New Forest District Council
Elections for all district and parish/town councillors in the New Forest District Council's area will take place on Thursday 5 May 2011. It is likely that these elections will be combined with a referendum on the system of voting at Parliamentary elections.
Polling stations will be open from 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.
A total of 60 District Councillors, representing 34 District Council wards, and 342 parish and town councillors, representing all of the 37 parish and town councils in the District, are to be chosen.
Hyde Parish falls within Forest North West District and our parish council comprises 7 members.
All of the district councillors and parish/town councillors will formally retire in May and, even if they are willing to continue to serve, they have to put themselves forward for re-election. The closing date for nominations for anyone wishing to stand for election is noon on Monday 4 April 2011. If you are interested in standing for the District Council and would like some information, visit the District Council's website. You can also contact the District's Electoral Services on (023) 8028 5445. If you would like information about standing for the Parish Council please contact Margaret Matthews, clerk, or any of the current councillors.
If you are unable to get to a polling station on 5 May or would find it more convenient to vote by post, you can apply for a postal vote. You may also appoint someone (a "proxy") to vote on your behalf. Forms are available to download from the District Council's website, from any of the District Council's Information Offices or by telephoning Electoral Services. The deadline for applying for postal votes is 5 p.m. on Thursday 14th April, and proxy votes 5 p.m. on Monday 25 April, but please apply as early as possible if you would like one.
The next full Council elections will not be until 2015, so don't miss this opportunity to have a say in who represents you over the next four years.
New Forest District Council's website: www.newforest.gov.uk
New Forest District Council's Electoral Services: Tel: (023) 8028 5445, E-mail: email@example.com
Hyde PC clerk (Margaret Matthews): Tel: 01425 656179, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
HYDE PARISH COUNCIL
LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS MAY 2011.
Do you think you might like to become a member of Hyde Parish Council? If so, here is some information to help you make up your mind.
1. What is a Parish Council?
The parish council is the smallest unit of local government. It dates from the 16th century. Although originally based on the area served by one church, there is now no direct link between the Church and the Parish Council. At present, central government appears to support the idea of retaining parish councils, and even, with the localism bill, to wish to enhance their powers.
2. What does the Parish Council do?
Councillors aim to serve the residents of the parish at this level of local government. A parish council has few actual powers and achieves its ends by liaising, persuading and acting as a channel of communication between residents and the District and County Councils and, in our case, the National Park Authority. Parish Councils are frequently consulted about local and national developments. The Council raises income by means of a "precept" (an element of the Community Charge). Councillors make grants and other payments to local organisations whose activities benefit residents.
3. Who are Hyde parish councillors?
The number of councillors for a parish depends on the size of the parish - Hyde has 7. Currently they are Jane Arigho, Jean Crawford, John Davey, Bill Dow, Maggie McKenzie, Ann Sevier, and Brian Waldman. There is a happy mixture of those who have lived in the parish all their lives and those who have come to live here much more recently. All the current members come to the end of their term of office in May and have to stand again if they wish to serve for a further 4 years. It is likely that most of them will stand again but there will be at least one resignation. The clerk is appointed by the council and is responsible for administration, finance, advising councillors and carrying out their wishes.
4. Are councillors paid?
No. Councillors are not paid, although they can claim expenses for representing the council at meetings outside the parish. The clerk receives a salary based on a nationally agreed scale.
5. How often does the Parish Council meet?
Meetings generally take place every second Wednesday, usually from 7.30 to about 10pm. There is also an Annual Parish Meeting open to all residents which is held in May and occasionally other meetings may be held for specific purposes.
6. What form do the meetings take?
There are almost always planning applications to be considered. The Council is consulted on these, although the National Park Authority is the planning authority for much of our parish with the New Forest District Council having responsibility for the small area alongside the A338 outside the National Park. Other regular agenda items include matters concerning the roads and the commons as well as correspondence, finance, reports from representatives and other matters of topical interest to the parish. There is also generally at least one item connected to the implementation of the Parish Plan which was completed in 2005 - we were the first parish in the New Forest to complete our Parish Plan. If you do not have a copy and would like one, please contact the clerk.
7. What responsibilities do individual councillors have?
Each councillor has a specific area of responsibility e.g. the Commons, transport, or representing the parish council on a number of local bodies All councillors normally share in the delivery of Newsletters 4 times a year and become involved in other matters as they arise.
8. Code of Conduct.
A code of conduct for all tiers of local government including parish councils was introduced in 2002. It was controversial and received wide coverage in the press. Briefly, it requires all councillors to declare and register their financial and other interests, including employment or business and interests in land or property in the area of the parish council. Although councillors felt that the code was unnecessarily intrusive for small councils with very limited funds at their disposal, all councillors decided to sign up to the code in order to continue to be able to serve the parish. If you would like to see a copy of the document which you would have to sign up to, please contact the clerk. It seems likely that the current government will simplify and reduce this requirement but details are not available yet.
9. What are the qualifications required for being a councillor?
Prospective candidates must be at least 21 years old, on the list of electors of the parish or occupy land in the parish as an owner or tenant, or have a principal place of work here or have resided in or within three miles of the parish for twelve months.
You need to have the interests of the parish at heart and be willing to give time as indicated above. Parish councillors are not elected on party political lines. Training is given to new councillors.
10. When do the elections take place?
Every four years by secret ballot. If only the number of candidates for which there are places come forward they are all considered elected without the need for a ballot. If a casual vacancy occurs during the four-year term of office the usual practice is to co-opt a new member although all parishioners have the right to request a ballot.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like further details. For how to apply to be a candidate see the sheet on this web-site entitled NEW FOREST DISTRICT COUNCIL; LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS 5 MAY 2011 or look on the District Council web-site: www.newforest.gov.uk
Margaret Matthews. Tel. 01425 656179
Clerk, Hyde Parish Council.