Q. What does the Parish Council do?
The Parish Council looks after issues of direct concern to village residents, and is responsible for a number of local services, including:
· Grass cutting
· Roadside seats
· Bus shelters
· Litter bins and litter picking
· Dog waste bins
· Play equipment
· The burial ground and churchyard maintenance
· Jubilee playing field
In addition, the Parish Council is responsible for the provision of the Village Hall, and works in partnership with the County Council to maintain and improve the public footpaths in the village. It liaises with the Borough Council on matters that are their responsibility, such as abandoned cars and the state of the roads and footways.
It also considers and responds to local planning proposals and other matters that might affect the lives and well-being of residents.
There are a number of working groups, members work as small teams and report at each meeting of the Parish Council, this structure reflects the areas of activity that we undertake and details are listed below.
Q. And who pays?
The cost of the services provided by the Parish Council are met by a special budget known as the parish precept. The Parish Council agrees this budget once a year and the money is collected through the Council tax system.
In addition the Parish Council regularly submits bids for grant funding from various organisations and local authorities. Recently we have been awarded sums to help fund the new Jubilee Centre facility and provide new equipment in the play area.
All Parish Councillors carry out their duties at no cost to local residents.
Q. Who is on the Parish Council?
Like all other local authorities (eg Borough Councils), Parish Councillors are elected every four years. If there are the same number of nominations as there are places on the Council, no formal elections are held. If there are fewer nominations than places, then the Parish Councillors can co-opt other people to fill the vacant seats until the next election.
The present Councillors are listed below, along with details of the committees they are on.
In addition to the Councillors, there is a Clerk to the Parish Council who works on a part-time basis. The Clerk deals with the business of the council, and is usually the first point of contact for residents and outside bodies. The Clerk's contact details are:
Lizzie Barnicoat, PO Box 1548, Bedford MK44 5AX Tel. 01234 743152
The Clerk is in the Parish Office located at the Village Hall on Cotton End Road, every Monday morning between 9am and 12 noon and there will be a representative of the Parish Council present every Thursday afternoon 2 pm till 4 pm.
Q. Where does my Borough or County Councillor fit in?
Local government is organised in tiers; The Borough Council look after education, social services and roads, housing, pavements, some street lighting, planning and environmental health. The Borough Councillor attends Parish Council meetings regularly to keep the Parish Council informed about what they are doing and to take back issues we might raise.
Q. How often does it meet and where?
At present, the Parish Council meets eleven times a year, with no meeting in August. Dates of meetings are posted on the website, outside the venue and in the Home Watch newsletter. The meetings are held in the village hall, commencing at 7.30.
Q. How can I find out what goes on at the meetings?
Members of the public are entitled to attend meetings and raise matters of interest to them in the 'Open Forum' part of the agenda. They might also be invited to comment on an agenda item where appropriate. If they have particular concerns that they would like to raise and have put on the agenda for discussion by the Parish Council as a whole, then they should contact a member of the council or the Parish Clerk.
If you are unable to attend a meeting, the minutes are public documents and will be available after the subsequent meeting once they have been agreed.
We also prepare a short note about its contents shortly after each meeting, for publication on the website and in the Home Watch.
Q. What if I have a problem with something the Parish Council is doing?
You could contact the Clerk if it is a matter of process and you are not sure how to go about it, or if you need to inform us about something that the Parish Council should discuss. If you have a complaint about a policy of the council you should contact the Chair of the council; if it relates to one of the committee's activities, then you can contact the spokesperson (S) for that committee, who is likely to know most about the issue. You can also contact any Parish Councillor.