Parish Council Elections 1 May 2008

New councillors wanted – can you help?

Every four years all nine seats on the Parish Council come up for election.
It’s always healthy to have fresh ideas and new faces on the council.
This year it’s particularly important to have new candidates because several of the current councillors are not standing again.

What is the Parish Council and what can it do?

The Parish Council owns the Shawford Hall, the Pavilion and Memorial Playing Field on Compton Down, and the playing field and equipment in Compton Street.

The council’s legal powers include the important authority to raise money through taxation (the precept), and various powers to spend public money for the benefit of the community. In 2006/7, about 2.5p of every pound of your council tax, that’s 65p a week for a Band D property, came to the Parish Council to run the village.

As a parish council, we have fewer duties than higher levels of local government and greater freedom to choose what to do. We can influence other decision makers and can also make things happen ourselves.

Our excellent part-time clerk, Mike Langford, keeps the Parish Council running smoothly and is there to advise councillors on procedures.

I am pleased to say that the Parish Council is completely free of Party Politics.

What’s involved?

The legal requirement is to meet at least four times a year. Our Parish Council holds public meetings on the first Tuesday evening of every month, except August. You should try to attend most meetings.

Meetings are generally held in the Shawford Parish Hall. But after such a good attendance at the February meeting in the Scout Hall, the new Parish Council could decide to meet there more often, or to meet again in Shepherds Down School to make it easier for people who live on the Down to attend meetings.

You will also be asked to serve on one or more of the Parish Council’s committees, which cover Planning, Finance, Highways & Byways, and the Playing Fields. Most committee work can be done from home by phone, and email if you have it. When appropriate, they hold formal public meetings.

The Council’s priorities

The new council will decide its own priorities, but they are likely to include Planning, deciding how to act on the findings of the Parish Plan project, wrestling with parking problems, and re-examining the policy for spending the Open Space funds allocated to our parish.

If you are thinking of becoming a Parish Councillor

You must live or work in the Parish, be over 21 and a British, Commonwealth or EU citizen. You need to fill in a nomination form and get it signed by two (or more) sponsors who must be on the Electoral Register for the parish.

Key dates

March 20:
Nomination forms available from the Parish Clerk, Mike Langford on 714577, email mikeg(at)langford62.freeserve.co.uk, or directly from the City Council offices.
March 27 to noon on Friday April 4:
completed nomination papers must be submitted by appointment to the City Council Offices in Colebrook Street. You should do this in person if possible so that any errors can be corrected at the time. If you can’t get there yourself, Mike Langford will take your papers in.
April 23:
The Annual Parish Assembly at which the outgoing Council reports on the past year.
May 1:
Polling Day. If there are 9 candidates or fewer, an election will be unnecessary and candidates will be elected unopposed.
May 6:
The first meeting of the newly elected Council at which members elect a Chairman, Vice-chairman, and appoint committees.

Want to talk it over?

Any of the current councillors would be happy to talk to you.

Adrian Walmsley, PC Chairman