.

Planning and Transport Committee

Amenities and General Purpose Committee

Finance Committee

Fete Committee The Staffing Committee.

In addition the Parish Council can form working groups for tackling any individual issues for which it would set a rough timescale to try to achieve its aims. At the moment the Parish Council has two Working Groups: the Road Safety Working Group and the Wallbridge Fields Working Group.

The Parish Council also publishes this magazine which is almost self-funding from adverts. The content is agreed upon by the Commoner Editorial Group which works with the Parish Council to provide information on what is going on in the parish as well as items of local interest.

Phil Blomberg

Chair of Rodborough Parish Council

(This piece was originally written for The Commoner, the magazine for Rodborough Parish)

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