In this section you will find information about local councils in general and Puriton Parish Council in particular – just click on a blue heading below to go directly to that section.
Parish and town councils are known as local councils. They are statutory bodies that make up the first tier of local government in England. Parish and town councils are an example of important and influential grass roots democracy. Local councils serve electorates ranging from small communities to towns and small cities. The local councillors who serve on parish and town councils are independently elected and are accountable to the people they represent in their local community.
Parish and town councils are at the heart of the communities they serve. Residents can clearly see the difference that pro-active local councils can make.
Through an extensive range of powers local councils provide and maintain a variety of important and visible local services including: allotments, bus shelters, car parks, open spaces, transport schemes, safety and crime reduction, events, leisure and sports facilities, litter bins, public toilets, street cleaning, older persons and youth projects.
As legislation gives more powers to local councils they are becoming increasingly involved in planning, promoting tourism, licensing and an increasing number of other areas.
Parish councillors are elected for a term of four years. Parish councils are statutory bodies elected to serve their communities and are funded principally by an annual precept collected by the district council with the council tax and paid to parishes in two six-monthly installments. Parish councils are not a part of the Church – administration of church matters is undertaken by a parochial church council, which is a different body entirely.
Councils can also apply for funding such as grants and funding awards, but they do not receive funds direct from central government as principal authorities do.
Apart from staffing and administrative costs, the council also has to pay for things like general parish maintenance, village improvements and grants.
The total net cost of Puriton Parish Council in the financial year 2014/2015 was £26,900. The precept remained at £32000, which cost an average band D house in the village £47.62 per year. The 2015/16 precept was held at £32,000, which resulted in the cost reducing slightly to £46.86 per year per house, representing a reduction of 1.60%. The 2016/17 precept once again remained at £32,000, reducing the annual band D cost to £45.84, a 2.19% decrease. The 2019/2020 precept increased from £37650 to £40320. There are more houses paying the tax this year due to the new housing development and so the total will be paid by more people, meaning that a Band D house will only pay an extra 35p per year to the Parish Council.
The precept is paid by all of us with the council taxes collected by Sedgemoor District Council.
Puriton Parish Council meets on the second Tuesday in the month. Meetings normally start at 7:45pm and members of the public are most welcome to attend. However this does not include the right to speak on any matter except at the commencement of the meeting in the public participation session, which is set aside for this purpose. Should you want to speak it would be appreciated if you would give prior notice to the Parish Clerk by 12 noon on the Friday prior to the meeting. In order to encourage swift and productive meetings you should keep your comments concise and restrict them to a maximum of 3 minutes.
Planning matters are heard towards the beginning of the Council meetings. Should you wish to speak on a particular application you can either request to do so during the public participation session or request that the Chairman uses his discretion to hear you immediately prior to the consideration of a particular application. In either case prior notice to the clerk will be much appreciated and might aid the allocation of time permitted for comments.
The Parish Council does not have the power to grant or reject planning permission. It simply makes its comments to the planning officer/committee at Sedgemoor District Council as to whether or not, in the opinion of the Parish Council, permission should be granted. For information on planning in general see the page Planning at the Local Level.
To see a list of your parish councillors, together with the areas for which each is responsible for viewing in relation to planning applications, click here: Parish Councillors. Please note that the areas shown are not ones for which councillors are representatives in general. The parish councillors do not represent areas in the same manner that district and county councillors do. Instead all councillors act as a single corporate body representing the whole parish.
If you have any issues you wish to raise with the parish council then you should first contact the parish clerk. However, should you wish to contact a councillor direct regarding a particular matter you can find their contact details on the menu: Your Parish Council.
If you would like to know more about parish councils and what they do you can visit the website of the National Association of Local Councils at www.nalc.gov.uk