Many thanks to all those Oscott residents ( and others?) who when I have spoken to them have given me their views on Parish Councils (or emailed me with them).
I think it is important that I know the views of Oscott residents before coming to my own.
There are too many people who do not seek out the views of their residents on this sort of subject but please be assured both Councillor Dring and I care about what you think in Oscott.
Birmingham City Councils explanation.
Parish councils are the most local level in our system of local government. Like the City Council they are made up of local people elected by residents at regular local elections. Their role is to represent and give a voice to the local community and work on ways to improve the local neighbourhood. If they wish they may provide a number of local services as well. Local councils have a right to comment on planning applications and they can develop a Neighbourhood Plan setting policies for the development of their area.
Parish councils are nothing to do with the parishes of the Church of England and these days they can be called “neighbourhood” or “community” councils as well. Very large parish councils serving a whole town are called Town Councils.
Parish councils can set a “precept” or small additional Council Tax to be paid by the local residents, but this is not compulsory and councils will consider the views of local residents and how they propose to spend the money before setting a precept.
They are more common in rural areas, but any area can have a parish council. In Birmingham there are just two parish councils: Sutton Coldfield Town Council and Frankley in Birmingham parish council.
Examples of parish councils elsewhere
Shropshire has adopted a structure of local government consisting of a county council performing all local government functions (a “unitary council”) and a number of large parish or town councils. The parish councils provide a number of services, such as parks and gardens, allotments, bus shelters, public conveniences, snow clearance, sports facilities, youth services and markets.
Milton Keynes has set up parish councils across the city and they provide a variety of services such as street wardens, youth work, environmental clean ups, allotments, events and leisure facilities.
Lichfield, near Birmingham has a City Council which provides allotments, parks and open spaces, community centres and markets.
Queens Park Community Council in London is the first parish council in the capital. It provides grants for a range of community projects and organisations.
Other examples of Neighbourhood Organisations
It might be that a Parish Council is not the governance vehicle that you would like to see in your neighbourhood.
However there are many other alternative set ups that you might want to look at, ranging from very informal groups, friends of parks, resident associations, local partnerships etc. through to more formal ones such as those detailed below:-
· Birmingham Neighbourhood Forums – a group of likeminded residents and other stakeholders in a defined neighbourhood. There are currently 25 active neighbourhood forums across the City and there are small grants available from the Council to support running costs.
· Community Development Trusts – are a particular type of local partnership organisation concerned with the regeneration of an area, not for private gain, aiming for long term sustainability and community based and accountable. There are a number of Community Development Trusts (CDT) in Birmingham – Moseley CDT, Soho First CDT and St Pauls CDT
· Community Land Trust – are a form of community led housing, set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets important to that community, like community enterprises, food growing or workspaces. CLTs have been growing across the country over the last few years. There has been recent interest in Birmingham and there are ones in other urban areas such as London, Bristol and Middlesbrough
· Development of a Neighbourhood Plan – are community –led plans for guiding the future development and regeneration of an area, which are prepared by a designated Neighbourhood Forums (as defined by Central Government) They can deal with a range of social, economic and environmental issues and need to be prepared in accordance with the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations. There is an approved Neighbourhood Plan in place in Balsall Heath and an emerging plan in Perry Barr (3Bs- Beeches, Booths and Barr)
It is important if you want your views to be counted.
To find out more about Birminghams devolution consultation https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/.../working.../...
You can still contact me to let me have your views.