Shipton under Wychwood Parish Council
Come and join us
Your Parish Council is always looking for new members either to fill vacancies as they arise from time to time and also for the full election of all seven Councillors in May. This note is a brief guide to what we do and the time and commitment involved. All our existing Councillors are listed on the village website with their contact details; they would be delighted to hear from you for an informal chat. You can also look at our past agenda and minutes or sit in on a meeting to get a fuller flavour of our activities.
What does a Parish Council do?
Parish Councils have their origins in Saxon times with village meetings making decisions that affected the whole community. In the past two centuries there have been more that 25 Acts of Parliament conferring various powers on Parish Councils . Overall we have more powers- things we may do and few duties- things we must do.
Shipton Parish Council?
We represent around 1200 local people and have an annual income of over £30,000 derived mainly from the ‘precept’ which is collected with the Council tax. Like other Councils, we maintain the Green, the recreation ground, almost 200 trees and all the green space including the churchyard; we support the Volunteers and make grants to local causes. We have funded and built the play ground and maintain it; we manage and develop the allotments. We receive over 30 planning applications annually and comment in detail to the District Council who are the planning authority, supporting or objecting to new applications. We liaise with the County Council over roads and transport, with the Police over crime and public safety and with a wide variety of other bodies whose activities impact on our village. So our activities fall under three headings:-
–We decide how our money should best and most economically be spent in the interests of the village as a whole.
— We influence the decisions and activities of other bodies who may affect our lives through planning, policing, road safety, winter and other emergencies and so on.
–We act as the focal point for village concerns , we get involved and we strive to make things better.
How do we work?
We meet monthly throughout the year. Individual Councillors take a lead in various subject areas and follow these up on behalf of the Council. We issue a newsletter three times a year and have a website to keep everyone up to date. There is public time at the monthly meeting for residents to set out their concerns on particular topics.
What would be my time commitment?
In addition to the monthly meetings and time needed to prepare for them, you should probably expect about two or three hours a week.
Do I need special qualifications?
The main qualifications are enthusiasm, commitment and a genuine desire to make Shipton a better place. It helps if you are a ‘people person’ who enjoys meeting and talking to local people. You should also not be shy of dealing firmly with outside bodies to represent local interests and of putting your views clearly. It would be useful if you can see the wood from the trees in the paper that comes our way and you will need a home computer for emails and other documents as that is how most public service work is now done. You will need to pick up the language of relevant law and finance but at a basic level and with full support. There are a few basic qualifications relating to nationality and residence.
What do you think I would get out of this?
Councillors are obviously unpaid. The activities are sometimes tedious like any role, people will expect you do things well beyond the Councils responsibilities, and thanks are the exception not the rule. But there is satisfaction in knowing for example that you have helped with a sensitive planning application, that road safety is better monitored, that the historic fabric of the village is protected for future generations and that local people trust you to be their voice and represent them as best you can.
So why not take the next step and come and talk about joining us?