>> Role of the Council
Role of the Council
The role of the councillor is important because parish councils are
the closest tier of local government to the people and as such are in control of
many of the basic services that are taken for granted. A councillor must have extensive knowledge of
the requirements of the local residents, recognising the needs of the young and
the elderly in equal measure while taking into consideration the legal
boundaries in which they work. To be
eligible for election as a councillor a person must be over 18 years of age, a
British subject, and be an elector for the area. Also, during the whole 12 months before
nomination as a candidate he or she must have occupied land as a tenant or owner
in the parish (or within 3 miles of it) or have his or her principal or only
place of work within the parish.
The number of councillors making up
a parish council varies with the size of the parish – in Thorp Arch we have
five. They were elected in May 2011 to
serve for a period of four years and usually meet on the second Monday of each
month, except for the month of August, or when the second Monday coincides with
a bank holiday. Their work is entirely
voluntary; no councillor receives any payment for attending the meetings.
Councillors are entitled to be reimbursed for expenditure incurred on Council
business according to scales laid down by Leeds City Council. In Thorp Arch,
Parish councillors have no party political affiliations.
present system local councillors have only limited control over how
parishioners’ council tax money is spent. Their role is largely an advisory one in which
they are consulted by and report to the Leeds Unitary Authority on local
issues and corrective action is needed on any matters concerning the economic,
social and environmental well-being of village residents.
Over the last two years the council has spent much of its time dealing with the TATE proposal and has submitted a number of objections. The work is ongoing and many of the councillors attend Development Plans Panel meetings and other related meetings held by Leeds City Council.
Other matters requiring action every month tend to
be planning applications and problems associated with highways, (namely road and
pavement surfaces, overgrown hedges, trees and verges, defective road signs and
street lighting), plus traffic problems of parking or speeding. Every planning
application is passed to the Parish Council for comment. With local knowledge,
councillors are able to make meaningful suggestions that may not have been
apparent to Leeds City Council planners. In addition, the Council has developed
a Village Design Statement which sets out a blueprint for the way development
should take place in the parish. This Design statement has been adopted by
Leeds City Council as Supplementary Design Guidance.
requiring frequent attention are litter or other forms of environmental
pollution, refuse, drainage systems and safety. The Parish Council owns and
manages the Village Greens.
Apart from attending the monthly meetings
most councillors accept additional specific responsibilities requiring them to
attend other meetings often outside the parish. These tasks cover issues such as neighbourhood planning, crime prevention, environmental protection, special village projects, and
liaison with Leeds City Council and with other
The council meets in All Saints' Church and the detailed agenda for
each meeting is displayed on the Parish Council notice board (on the Upper Green) for about six days before the start of
the meeting, and on this website. See 'Meeting Dates, Agenda's and Minutes.'
The Parish Council does receive an income which is collected by
Leeds City Council as part of the Council Tax which it controls
directly. This covers essential administrative costs, management of
the greens and in addition allows the council to donate modest sums to worthy
causes that it considers to be beneficial to the village community. Typical
examples have been donations for the "Causeway" magazine, contributions towards
crime prevention equipment in the parish and donations to the parish