A Parish Council is a body of eligible volunteer Councillors with a Chairman and Vice Chairman. The number of Councillors is fixed at 12 by the district council (Chorley Council).The Council as a corporate body
A Parish Council, originally created under a Government Act of 1894, is an elected body corporate made up of a minimum of 5 Councillors including an annually elected Chairman.
An election is held every four years and qualified persons nominate themselves for office. If an election is held, the council will be voted in to serve the electorate of that parish (explained in more detail below). If during the four year period there is a vacancy due to a resignation or other reason, following the advertisement of the vacancy by the Borough Council the Parish Council is permitted to co-opt someone to fill the vacancy.
The Council has the power to appoint a Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer to carry out its work and decisions.
Meetings are held in public and publicised to residents. A Parish Council has powers to exclude press and public from meetings for certain private matters and should hold at least 3 meetings plus an Annual meeting per year.
The council is able to carry out functions under powers in many different statutory acts. It has the power to precept and spend an amount on items it sees as a benefit to the area or inhabitants, sometimes referred to as the free resource. It can consider matters on which it has powers to act for the benefit and within the interests of its electorate but has a responsibility for sound financial management.
The whole Council is subject to an election every 4 years approx (the next election being May 2019).
The Council is a body and is distinct from its members (either as individuals or collectively) and its acts, assets and liabilities are its own and not those of its members.
Councillors are volunteers and as such receive no payment.
The Parish Council obtains its funding from what is known as the precept. This comes from the local element of residents council tax collected by the Borough Council was approx £26.33 for a band D property 2016-2017.
Freedom of Information Act
Eccleston Parish Council is a public authority listed in Part II of Schedule 1 of this Act and is subject to Section 19 (adoption and maintenance of a publication scheme approved by the Information Commissioner). Eccleston Parish Council adopted this scheme in 2004 and the revised version, in 10 December 2008.
Councillors give their time freely to attend meetings. There are 12 monthly council meetings.
Other meetings – besides the full Council meetings there may be committee, sub-committee or working group meetings. There is one annual meeting called the Annual Parish Meeting, which NOT a council meeting , but a public meeting for parishioners and must be held between 1 March and 1 June.
The Parish Council depends on its members being able to make time to attend the meetings and the Local Government Act 1972 specifies the number of consecutive meetings a Councillor may miss before automatically ceasing to be a member of the Council.
Clerk to the Council
The business of the Council is managed by the Clerk (an employee of the Council). The Clerk is not a Councillor and does not make decisions for the Council but does advise of developments, law, requirements etc. The Clerk manages the Council business such as the financial matters, employee supervision, minutes, meeting arrangements, paperwork, agendas, noticeboards, continuous projects, council assets, emergency repairs etc.
The Parish Council is responsible for the amenities it provides such as its own seats, noticeboards, open spaces etc. Responsibility for other items such as highways, footpaths, and street lighting lies with the County Council, and refuse and recycling collection, street cleansing, litter bins etc lies with the Borough Council.
The Parish Council has input into matters which effect the village such as planning applications, which are controlled by Chorley Borough Council but which are copied to the Parish for comment/recommendation/suggestion/objection etc.
The Parish Council is non-political. It is solely involved in issues, items and developments for the village’s benefit and assistance.
All decisions are decided by vote. Each Councillor has one vote with the Chairman of the Council having one vote, but also an additional casting vote, if it is required.
The Parish Council is consulted on planning applications in the village. It receives copies of plans and drawings for the larger applications and can request the same for the smaller applications.
The consultation period for a Parish Council is 21 days from the applications’ publication date. When the weekly list is received the Clerk extracts the relevant local applications and communicates these to Councillors.
Chorley Council weekly planning lists can seen or printed from their website, use the link below, or you can inspect plans at the Council Offices, telephone 01257 515151.
Click on ‘Planning Online’ and then ‘Weekly Planning Lists’