What is a Parish Council?
The role of the Parish Council is to improve the quality of community life for the Parish and its inhabitants. The Parish Council can give views on behalf of its parishioners on planning applications and other proposals that affect the parish, undertake projects and schemes that benefit local residents and work in partnership with other bodies to achieve benefits for the parish. The Parish Council can also alert relevant authorities to problems that arise or work that needs to be undertaken.
A parish council is the lowest or first tier of local government; unusually, in Herefordshire, there are only two tiers, the second of which is Herefordshire Council.
Shobdon Parish Council has seven members and their term of office is four years. If more than seven parishioners put their names forward at an election, there must be a poll. If fewer than seven names are put forward, the members have the power to co-opt any person to fill the vacancy. Parish councillors are entirely voluntary and unpaid. However, the Parish Council appoints a paid clerk, whose duties include advising the council, dealing with correspondence and looking after the finances, setting and publishing the agenda and providing minutes.
The Chair of the Parish Council is elected annually at the Annual Parish Council Meeting; also appointed is a vice-chairman.
Powers and Duties
Parish councils have the power to precept (tax) their residents to pay for what they do and to carry out local projects. There is no limit to the amount that can be precepted, but money can only be raised for a limited number of purposes, as laid down by law. By looking at minutes , attending meetings or asking questions, any parishioner will soon understand what the Parish Council can or cannot do.
Residents are welcome to attend parish council meetings, and time is always allowed at the start of a meeting for members of the public to raise issues.
Budget and Finance
The Parish Council approves an annual budget, which includes money for village maintenance, footpath improvements, lengthsman, clerk salary and funding for longer term projects. The budget includes an annual precept – which is the money that is collected from residents via their council tax bill. Information on the council budget, finances and financial regulations can be found on the finances page of this site.
What are we responsible for?
Shobdon Parish Council owns and maintains a diverse range of assets around the village which includes the Village War Memorial and Cider Mill and press at Hanbury Green, the playground at Bar Meadow, the Multi Use Games Area at Bateman Close and the Grove field.
The Parish Council employs a lengthsman to undertake minor work around the parish – such as clearing of gullies, emptying of parish council bins, clearing of the bus shelter and clearing of paths.
The Parish Council includes a Footpaths Officer who works with local landowners to maintain footpaths and make improvements to increase accessibility (by replacing stiles with gates) on the parish footpaths. The Parish Council allocates a budget each year to support this work.
Parish Council Projects
In the past few years, the Parish Council has completed numerous projects in the parish including:
- relocation, repair and rededication of the War Memorial;
- redevelopment of the Bar Meadow playground;
- development of a parish cycle path/safer route to school;
- development and approval of a Neighbourhood Development Plan;
- funding of the upgrade of the pedestrian crossing to a signalised crossing.
The Parish Council is currently working on:
- the development of a footpath bridge by the Bateman Arms to provide safe pedestrian access -the existing pavement is dangerously narrow;
- an adopt a tree scheme, and further planting of trees and wildflowers in the field between the Grove and Bateman Close .