Parishes have been around for a long time and are the smallest areas of civil administration in England, providing the statutory tier of local government closest to the people, together with the District Councils (Lancashire City Council) and Lancashire County Council.
Parish Councils have a wide range of duties and powers such as the maintenance of community buildings and land; provision of play areas; maintenance of village greens and rights of way.
Parish Councils are the essence of local democracy and have a vital role in speaking and acting on behalf of the communities they represent.
Parish Councils also comment on planning applications and can be represented at public enquiries.
All Parish Council meetings are open to the public, and many give the opportunity to electors to raise issues for the council to answer or to carry forward for later debate. They are led by the chairman, advised by a clerk who is there to see that business is conducted within the law.
A good council is well organised and sensitive to community needs – changing things for the better and having the backing of its electors.
The Parish Council is funded via the precept from local taxation (the council tax) and from grants towards projects and services.
What do councillors do?
- Councillors contribute to the work of the Council by:-
- Having a say about things they care about
- Putting forward ideas for better services
- Responding to the needs and views of their constituents
- Acting within the law
- Seeking the best outcome to local issues
- Getting involved in decision making by voting
- Accepting the corporate view of the council
- An individual councillor (including the chairman) cannot make a decision on behalf of the council. Working together, within a set of rules and acting as a team to get the best possible outcome for the community is therefore the key to success of the council and the basis for a rewarding contribution.
The above is, with small modifications, directly extracted from a publication issued by the Lancashire Association of Local Councils (LALC)
Nether Kellet Parish Council is entitled to have seven councillors and their details are set out below:
- Chairman: Judith Bentham; The Bungalow Halton Road LA6 1ET; 734353
- Vice-Chairman: Chris Halhead: Lawsons Farm Shaw Lane LA6 1HA; 732937
- Ian Williams: 1 Lindeth Close LA6 1EE; 732531
- Peter Riley;
- George Smith; 7 Bridge Road LA6 1HH; 733020
- David Whitaker; Lane Ends Farm LA6 1EG; 732810
- David Manning; 7 Briar Lea Road LA6 1HQ; 720496
Parish Clerk: Michael Watson; 12 Ashmeadow Road LA6 1EN; 734624
The Parish Councillors are unpaid and whilst they are entitled to claim for certain expenses, these are very rarely claimed. They are also elected in the local council elections that take place every four years. Regretfully, in the elections of 2007 and 2003 only seven people put themselves forward for the Council so were duly elected without an election. It is fair to say that there is rarely a queue of people willing to serve the community as Councillors. The next elections are due in 2011 and are usually held on the first Thursday of May. Should you be interested in serving as a Parish Councillor look out for notices in the Notice-board in March next year.
The Parish Clerk is a paid employee of the Council.
The Parish Council meets on the first Wednesday of each month commencing at 7.30 p.m. in the Congregational Church School Rooms. There is no meeting in the month of August.
The agendas for the meetings are placed in the notice-board outside the Congregational Church School Rooms and in the Parish Council Notice-board on the Saturday before each meeting. The minutes of the meetings are presently displayed in the PC Notice-board, after they have been agreed at the following meeting of the Council. It is to be expected that both documents will be available on the Nether Kellet web-site.
The accounts of the Parish Council are published yearly and are audited by a local panel of auditors consisting of Parish Clerks from the Parishes of Halton-with-Aughton, Bolton-le-Sands, Slyne-with Hest, and Carnforth Town Council. They are then forwarded to professional auditors appointed by the government in Southampton.
Detailed accounts are displayed in the Parish Council notice-board outside the shop after the Annual Meeting of the Council which takes place in May of each year. They are also available in hard copy at the meeting.
A scan through any of the minutes will highlight what is done by the council. We are able to bring things to the attention of the responsible authority be it Lancaster City Council or Lancashire County Council. They obviously have their own priorities and frequently things are not acted upon as quickly as we would hope. We are also consulted on numerous other issues involving other public &/or voluntary &/or private bodies.
The Parish Council is represented at the meetings of the Lancashire Association of Local Councils (LALC), which are held every two months.. This body consists of members of all Parish Councils in the District of Lancaster and is under the auspices of the County body which itself is part and parcel of a National Association of Local Councils. This enables our members to put forward and discuss problems that we may have and listen to others who may or may not be experiencing similar problems. They are often attended by representatives of the City Council the County Council and the local Police who can be questioned on various issues. They, in turn, can inform the members of any changes that may have arisen in their particular fields.
Contact is also maintained with the two local quarry operators by attendance at Quarry Liaison Meetings which take place several times each year.
Over the last few years we have managed to bring a number of projects to fruition, with the help of various granting, to hopefully improve the range of facilities available. E.g. the childrenís play area has benefitted by having a number of new items of equipment, safety surfacing; the Town Well area on Halton Road has been refurbished; the willow-bed area together with the peace stone and the new walling. The latest initiative has been the laying of the playground hedge and soon the well area in front of Lawsonís Farm on Shaw Lane will be re-furbished.
The Parish Council is responsible for the upkeep of the play-area and playing field with appropriate inspections to ensure the safety of the equipment. They have also elected to look after the grassed areas in the village (other than that on Hornby Bank, which is the responsibility of the City Council) and have their own motor-mower which the lengthsman Mike Ashton uses to keep all in order. Mike Ashton goes out of his way to provide the community with a first-class service and performs many tasks to keep things looking as good as they do.
Any resident of the Parish can approach any member of the Parish Council to voice their concerns, make suggestions as to what might improve things in the village or comment on works carried out within the Parish boundaries. They are also invited to attend all Parish Council Meetings.
Michael Watson – Parish Clerk
Revised June 1st 2011 to reflect changes to the Parish Council following the local elections in May 2011