Walton Parish Council
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Role of the Council

The role of the councillor is important because parish councils are the closest tier of local government to the people and as such are in control of many of the basic services that are taken for granted.  A councillor must have extensive knowledge of the requirements of the local residents, recognising the needs of the young and the elderly in equal measure while taking into consideration the legal boundaries in which they work.  To be eligible for election as a councillor a person must be over 18 years of age, a British subject, and be an elector for the area.  Also, during the whole 12 months before nomination as a candidate he or she must have occupied land as a tenant or owner in the parish (or within 3 miles of it) or have his or her principal or only place of work within the parish.

Village walton church

The number of councillors making up a parish council varies with the size of the parish. Their work is entirely voluntary; no councillor receives any payment for attending the meetings.  Councillors are entitled to be reimbursed for expenditure incurred on Council business according to scales laid down by Leeds City Council.

Under our present system local councillors have only limited control over how parishioners’ council tax money is spent.  Their role is largely an advisory one in which they are consulted by and report to the Leeds Unitary Authority on local issues and corrective action is needed on any matters concerning the economic, social and environmental well-being of village residents.

Over the last two years the council has spent much of its time dealing with the TATE proposal, Neighbourhood plan and the Walton Cycle track project. The work is ongoing and many of the councillors attend Development Plans Panel meetings and other related meetings held by Leeds City Council.

Other matters requiring action every month tend to be planning applications and problems associated with highways, (namely road and pavement surfaces, overgrown hedges, trees and verges, defective road signs and street lighting), plus traffic problems of parking or speeding.  Every planning application is passed to the Parish Council for comment.  With local knowledge, councillors are able to make meaningful suggestions that may not have been apparent to Leeds City Council planners.

Other topics requiring frequent attention are litter or other forms of environmental pollution, refuse, drainage systems and safety.  Apart from attending the monthly meetings most councillors accept additional specific responsibilities requiring them to attend other meetings often outside the parish. These tasks cover issues such as neighbourhood planning, crime prevention, environmental protection, special village projects, and liaison with Leeds City Council and with other communities.

The council meets in the Parish Hall and the detailed agenda for each meeting is displayed on the Parish Council notice board for about six days before the start of the meeting, and on this website.  See ‘Meeting Dates, Agenda’s and Minutes.’

The Parish Council does receive an income which is collected by Leeds City Council as part of the Council Tax which it controls directly.  This covers essential administrative costs, management of the greens and in addition allows the council to donate modest sums to worthy causes that it considers to be beneficial to the village community. Typical examples have been donations for the “Causeway” magazine,  contributions towards crime prevention equipment in the parish and donations to the parish church.

COUNCILLOR RESPONSIBILTIES

Councillors take on various responsibilities within the Parish Council; these are:

Chair, Direction and Strategy: David Aspland (Vice Chair, Brodie Clark).

To set the direction for the Parish Council; to chair the public meetings and other occasions requiring official representation; to ensure that the quality, relevance and integrity of Council business is of the highest order and that all governance processes and procedures are in place and are operating effectively, including all business and financial proprieties. To be accountable for the business of the Parish Council.

Communications: Mark Wake.

To ensure that the agreed communications strategy is delivered in full; to support the Chair and Council in all other day to day proactive and reactive communications matters – providing appropriate advice and offering direct support in producing timely communications that are accurate, attractive, relevant and clear.

Community Assets and Upkeep: Edward Simpson and Stephen Sharp

To ensure that the upkeep of the Parish is properly maintained, including the village assets and all matters to do with health and safety, deterioration on road and pavement surfaces, loss of pavements to vegetation and any other issue where deterioration might detract from the safety or attractiveness of the community.

Finance: David Taylor and Brodie Clark.

To ensure that all matters of finance are dealt with in a proper and legally compliant manner; to oversee all accounting issues and to advise the council on all matters of finance and grants including investment, expenditure and income; to satisfy the Council that all associated procedures – including audit and book keeping in in a satisfactory condition.

Neighbourhood Plan: Brodie Clark.

To oversee and account for the progress and successful delivery of a Walton Neighbourhood Development Plan; to meet the requirements of the village community, the Parish Council and the Leeds City Council core strategy; to deliver to agreed timelines and to cost and to report progress regularly to the Parish Council.

Planning issues: David Aspland and Stephen Sharp.

To receive planning applications for comment and to ensure proper research, suitable analysis and appropriate recommendations to the full Parish Council; to ensure that there are no breaches of regulation and that the village interests are effectively protected.

Projects and Project Oversight: Richard Prudhoe.

To oversee and account for the progress of the agreed Walton project portfolio; to maintain a project team; to deliver the programme of projects against planned delivery dates; to report regularly to the Council on progress and to ensure that projects are suitably funded and managed.