A parish council is the smallest and most localised tier of local government in the UK and is a properly constituted local authority.
Parish Councils provide a focus for local activity in their communities, encouraging local people to make their views known, particularly on issues about maintaining and improving the character of the local area. The Parish Council has legal responsibilities as an employer and the Parish Clerk acts as the Responsible Financial Officer and administrator and advises the Parish Council on lawful decision making and implementation.
St Martins Parish Council comprises of fifteen councillors who serve a four year term. Full Council meetings are held monthly on the second Thursday of each month, except in August when there is no meeting. In addition there is an Annual Meeting of the Parish Council held in May where the election of the Chairman is the first business and the Annual Parish Meeting held in April when electors of the parish can contribute to the agenda and in practice often celebrate local activities and debate current issues in the community.
The dates of meetings for the coming year are shown on the Meetings, Agendas & Minutes page. Agendas are posted on the notice boards around the parish and on the website at least three days before each meeting and the venue is the Community Centre in St Martins except for the September meeting which is held at The Moors.
The public are invited and welcome to attend the meetings. There is a period set aside before the formal start of the meeting for members of the public to raise any concerns or ask questions.
The council also has the power to raise money through taxation, the precept. The precept is the Parish Council’s share of the council tax. The precept demand goes to the billing authority, Shropshire Council, which collects the tax for the Parish Council.
St Martins Parish Council make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community. Probably the most common topics that Parish Councils get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), crime prevention, managing open spaces and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities. To comply with those regulations the council collectively conducts its business in accordance with a document agreed by the council from time to time known as Standing Orders. Individually, members must also conduct themselves in accordance with an agreed Code of Conduct.
It’s true to say that on their own, the Parish Council has limited powers to make decisions but they do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organizations that do make the final decisions such as other tiers of local government, health authorities, police etc. Please click here to see a List of Parish Council Powers.