The Parish Council is the first level of local government. It provides our village community with a democratic voice and a structure for taking community action. The Parish Council makes decisions on issues that affect the local community. The most common topics are planning matters (for which they are statutory consultees), crime prevention, and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities. It manages our playing field and Village Hall.
On their own, Parish Councils have limited powers. But they do have the ability to influence those other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the District Council, health authorities and police etc).
In this respect Parish Councils are extremely influential. The organisations that make the final decisions know that a Parish Council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something, and its views will be taken seriously.
The Parish Council also has the power to raise money through taxation, the precept. The precept is the Parish Council’s share of the Council Tax. The precept demand goes to the billing authority, the District Council, which collects the tax for the Parish Council.
Abbots Leigh Parish Council has five Councillors who stand for election every four years. They meet regularly (normally monthly) to discuss and make decisions on matters of local concern (e.g. recent planning applications, local traffic issues, communications, etc.) Meetings are generally open to the public and before the start of each meeting, there is a brief opportunity for members of the public to address the Council on matters on the agenda or to raise other concerns that they may have.
Once a year there is an Annual Parish Meeting, to which all parishioners are invited and which offers an annual opportunity to review the progress of the Council and other interest groups within the village. All meetings are advertised here and on the Parish Council notice boards. Residents can bring to the attention of the Parish Council anything that concerns them, either directly or though the Clerk. If matters raised are not the responsibility of the Parish Council, the Clerk can bring them to the attention of the proper authority.
Abbots Leigh Parish Council has direct responsibility for the Village Hall, street lighting on the side roads (not the A369), the green area outside the church, the Old School Field and the old quarry at the end of Home Farm Road. It also employs a Village Orderly who keeps specific areas of the village tidy.