What is a Parish Council?
A parish council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish. It is the level government closest to the community, with the district authority (Aylesbury Vale District Council) above it in the hierarchy.
As it is the authority closest to the people, parish councils are invariably the first place people will go with concerns or ideas. For this reason they are a vital part of any community.
What decisions do Parish Councils make?
Parish councils make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community. Probably the most common topics that parish councils get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), crime prevention, managing open spaces and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities.
It’s true to say that on its own, the parish council has limited legal powers to make decisions, but it does have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the district and borough councils, health authorities, police etc).
In this respect the parish council can be extremely effective. The organisations that make the final decisions know that a parish council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something, and its views will be taken seriously.
What powers do parish councils have?
They have a wide range of powers which essentially related to local matters, such as looking after community buildings, open spaces, allotments, recreational areas, street lighting, and much more. The council also has the power to raise money through taxation via the precept. The precept is the parish council’s share of the council tax. The precept required goes to the billing authority, the district council, who collect the tax for the parish council.
Quainton Parish Council has 7 councillors who stand for election every four years. The duties and functions of a parish council are many and varied. The Council meets monthly and considers planning applications and any other matters referred to it by local residents and other bodies. All meetings are open to the public and there is a forum before or during the meeting at which members of the public can raise concerns and ask questions. There is also an annual meeting which all parishioners are invited to attend where the chairman provides a report on counciI activities during the preceding year. All meetings are advertised on the council notice board at the bottom of The Green and online. Residents can bring to the attention of the parish council anything that concerns them, either directly or though the clerk. If matters raised are not the responsibility of the council, the clerk can bring them to the attention of the proper authority.
Both our District and County Councillors attend some of our meetings and remain in close contact with the Parish Council. As a body we hope to be an asset to you all by being approachable, supportive, diligent and wise in our judgements and actions. We are keen to hear your wishes and views and will do our best to keep Quainton as a happy and caring community.