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© Darrington Parish Council 2019

Darrington Parish Council

Clerk: Ian Thompson.


01977 798884

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Chair: Cllr  Michael Britton


01977 708205

The Parish Council - What do we do?

Local councils are the first tier of government and are the first point of contact for anyone concerned with a community issue. They are democratically elected local authorities and exist in England, Wales and Scotland. The term 'local council' is synonymous with 'Parish council', 'town council' and “community council'.

In England Parish councils were formed as part of the feudal system in the 11th century to oversee the welfare and civic duties of a town or village.

Many Parish councils are still in place today, particularly in rural communities.

Local councils are made up of locally elected councillors. They are legally obliged to hold at least one meeting a year. Most meet on a six-weekly cycle to discuss council business. In addition to this, there are committees or sub-committees made up of councillors, dealing with specific subjects. District councillors regularly attend Parish meetings to report back to the district on developments at Parish level. County, unitary and metropolitan councillors are also invited to attend Parish meetings when the Parish council feels it is appropriate, and they have a standing invitation to attend and report at the annual assembly.

What responsibilities does the Parish council have?

Local councils currently have a limited number of duties but they all impact directly on the community. The following are all under the remit of local councils:

* Allotments
* Burial Grounds, Cemeteries, Churchyards and Crematoria
* Bus Shelters
* By-laws - the power to make bye-laws concerning: baths and washhouses (swimming pools), cycle parks, mortuaries and pleasure grounds
* Clocks - public clocks can be provided and must be maintained
* Community Centres, Conference Centres, Halls, Public Buildings
* Drainage - of ditches and ponds
* Entertainment and the Arts
* Footpaths
* General Spending - Parish councils can spend a limited amount of money on anything they deem of benefit to the community that is not covered by the other specific responsibilities described in this list
* Gifts - Parish councils may accept gifts
* Highways - lighting, parking places, right to enter into discussions about new roads and road widening, consent of Parish council required for diversion or discontinuation of highway, traffic signs and other notices, tree planting and verge maintenance
* Land - acquisition and sale of
* Legal proceedings - power to prosecute and defend any legal proceedings in the interests of the community, power to take part in any public enquiry
* Litter - provision of litter-bins and support for any anti-litter campaigns
* Planning - Parish councils must be notified of, and display for residents, any planning applications for the area. Any comments submitted to the planning authority by the Parish council must be taken into account
* Postal and Telecommunication Facilities - power to pay a public telecommunications operator any loss sustained in providing services in that area
* Public conveniences - provision and maintenance of public toilets
* Recreation - provision of recreation grounds, public walkways, pleasure grounds, open spaces, village greens, gymnasiums, playing fields, holiday camps and boating ponds
* Rights of Way - footpath and bridleway maintenance
* Seats (public)
* Signs - danger signs, place names and bus stops signs
* Tourism - financial contributions to any local tourist organisations allowed
* Traffic Calming
* War Memorials
* Water Supply - power to utilise stream, well or spring water and to provide facilities for general use

Becoming a Parish Councillor

To qualify to be a Parish councillor you must be:

1. A British citizen, a citizen of the Irish Republic or a citizen of any member state of the European Union.
2. Over 21 on the day that he or she is nominated as a candidate
3. A registered local government elector
4. Resident in the Parish, or within 3 miles of the Parish, or working full time in the Parish for at least 12 months prior to the nomination or election day.

A person is disqualified from holding office as a Parish or town councillor if:

1. They hold a paid office, or other place of profit in the Council
2. They have been declared bankrupt in the past five years and have not repaid their debts
3. They have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to more than 3 years imprisonment within the last five years
4. They incur illegal expenditure (when acting as a councillor) of over £2,000, or are found guilty of using corrupt or illegal practices

The Role of the Parish Councillor

Members of the Parish Council are all either elected for a term of four years or if there are not enough people standing at election time, co-opted to serve the community in a voluntary capacity. No councillor is able to receive any payment other than out of pocket expenses and they are served by a clerk who is responsible for the day to day management of the parish council, the servicing of its meetings and the preparation of accounts to be submitted to the district auditor.

People of any political or religious persuasion are eligible to become a councillor, although their personal views should not extend into their Parish council work. They are elected to represent the interests of the local community as a whole and promote a harmonious local environment. The number of elected councillors depends on the size of the area. Councillors attend meetings of the full council and often participate in committees that deal with specific areas of council business. Councillors take collective decisions that form the policy of the council.

The affairs of the Parish Council are held in public - you have a right to receive information on and attend meetings of the Parish Council and to this end the Parish Council produces a Newsletter and maintains this website. You can contact the clerk or any of the Council’s current members, with any concerns or ideas that will benefit the Village and its residence.

Some training is available for new councillors, training courses and seminars on topical issues such as Quality Status, Parish Plans, Parish Transport Plans and Planning.

How is the Parish council funded?

The funding for Parish councils is allocated by the district council and is taken from the area's council tax; this is called an annual precept. The income and expenditure for the next financial year are calculated in the form of estimates and this amount is added to the local council tax and then returned to the Parishes in two yearly instalments. Darrington Parish Council has maintained one of the lowest precepts in the area.