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Role of Seend Parish Council

The Role of Seend Parish Council

A Parish Council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the Parish.  It is the level of government closest to the community, with Wiltshire County 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 to with concerns or ideas.  It has a variety of duties all of which impact directly on the community.

Statutory Power – Whilst Seend Parish Council has little in the way of statutory powers, it provides the link between the community and the County Council and will be consulted by the County Council on many issues that may directly affect the Parish.    So, Seend Parish Council will be asked to give comment to consultation documents that may be on housing, highways, etc.   

Planning: It is a statutory consultee on planning matters relating to the parish.  It is notified of all planning applications that are submitted in the Parish.  However, there is no legal requirement for the County Council’s Planning Department to act on the recommendations of the Parish Council.

Land in Seend: the Parish Council does not own any playing fields or village halls.  However, it does own land which has 15 allotment plots, and these are rented out to tenants for an annual rent.  The Parish is lucky to have two village halls and a playing field.  These are looked after by the Trustees of the Community Centre and the Lye Recreation Field.

Bus Shelters – The parish council owns and has responsibility for the two brick bus shelters at The Lye and Sells Green.  The other bus shelters are the responsibility of the County Council.

Highways – Seend has two A Roads, A361 and A365 that run through the parish, plus a number of C roads.  Signage, white lines, speed restrictions, highway maintenance etc are the responsibility of the Highways department of Wiltshire County Council.  For any highway safety improvements that the Parish requests, the Parish Council will be expected to pay for at least a third of the cost.   Applications for Highway improvements are raised as Community Issues and sent to the Area Board.   They are then discussed at CATG (Community Area Transport Group) meetings where they will compete with other parishes for funding.

Area Board – Seend Parish Council is currently within the Melksham Community Area.  However, following the electoral boundary review in 2019, Seend Parish will be moving into the Devizes Area Board.   Whilst our parish boundary has not changed, we will be grouped together into a new ward to be called Devizes Rural West.  This will include: Bulkington, Poulshot, Seend, Potterne, Erlestoke, Marston, Worton and Coulston  

Seend Parish Neighbourhood Plan – This is close to being completed and is likely to go to Referendum in 2021.   For further information, please go to www.seendparishplan.org

Parish Steward – The County Council offers a Parish Steward service free of charge.   The Parish Steward visits our parish 2 days a month and will carry out a number of tasks such as drain clearing, vegetation clearing, cutting back overgrowth, etc.  These tasks are given to him by the Parish Council in the form of a monthly task sheet which has a priority list.

Precept – This is the element of the Council Tax that is paid to the Parish Council.   The current precept for the 2020-21 financial year is £20,381.  This equates to £38.34 per annum per household in Band D. 

The Role of the Parish Councillor

Parish Councillors work together to serve the community and to help the Council to make decisions on behalf of the local community.  The role of the councillor is a voluntary one.  You must live in the parish and be on the electoral roll.

Meetings:   There are 11 monthly meetings of the full Parish Council which meets on the last Tuesday of the month.   There is no meeting in December.  There is also the Annual Parish Meeting which always takes place in May.  In addition there may be sub-committee meetings, such as the Precept budget meeting and for representation at the County Council’s Area Board and CATG meetings.

Could you be a local Parish Councillor?

  • Do you have a desire to help and become involved in your community?
  • Do you believe in helping others to help themselves?
  • Do you like a different challenge every day?
  • Have you ever shouted at the TV and thought you could do better?
  • Are you prepared to stand up and be counted?
  • Are you self motivated?
  • Are you prepared to take part in learning and development opportunities?
  • Do you have time to spare to meet this significant commitment?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it might be time for you to stand as a local councilor.