The Parish Council

The Village Defibrillator

What is a Parish Council?

A Parish Council is the first tier of local authority democracy and its members are voted into office through elections held in the Parish area. Elected Councillors serve for four years. Some Parish Councils are known as Town Councils but both are required to abide by the same legislation as dictated by central government.

What can Parish Councils do?

Parliament has laid down the various powers to which Parish Councils operate. These can include planning, provision of recreational facilities, community centres and public buildings, crime prevention, community transport, public toilets, tourism, allotments, footpaths, street lighting, certain aspects of highway maintenance, litter, open spaces, traffic calming etc. Powers were recently increased to include, where appropriate, the local authority’s Local Plan, problems associated with highways, refuse collection and the maintaining of local relations between all aspects of community life. The Parish Council also provides a conduit for complaints regarding items such as overgrown trees/hedges, silted up drains, street lighting, sewage problems, grass verges, street cleansing, anti-social behaviour. Such complaints are passed to either the local authority or the police.

Where do Parish Councils get their Funding?

The income to provide services administered by the Parish Council is obtained through the Parish Council Precept which forms a small part of the City of York Council’s Council Tax. Thus a portion of your Council Tax is paid back through the Parish Council to fund facilities in your Parish.

The Parish Council may also receive grants or income in other ways such as through building development payments known as Section 106 agreements or by application to the local authority’s Ward Committee or other departments of the City of York Council. Government departments, such as DEFRA and Development Agencies may also offer funding to help to improve life for the local community.

What does Strensall with Towthorpe Parish Council do?

Strensall with Towthorpe Parish Council decides on a budget for the following financial year and is charged to spend this precept funding wisely for the benefit of all parishioners. Each of the Council Members are allocated responsibilities for the many aspects of community life and are shown on the Councillors and Duties page. Although the Parish Councillors are involved in the duties listed the role of individual councillors, in most cases, is to facilitate communication between or on behalf of residents and the local authority or utility.

All Parish Council Members’ work is voluntary (except for small allowances for travelling costs in connection with work undertaken on Parish business but takes place outside the Parish Boundary). The joint Parishes employ one member of staff –  the Parish Clerk.

Elections are held every 4 years.