A Parish Council is the local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish. It is the level of local government closest to the community with the Forest of Dean District Council and Gloucestershire County Council above it in the hierarchy. The Parish Council in Newnham is responsible for a range of things many of which we take for granted – the provision and maintenance of all public open spaces, the playing fields, the running and maintenance of the churchyard, the clock tower, the provision of litter and dog fouling bins, public seats, bus shelter, the erection of signs warning of dangers etc.
Probably the most frequent topics that parish councils get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), crime prevention and roads and highways. It is true to say that on their own, parish councils have limited powers to make decisions other than those listed above but they do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence those other organisations that do make the final decisions, such as the FOD District Council, Gloucester County Council, Health authorities, Police etc.
Why become a Parish Councillor?
If you’ve never been to a parish council meeting you could be forgiven for thinking that parish councils are a group of older people who meet now and then, in the room above the Armoury Hall, to discuss budgets and set parish precepts making decisions that have little impact on the rest of us. By the way Party politics plays no part discussions and by becoming a Parish Councillor you become someone your community will look to for help, guidance and support; a community leader with the power to influence decisions for the benefit of the parish. Seeing your community change for the better as a result of decisions you have helped make is something that can give you a sense of achievement and pride.
So should you put yourself forward?
If you are over 18, a resident of the parish of Newnham, able to attend a regular meeting one evening a month, interested in local issues and things which affect people, keen to improve the local environment and quality of life and have an understanding and willingness to represent the views of the whole community then you could be the person the parish is looking for.
If you are interested email or telephone the Parish Clerk – Vicky Roberts email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 01531 828171 after 5pm