What does Sedgehill and Semley Parish Council do?
The Council has many decision-making powers on how to act and spend money for the benefit of the parish of Sedgehill and Semley. Some of these require the support of the County Council to facilitate them and all are subject to normal procedures of, for example, planning as well as general legislation. The money the Council spends comes from residents as a proportion of your council tax (called the Precept): every resident is financially invested in the good running of the village. More information on this can be found under the “Finance” section of this website. Funding and grants can also be sought from a number of funding bodies.
What can the Councillors do for me?
The Councillors represent the views of the people living in the parish in relation to matters concerning our community. As your representatives, we look forward to hearing your views, concerns and ideas to help make this village an even better place to live. The Council holds an ordinary meeting every two months and an annual meeting in May. The dates of meetings are notified on the village noticeboards as well as on this website and members of the parish are warmly invited to attend.
What issues can the Council discuss?
Broadly speaking, the Council may discuss anything that affects all or part of the community, directly or indirectly. As the democratic representative body for Sedgehill and Semley, it may influence decisions made by others too.
More specifically, the Council’s responsibilities include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Looking after the assets of the parish. The assets include, amongst others, The Pound, in the middle
of Semley, fingerposts etc.
- Liaising with the County Council on highway and footpath safety and repair
- Liaising with the County Council on public transport and road safety matters
- Maintaining this website to promote effective communication within the parish
- Making grants to village organisations from council funds
- Liaising with the police on matters of concern within the parish
- Monitoring drainage and ditches throughout the parish and actioning as and when necessary
- Consulting on all planning applications within the parish, and on major planning applications in
neighbouring parishes. When planning applications are submitted, the Council is allowed to comment
and asked to express approval, objection (with reasons) or express no recommendation. These
comments are passed on to Wiltshire Council planning authority who make the final decision.
How do I get the Parish Council to do something for me?
If you are passionate about something which will benefit the local community, please get in touch and let us know. The email addresses of the Councillors and the email and postal address of the clerk are available on the website under the ‘Councillors’ link and we are always happy to hear from you.
We would suggest that you please provide a summary of your topic of interest and any suggestions that you may have and ask that this item be added to the next agenda. This will allow the Councillors to have time to give due consideration to and, where applicable, research your suggestions, evaluating whether your views would be supported by a significant number of parish residents without putting a significant number of other residents at a disadvantage, bearing in mind at all times the limits to the village resources. The Clerk will then put your topic of interest onto the agenda for the next meeting.
Due to the legal rules governing the Council, any topic to be discussed must be on the agenda and any motion passed must be agreed to by the majority of Councillors (passed by resolution). If the Councillors believe that more information is needed, it may be that a decision is deferred to a later meeting.
You will also have the opportunity to discuss your views during the open session at the beginning of the Council meetings.
How can I become a Councillor?
Parish Councillors are volunteers who must be at least 18 years old. If you are interested in becoming a Parish Councillor, the best way to find out what it’s like is to talk to a current councillor. Come along to one of our parish council meetings and speak to one of the councillors or contact the Parish Clerk, Bev Ford, email@example.com who will be able to give you more information. Prospective candidates must complete the appropriate nomination papers available from the Clerk.
The term of office is four years. After that time, the position is open to election. However, this does not mean you have to stay for four years. If you find it’s not for you, or you can no longer meet the commitment, you can stand down.
How much time does it take?
The Parish Council usually meets once a month for the council meeting, which members of the public can also attend. Meetings may last up to two hours depending what is on the list of items to discuss. The council also has sub committees to deal with specific subjects such as finance and planning. As well as regular meetings councillors are sometimes required to give time for ‘ad hoc’ meetings – for example with architects or agents to discuss planning applications that the council must give its opinions on. Councillors also often have specific areas of interest, such as Highways or Rights of Way, which they can volunteer to take on as part of their responsibilities
The process of election
Elections take place every four years. If a Councillor resigns from office mid-term, a by-election will be held. From the date of public notification, electors have 14 working days to request a poll to fill the vacancy. If a poll is claimed by at least ten electors then an election to fill the vacancy must be called within 60 days of the original notification of vacancy.
Where a poll is not claimed and the next full election is more than six months away, the Council is obliged to co-opt a councillor. The Council will advertise the vacancy and ask for applications to be made in writing. Applications will be considered by Council and the successful applicant co-opted by resolution of Council.
For further information please contact Bev Ford, Clerk to the Parish Council. firstname.lastname@example.org