The following information has been provided to help parishioners understand the role of the Parish Council and how it can help them.
The Parish Council, what it is and the powers it has
Parish Councils are the lowest tier of Government in England. Historically they were closely associated with the church but this is no longer the case The Parish Council is as the title implies responsible for the area enclosed by the parish boundary which can include various communities. If the community is sufficiently large the Council may be called a Town Council rather than a Parish Council, its responsibilities however are Identical. Town and Parish Councils are an essential part of the structure of local democracy and have a vital role in acting on behalf of the communities they represent.
- They give views on behalf of the community on proposals that affect the parish, e g planning applications for domestic, commercial and infrastructure development.
- They provide input to consultations at local and national level eg National Policy Statement for Energy, National Planning Policy Framework and South Glos Core Strategy.
- Undertake Projects and Schemes that benefit the local residents.
- Work in partnership with other bodies to achieve benefits for the Parish.
- Alert the relevant authorities to problems that arise or work that needs to be undertaken.
- Help other tiers of Government keep in touch with their local communities.
How is the Parish Council Funded?
The Council has the power to raise money from its residents through taxation, “the precept”. The precept is the parish council’s share of the council tax. The precept demand goes to the billing authority in our case South Gloucestershire Council who collect the tax on our behalf. They may also receive income and grants from other sources and use these funds to improve life for their local community in many different ways.
The Role of the Parish Council for Planning
All planning applications within our parish that are submitted to South Gloucestershire Council’s Planning Department are copied to the Parish Council for comment. When the Parish Council receives a planning application it is circulated to all Councilors for examination. Based on what is being requested and what each Councilor feels about the impact the application if granted will have on the community there are four courses of action, support, object or make an observation, alternatively no comment ,this will be done at a specially convened planning meeting or at a normal full council meeting , the public may attend in all cases .All meetings are advertised in advance and an agenda posted. There is public participation within the agenda for parishioners to state their opinions if they so wish. Having listened to anything that may have been said regarding the application, councilors will vote on what comments if any they agree will be made, any comments are formally made to South Gloucestershire Planning Department.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Website gives information about the status of all Planning Applications.
Once a decision has been reached the response is sent to South Gloucestershire Council’s Planning Dept where the views of the Parish Council are taken into account when deciding whether or not to grant permission and what if any conditions need to be imposed. The Parish Council is duly informed of the outcome.
The Localism Bill was given Royal Assent in November 2011 becoming an Act of Parliament, this places a different emphasis shifting powers from Central Government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. What this means in reality we are still trying to understand, whether or not we have the resources to capitalise on the opportunities it presents for us as a community to and shape our future will take some time to determine.
What geographical area does the Oldbury-on-Severn Parish Council cover?
The following map shows the areas covered by Oldbury-on-Severn Parish Council.