The Role Of A Parish Councillor in Totternhoe
The Parish Council consists of 9 Councillors, from which a Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected each year at the statutory meeting in May; the remainder are elected to sit on various Committees as stated below.
The Council meets every 3rd Tuesday evening of the month at the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm for the months of Jan to Nov and 2nd Tuesday in Dec with no meeting in August, these are Public Meetings, which anybody can attend to listen or raise any matter on Parish business.
Recreation Grounds – 2 Councillors, with one as the Leader; currently Cllr, P Morgan and member Cllr, D Bodnar
The main responsibilities are to ensure the 3 Recreation grounds are OK on a monthly basis and the play equipment has not been damaged, check out the yearly ROSPA Report, this is a Health and Safety requirement done by this organisation who check that the equipment and surrounding surface area is up to standard, we have to pay for this service.
Planning Applications – 3 Councillors, with one as the Leader; currently Cllr. J Mustoe supported by Cllr. M Mustoe & Cllr. T Linney
When a person or business in the Parish puts in a Planning Application to Central Bedfordshire Council for anything which affects the property or buildings in the village then the Leader will receive direct from Central Beds a copy of the Plans and Application. The Committee’s role is to look at the Plans and comment as to whether they are acceptable or not, like does an extension fit with the current style of the property, are they going to use bricks and tiles that match with the property and are similar to the other properties close by, there are other aspects as well which are taken account of, they have to respond to Central Beds within 21days, All their decisions are brought before the Parish Council monthly meeting for ratification or other wise.
Rights of Way – 2 Councillor, with one as the Leader; currently Cllr Linney and member Cllr. J Pratt
This is mainly to liase with the Rights of Way Officer (South) of Central Beds Council on footpaths, bridleways and BOATS (Byways open to all traffic) Normally this Councillor has a good knowledge of all the footpaths, bridleways and BOATS around the parish.
Allotment Warden – 1 Councillor, Currently Cllr D Bodner
To look after the allocation of Allotments sites in the village including land we rent out for horse or animal grazing, they attend the yearly Rent collection evening in October to assist the Parish Clerk who collects the fees. Making sure the Allotment site layout and allocation plans are up to date.
There is the need to walk around the sites regularly to ensure all is OK.
Highways Liaison – 2 Councillor, with one as the Leader; currently Cllr. Tasker and member Cllr. V Kelly
Making a case to Central Beds Highways dept for work to be carried out on roads and footpaths in the village including the cutting of hedges etc. Having a 6 monthly meeting with the local area technician to walk the village to point out and agree work that needs doing subject to funding being available in the Highways Budget. Making and up dating the 5 year plan for Central Beds so that they can budget for the work if agreed.
Best Kept Front Garden – 1 Councillor, currently Cllr. M Mustoe
This role is to organise an event once a year which looks at the gardens and allotments around the village.
With have a paid Parish Clerk who has a contract to work a set number of hours a month, all roles of the Parish Councillor are done on a voluntary basis however certain expenses incur such as attending Central Beds Council Town and Parish Meetings at Chicksands would be reimbursed.
At the monthly Parish Council meeting the elected Central Beds Council Councillor for the ward will be in attendance to report on matters which could effect the village and keep us up to date on matters relating to Central Beds Council.
On occasions the local Police Officer or PCSO attends and gives a crime report and other related matters, however this is changing and we have to obtain the information for the Bedfordshire Police website. We sometimes invite an Officer from Central Beds Council to talk and explain to us about certain aspects that we are currently dealing with and we need more information.
There is a Budget meeting in January in which we set the village budget (Precept as shown on the Council Tax bill) of expenditure against the items, which the Parish Council control.
There is not a lot of work for a Councillor on a day to day basis, sometimes it could be a couple of hours a week or even a month, it depends on what is going on and what Committee they are on.
At the end of the day it is all about doing something for the village and working with Central Beds Council to get the best for our village.