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Stoke Poges Parish Council

About the Parish Council

Stoke Poges Parish Council is made up of 11 councillors, elected every four years.


There are monthly meetings, which are open to the public, with time allowed for public questions and comment.  A variety of parish issues are discussed but there is also much that is done outside the meetings.

The responsibilities of the Parish Council include planning issues (although it can only comment and raise objections as it has no power to take decisions on planning matters); maintaining open spaces within the village; public footpaths; litter; bus shelters and benches.

The council also works closely with Buckinghamshire Council with regard to traffic management, road safety and highway maintenance and the police with regard to neighbourhood policing.

Remember, you can discuss problems or comment on village issues by:


Committees and members

Full Council

  • Chairman of Council: Cllr Carter
  • Vice Chairman: Cllr Crocker

Planning Committee

  • Cllr Carter
  • Cllr Crocker
  • Cllr Bassi
  • Cllr Finan
  • Mr Harris
  • Mr Wilson

Recreation and Environment Committee

  • Cllr Carter
  • Cllr Crocker
  • Cllr Bagge
  • Cllr Bassi
  • Cllr Cox
  • Cllr Webster

Finance and General Purposes Committee

  • Cllr Crocker
  • Cllr Knox-Scott
  • Cllr Bagge
  • Cllr Carter
  • Cllr Finan
  • Cllr Moore

What does Stoke Poges Parish Council do?

Our councillors are not politically affiliated to a party, and are all volunteers that give their time to the things listed below. The councillors endeavour to listen and are tasked with making lawful decisions on how to spend the precept for the good of the village.

  • We have a responsibility to manage our two recreational areas to ensure there is adequate equipment and that it is maintained and looked after.
  • We provide allotments that are managed.
  • We have a community pavilion which ensures that our uniformed groups, football team and other community projects have a space to use.
  • We look after our village green and look at ways to enhance the area including the flowers on the railings and hanging baskets, plus the war memorial.
  • We have installed benches at various locations.
  • We decide on events and services which contribute to community cohesion, for example the Carols on the Green, jubilee events and similar.
  • We exercise our responsibility and have a consultative role on behalf of local people on planning applications.
  • We have provided Mobile Vehicle Activated Signs which we regularly move around the village to encourage speeding traffic to slow down.
  • We have provided equipment for our Community Speedwatch team so they can monitor speeding traffic and share this information with Thames Valley Police.
  • We provide and maintain bus shelters.
  • We organise regular litter picks.
  • We originally set up The Good Neighbour Scheme.
  • We work collaboratively with other services to start up and support the Village Store Cupboard (during lockdown) and, since lockdown, The Friday Club.
  • We installed the walking path in Bells Hill Recreation Ground.
  • We are putting together a neighbourhood plan to help steer what future development might look like to ensure a balanced demographic moving forward.
  • We produce Stoke Poges News. This quarterly magazine is hand-delivered to all households in the parish to ensure that information is readily available and to keep villagers fully-informed. We also communicate via our village noticeboards, social media and our website, which is regularly updated with announcements and details of Parish Council meetings.

History of parish councils

Parish councils are relatively recent.  Until 1894 the affairs of the parish were administered by vestry meetings held monthly in the church after Sunday morning service.  Originally they were responsible for the appointment of the village constable, the repair of the roads, the welfare of the poor, and the church.

After several legislative changes the Local Government Act of 1894 introduced parish councils which have remained largely the same since that time.  The aim was to give everyone who paid domestic rates a voice in the election of parish councillors and benefit from the decisions taken.

Whilst the parish council looked after the civil side of the parish affairs the ecclesiastical matters were handled by the parochial church council.


Constitution

Parish councils are statutory bodies. Members are elected for a term of four years (but there may sometimes be one or two who are co-opted to fill casual vacancies) and councils are funded principally by an annual precept.

A parish council is a body corporate, which means that all decisions are made jointly by the full council. The chairman has no more authority than any other councillor (he/she is elected by the members at the first meeting each year) except having an additional vote to be used when voting is tied.

Income and expenditure for the each financial year are calculated in the form of estimates. The net amount (the precept) is added to council tax, collected by the district council (principal authority) and paid to parishes in two six-monthly instalments. Every Council Tax address makes a payment towards the precept according to its Council Tax band.

Parish and town councils can apply for other funding such as grant and funding awards, but they do not receive funds direct from central government, as principal authorities (i.e. District and County) do.

The Parish Council, also, has a role in consultation with Buckinghamshire Council in certain areas and the opportunity to influence those bodies for the benefit of the parish.

All councillors are obliged to follow the Council Code of Conduct and the Parish Council follows a set of rules, known as Standing Orders, laid down ultimately by central Government.

The Parish Council has a responsibility to consider the interests and needs of local residents, and to ensure that we are going forward in line with the views of the local community to the benefit of the Parish.

To achieve all of this we need your interest and involvement. Members of the public are free to attend all meetings of the Parish Council, except for items of business where it would be against the public interest to discuss in public, in which case the Council must pass a resolution stating why the public are to be excluded. All meeting agendas are posted on the parish notice boards at least three clear days before the meeting, not including the day of issue and the day of the meeting.

It is customary for the public to have the opportunity to raise issues or ask questions in a short session at the beginning of each meeting. Once the public session is concluded, the public may observe and speak only at the chairman’s discretion.


Parish council procedures

Parish councils must:

  • Appoint a Chairman responsible for the smooth running of meetings and for ensuring that all council decisions are lawful.
  • Appoint a Clerk as the Parish Council’s advisor and administrator.
  • Appoint a Responsible Financial Officer to manage the finances in a sound and professional manner. The RFO is often the Clerk.
  • Appoint an independent and competent Internal Auditor.
  • Comply with Employment Law, including equal opportunities and disability legislation, and the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts.
  • Hold a minimum of four meetings a year, one of which must be the Annual Meeting. In practice Stoke Poges Parish Council meets monthly, except August.

Parish Council elections are held every four years. Parish Councils have the power to co-opt members if there are insufficient candidates to fill all places.