About Parish Councils

What is a Parish Council

A Parish Council is the first tier of local government and the closest to the community it serves.

Its councillors are elected for four years at a time and an election is only held if there are more people wanting to be Parish Councillors than there are vacancies available. Vacancies occurring between elections are filled by bye-election (if requested) or co-option.

Each year the councillors choose a Chairman from amongst their number. There may also be a Vice-Chairman and there is a paid Parish Clerk, who is the Proper Officer and the Responsible Financial Officer of the council.

A Parish Council must hold an annual meeting during May and at least three other meetings during the year. The Parish Clerk must publish details of the meetings in advance, and members of the public are welcome to attend the meetings.

What does a Parish Council do?

Parish Councils have a number of formal duties – things they must do, and a range of powers – things they can choose to do.

The duties are mainly procedural and financial, including the right to raise money by precept. The precept forms a very small part of the local Council Tax. Parish Councils use the precept to help maintain and improve local services and facilities.

Parish Councils must provide a set of accounts at the end of each financial year, audited by an internal and an external auditor.

The range of services provided by Parish Councils varies enormously. Many provide allotments, look after playing fields, play areas and village greens. They maintain and look after public rights of way, bus shelters, public seats, small scale street lighting, and often provide village halls and meeting places. The Parish Council can do these things itself, or by financially helping someone else (such as a charity or volunteer group) to do them. Parish Councils have the power to improve the quality of community life by spending money on things which, in their opinion, are in the interests of the parish or its inhabitants.

Parish Councils are also the focal point for local consultation on matters such as planning applications, Borough Council strategic planning, schools and roads. On all these issues the Parish Councillors represent the parish’s views to other authorities such as District and County Councils.

What your Parish Council does

Your Parish Council owns some areas of land in the parish and has a monthly maintenance schedule for the war memorial site and the Ecchinswell village pond area, to keep those public areas tidy and in an attractive condition. It maintains the Digweeds site as a resource for residents. It also owns the land at the Ecchinswell playing fields, which is leased to the Ecchinswell Village Hall charity to look after. The Parish Council provides them with a grant towards the cost of grass cutting and also provides a grant towards the cost of grass cutting at the old churchyard in Ecchinswell.

It has arranged for trees to be planted at Digweeds to help develop the character of the area, and has obtained grants to renovate the wall round the old churchyard at Ecchinswell, and to clean and renovate the parish war memorial.

It employs two part-time Litter Wardens, who do a great job in helping to keep the parish tidy and free from rubbish.

It also provides allotments for renting at Oakfields Close, Ecchinswell.

Much of the Parish Council’s time is spent on planning issues. Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and West Berkshire District Council consult it on any planning applications that might have an impact on the parish.

Who are we?

The Parish has councillors elected by the residents every four years. For more information on your councillors please click here.

When we meet? 

For more details on the dates, times and venue of Parish Council meetings, please click here.