What is a Parish Council?
Firstly, did you know that Parish Councils were established as a statutory local authority under Local Government Act in 1972? A Parish Council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the Parish, in this instance Bottisham Village. It is the level of Government closest to the community, with the district authority (East Cambridgeshire District Council) above it in the hierarchy.
At Bottisham Parish Council work in partnership with East Cambridgeshire District Council and our District Councillors, although we always maintain our independence from them and ‘fight our corner’ for you our residents if there are differences in our views and decisions.
As it is the authority closest to the people, Parish Councils are invariably the first place people will go with concerns or ideas. For this reason we want you to feel you can reach out to any one of our 12 Councillors in Bottisham.
What decisions do Parish Councils make?
Parish Councils make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community. Probably the most common topics that Parish Councils get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), crime prevention, helping local groups, managing open spaces and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities.
It’s true to say that on its own, the Parish Council has limited legal powers to make decisions, but it does have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the district and borough Councils, health authorities, police etc).
In this respect the Parish Council can be extremely effective. 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.
What powers do Parish Councils have?
They have a wide range of powers which essentially related to local matters, such as looking after community buildings, open spaces, allotments, recreational areas, street lighting, and much more. The Council also has the power to raise money through taxation via the Precept. The Precept is the Parish Council’s share of the Council tax. The Precept required goes to the billing authority, the district Council, who collect the tax for the Parish Council. If you are interested in reading about this further take a look at the List of Legal Powers and Duties.
What duties do the Parish Councillors have?
Bottisham Parish Council currently has 11 Councillors who stand for election every four years and we have one Clerk. The duties and functions of a Parish Council are many and varied.
The Council meets monthly and considers planning applications and any other matters referred to it by local residents and other bodies. We meet, generally on the first Monday of each month, to discuss local issues including supporting and encouraging ongoing community engagement initiatives, maintaining devolved assets at a local level and supporting the economic diversity and prosperity of our village. Notices of these meetings, along with details of the venue, are posted on our meetings page.
For more news about the activities of the Council and the village see the latest Bottisham magazine The Cresset
Can I attend meetings of the Council?
Yes. All meetings are open to the public. There is a forum before or during the meeting when members of the public can make representations, raise concerns and ask questions and if wanted give evidence in respect of any item of business included in the agenda. All meetings are advertised on this site. 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 Council, the clerk can bring them to the attention of the proper authority. We normally allow around 10 minutes but that is at the discretion of our Chairman, Jon Ogborn.
There is also an annual meeting which all Parishioners are invited to attend where the Chairman provides a report on CounciI activities during the preceding year.
Both our District and County Councillors attend some of our meetings and remain in close contact with us. As a body we hope to be an asset to you all by being approachable, supportive, diligent and wise in our judgements and actions.
Can I see minutes of Council meetings?
Yes. You can find out more about what has been discussed by reading the minutes of the meetings or alternatively, as stated above, as member of the public you are invited to come along to meetings of the Parish Council and its committees.
Can I speak at the Council meeting?
You are not able to speak whilst normal business (standing orders) is being conducted. However, if and when standing orders are suspended, the public are invited to address the Council on an issue that concerns them.
What involvement does the Parish Council have with planning applications?
Parish Councils are consulted by the relevant Planning Authority (which could either be the District/Borough Council or the County Council) on all planning applications. Any views expressed by the Parish Council will be taken into account by the planning Authority before a decision is made, providing the points made are relevant to the planning application. However, the final decision is made by the Planning Authority and not the Parish Council. Please see Planning for more information along with recent planning applications.
We are always keen and willing to hear your wishes and views and will do our best to keep Bottisham as a happy, friendly and caring community.
Bottisham Parish is part of East Cambridge District Council.