Highways and Footpaths
Andrew Plumbly (01823 480650)
Gillian Midworth (01823 480333, or email@example.com)
Mike Rastrick (01823 481840, or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bob Burrough (01823 480287, or email@example.com)
The Register of Interests for Beercrocombe Councillors is available at here
The Beercrocombe Parish Council meets at Beercrocombe and Curry Mallet village hall on the third Monday of January, March, May, July, September and November at 7.30 p.m. The Annual Parish Meeting takes place every May. The public are welcome to attend all meetings and time is allowed at the beginning of each meeting for public discussion.
Minutes and agendas for all these meetings are displayed on the noticeboard in Beercrocombe bus shelter and on this website
What it is?
Your parish council is a corporate body with a legal existence of its own quite separate from that of its members. Its decisions are the responsibility of the whole body. The council has been granted powers by Parliament including the important authority to raise money through taxation (the precept) and a range of powers to spend public money.
What can they do?
Some of the things which parish councils can be involved in include: cemetery provision or contribution to churchyard maintenance, entertainment provision, rights of way, provision of public halls, allotment provision, playing field provision, erection of signs announcing village name or amenity, provision of bus shelters, public lavatories and maintenance of roadside verges. Of course, not all these amenities would make sense for villages of the size of Beercrocombe.
Local parish councils also work closely with the district councils, in particular, making the views of the villages known on services provided by the district council such as planning control, road maintenance and waste collection. Beercrocombe falls within Area North of South Somerset District Council (SSDC). For more details on South Somerset District Council, visit www.southsomerset.gov.uk. For details of services provided by Somerset County Council, visit www.somerset.gov.uk.
How are they funded?
Parish Councils draw their funds from the council tax paid by residents of the parish. Next time you get your bill, you may notice a small portion of the fee goes to the local council. These funds are known as the precept. Parish councils must hold insurance, have a paid clerk and pay for their accounts to be audited, so a good portion of the precept goes on these requirements. The remainder can be used to fund local amenities such as those listed in the ‘what can they do’ section, within strict financial limits. They can also spend on anything which will be, in the council’s opinion, in the interests of the parish. Each council sets its precept to finance the level of service that it considers appropriate to meet the needs of the parish. Most large projects need additional sources of money. They are usually financed through grants from other sources, such as the lottery fund, SSDC, and various government departments. Each has its own award criteria. As examples, the Beercrocombe Bus Shelter project received substantial support from the Millennium Lottery Fund and the former Parish Plan process was underpinned by a grant award from the then Countryside Agency (now Natural England).
Who can be a Parish Councillor?
Almost anyone who resides or is working in the parish is eligible to become a councillor (there are some constraints, for example you must be over 18, eligible to vote and have lived here for over 12 months).
Parish councillors are volunteers, who work on behalf of the parish without remuneration. Beercrocombe’s council consist of seven councillors. Occasional vacancies are usually filled by “co-opting” a new member as and when someone is found who is willing to become a councillor!
Parish council elections are held every four years (the next one is in 2019). If more people put their name forward than there are vacancies, or if 10 or more parishioners request an election, then councillors are appointed by election. However, in small parishes like ours, it is unusual for more than seven people to volunteer!
What happens at a meeting?
To be legal, parish council meetings must be held in public. The parish council chairman leads the meeting and ensures that all items on the agenda are given adequate time for discussion. Proposals are made and, when appropriate, councillors vote to decide on a course of action.
Most councils will encourage members of the public to speak and ask questions in a short, defined period, early in the meeting. This is your opportunity to ask questions, to raise any concerns to the council or provide feedback on any issues relating to the council’s work. After that time, a member of the public is not able to take part in the meeting, although sometimes the chairman may invite comment from the public at other times. Beercrocombe Council would value your input.
All agendas and minutes of a parish council must be publicly displayed. You will see these on this web page and at the parish notice board inside the Bus Shelter on the Green.
The Annual Parish Meeting
Once a year each parish must hold an Annual Parish Meeting. This is not a meeting of the council but a meeting of the parish itself so everyone who lives in the parish can attend. As for other parish council meetings, the agendas and minutes must be publicly displayed.
At this meeting, the chairman of the parish council gives a presentation on what the council has achieved over the previous year. Often at the Annual Parish Meeting all organizations and proprietors of key facilities within the village are invited to give a short presentation covering what they do, how they are organized and how new members can join (if appropriate).
The Annual Parish Meeting must be held in May each year and is a wonderful opportunity to hear about everything going on within a parish.