- Our Home Page gives a brief overview of the work of the Parish Council.Wisbech St Mary Parish Council is a civil local authority in England and is the lowest tier of local government. We are an elected corporate body, having limited tax raising powers, and are responsible for the area known as the civil parish of Wisbech St Mary serving around 3,800 residents. The next tier up is Fenland District Council followed by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Powers to provide facilities:
As a Parish Council we have powers to provide some facilities themselves, or they can contribute towards their provision by others. We provide various services such as:
- Support and encouragement of various Community activities, clubs and facilities
- Support in the maintenance of recreation grounds, children’s play areas and playing fields
- Maintenance of closed churchyards
- Cleaning and drainage of village ponds
- Control of litter by provision of litter bins
- Provision of cycle and motorcycle parking
- Maintenance of parish owned footpaths
- Provision and maintenance of bus shelters
- Maintenance of war memorials
- Erect and maintain street lights owned by the Parish
- The administration of the Parish Council is managed by the Parish Clerk, who is a paid employee acting in a combined statutory role as secretary and treasurer of the council. Our Clerk, Mrs Sarah Bligh is part time and is responsible to the elected Chairman.
The necessary financial monitoring and reporting are the clerk’s responsibility, and in this role the clerk is known as the “Responsible Financial Officer” (RFO) of the Council. The clerk is also the “Proper Officer” of the Council. They “enact” (cause to happen) the decisions of the Council, and they receive official correspondence and issue correspondence on the instructions of the Council.
Elections and Membership
The term of office of a Parish Councillor is four years. Legislation provides that the number of elected members of a parish council shall not be less than five.
The timing of the election cycle is usually linked to that of the election of a district councillor for the District Ward (Fenland) containing the Parish.
A candidate for Councillor must be at least one of the following:
- A UK or Commonwealth citizen
- Citizen of the Republic of Ireland
- Citizen of another member state of the European Union
- and candidates must state on their consent for nomination form their qualification for election, which must be at least one of the following:
- they are an elector of the Parish
- during the whole of the last 12 months they have occupied, either as owner or tenant, land or other premises in the Parish.
- they live within 3 miles of the Parish boundary.
If a vacancy occurs during the term of a Parish Council, it may be filled by either election or co-option. Elections only occur if, following the advertisement of the vacancy for 14 days, 10 electors send a written request to the returning officer. If no request is received, the parish council will be required to fill the vacancies by co-option.
Public Participation by the Public at Parish Council Meetings:
Meetings of the Parish Council are not public meetings but members of the public have a statutory right to attend meetings of the council as Observers. They have no legal right to speak unless the Parish Council Chairman authorises them to do so. However, as part of its community engagement, the Parish Council sets out a time for public participation at the start of the Council Meeting where an agreed time limited to 5 minutes is available for members of the public to speak. Members of the public cannot be involved in the decision-making of the Council. Members of the public may be excluded by a resolution of the meeting for specific items which need to be discussed in confidence (e.g. staffing matters, tenders for contracts, some legal issues).
So ever thought of becoming a Parish Councillor yourself?