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STANDING FOR ELECTION TO SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL IN 2011

INTRODUCTION

In 2011, Sedlescombe's existing parish councillors will be eligible for re-election. In addition, anyone who meets the rules of eligibility can stand. Sedlescombe has nine parish councillors.

 

FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS

1. What is a parish council? There are over 8,700 parish and town councils representing around 16 million people across England. They form the most local level of government and cover many rural and, increasingly, urban areas. A parish council is a statutory local authority which represents an area known as a parish. Parishes vary in size and parish councils have a varying number of councillors.

 

2. Where does Sedlescombe Parish Council fit in to the wider local picture? Sedlescombe is one of the three tiers of statutory local authority in this area, the others being Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council. Sedlescombe is part of the Rother District where there are 29 parish councils, 2 town councils and one parish meeting. Sedlescombe is situated in the centre of the Rother District (shown "SED" below).

 

Parishes

 

Sedlescombe Parish Council was established in 1894 and has met regularly since then to make decisions under legal powers granted to it by Acts of Parliament. Neither the District Council nor the County Council have any powers over the parish councils.

 

2. What's the difference between a parish council and a town council? Not a great deal. They both have the same powers and can provide the same services. The only difference is that a town council has decided that it should be known as a town council instead of a parish council and has a mayor. In Rother, Battle and Rye are the only town councils.

 

3. What services does Sedlescombe Parish Council provide? Further details can be found on the www.sedlescombe.org.uk. See "Parish Council Publication Scheme" on the left hand column. The Parish Council's responsibilities centre on its land and property ownership as follows:

  1. Freehold Ownership of East View Terrace Kickabout Area including two football/basket units.
  2. Freehold Ownership of Red Barn Field Nature Park including street furniture.
  3. Freehold Ownership of the village hall car park which is leased to the Sedlescombe Village Hall charity.
  4. Freehold Ownership of Sedlescombe Sportsfield, including the pavilion and Sportsfield Car Park. The field and pavilion are leased to the Sedlescombe Sports Association voluntary organisation.
  5. Freehold Ownership of Sedlescombe Village Green.
  6. Sole Trustee of the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground charity. Known locally as the "Riverside Playing Field". This includes the children's playground and the tennis courts and all equipment and street furniture.
  7. All seats in the parish on public land.
  8. All litter and dog bins in the parish on public land apart from the ones outside the shop and the Queen's Head.
  9. The bus shelter including the land it stands on.
  10. Noticeboard on wall of Sedlescombe Stores.
  11. Tourist information panel on wall of Sedlescombe public conveniences.
  12. Information panel on board in Red Barn Field.
  13. Two wooden noticeboards in Red Barn Field.
  14. Maintenance of public footpaths and bridleways in association with East Sussex County Council.

Quarterly Bulletins (including the Annual Report and Directory) are delivered to every home in the parish.

An informative and useful website is maintained including a monthly e-Noticeboard.

 

Councillors are representatives on various village bodies.

 

Information leaflets/booklets are published from time to time by the Council:

  • Walks around Sedlescombe - a colourful leaflet, published in 2002, describing six walks on public footpaths in the Parish of Sedlescombe. On sale in Sedlescombe Stores, price £1.
  • Walk through History in Sedlescombe - a colourful leaflet, published in 2002, detailing some of the interesting historical parts of the Village. Included in Welcome Packs and free on application to the Clerk.
  • What you need to know as a dog walker in Sedlescombe - a black and white leaflet, re-published in 2010. Included in Welcome Packs and free on application to the Clerk.
  • Please help preserve Gorselands' grass verges - a black and white leaflet, free on application to the Clerk.
  • Sedlescombe Annual Report & Directory - a useful booklet published each April. Included in Welcome Packs and free on application to the Clerk.
  • Sedlescombe Pump and Pumphouse - a brief history - a partially-coloured booklet, published in 2010. On sale in Sedlescombe Stores, price £1.

4. How do parish councils make decisions? Parish councils meet regularly to make decisions on the work and direction of the Council. As elected bodies parish councils are responsible to the people they represent - the local community. In Sedlescombe, in 2002, following consultation with residents and visitors, Sedlescombe Parish Council published a Parish Plan detailing its main and subsidiary aims. These are still appropriate today and, in brief, are as follows:

  • MAIN AIM. To make Sedlescombe a vibrant place that values its past but looks to the future and where people are proud to live and work and be part of a caring community.
  • Aim 1: To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community.
  • Aim 2: To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community.
  • Aim 3: To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe.
  • Aim 4: To support Business & Rural Employment in Sedlescombe.
  • Aim 5: To protect and enhance Sedlescombe's Built and Natural Environment.

The Agendas of the main Council Meetings are usually shown under the five aims so that councillors can consider how their decisions are helping towards meeting the aims specified in the Parish Plan.

 

5. Where do parish councils get their money from? Each year a sum of money called a 'precept' is collected through your council tax. The parish councils decide how much will need to be collected through the council tax.This money is used by your parish council to improve facilities and services for local people. Parish councils can apply for grants and loans and, if they own property, can receive money from rents or leases.

 

In Sedlescombe, applications are made for grant aid whenever this is appropriate. In 2009, a £52,500 loan was obtained by the Parish Council in order to help pay for the new sports pavilion. Repayments will take place over 15 years. The Parish Council provides the sportsfield and village hall car park at peppercorn rents.

 

6. How are parish councillors elected? As detailed in 2 above, parish councillors are elected to represent a geographical area known as a parish (sometimes wards in larger parishes). They are elected by people who live in the area.

 

Most parish councils are on the same cycle with elections in 2011 and 2015 and so on.

 

If nine or fewer candidates stand for election to Sedlescombe Parish Council, there is no need for a poll and those standing are returned as parish councillors unopposed.

 

7. Who can vote in parish elections? To vote in any election you need to be registered to vote. You can register to vote when you are aged 16 years or over but you need to be 18 or over to vote. To vote in a parish council election you need to be a British citizen, Irish citizen, European Union citizen or citizen of a Commonwealth country (including Cyprus and Malta).

 

8. What do parish councillors do? As a councillor you can become a voice for your community and affect real change. Councillors are community leaders and represent the aspirations of the public that they serve. Councillors have three main areas of work:

  1. Decision making: through attending meetings and committees with other elected members, councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be implemented.
  2. Monitoring: councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working.
  3. Getting involved locally: as local representatives, councillors have responsibilities towards their constituents and local organisations. This often depends on what the councillor wants to achieve and how much time is available. The day-to-day work of a councillor may include:
    • going to meetings of local organisations;
    • going to meetings of bodies that affect the wider community, such as the police, the Highways Authority, schools etc.;
    • taking up issues on behalf of members of the public, such as making representations to the district council;
    • running a surgery for residents to bring up issues.

9. How much time does it take up? Quite often councillors say that their duties occupy them for about three hours a week. Obviously there are some councillors who spend more time than this - and some less, but in the main, being a parish councillor is an enjoyable way of contributing to your community and helping to make it a better place to live and work.

 

10. Am I qualified? Most people are. However there are a few rules. In brief, you have to be

  • a qualifying Commonwealth citizen or a Euronational, and
  • 18 years or older on the day on which you are nominated and, if there is a poll, the day of the election.

In addition, you must during the whole of the twelve months before the day on which you are nominated as a candidate, or the day of election,

  • either have lived in the parish or within three miles of it for the last twelve months
  • or be a local government elector for the parish
  • or have occupied as owner or tenant of any land or premises in the parish
  • or had your principal or only place of work in the parish. Such work need not be paid, but must be substantial.

One effect of these rules is that it is possible to be a member of more than one local council.

 

You cannot stand for election if you:

  • are the subject of a bankruptcy restriction order or interim order
  • have, within five years before the day of the election, been convicted in the United Kingdom of any offence and have had a prison sentence (whether suspended or not) for a period of over three months without the option of a fine
  • work for the council you want to become a councillor for
  • are disqualified under any enactment relating to corrupt or illegal practices or were responsible for incurring unlawful expenditure and the court orders disqualification.

11. How do I apply? Application forms will be available from Rother District Council according to a tight legal schedule of dates leading up to an election. Their availability will be advertised on the Parish Council website and on the noticeboard on the wall of Sedlescombe Stores. Completed forms must then be returned to Rother District Council by a stated time. If the form does not arrive at the due time at Rother's offices, your name will not be included in the list of candidates standing for election. It is best to send it in a good time to allow any amendments which are necessary to be made under Rother District Council's guidance. You may wish to deliver your forms by hand to ensure their safe arrival (problems have occurred in the past with late arrival of forms for Sedlescombe applicants).

 

In accordance with Schedule 2, Part 1, paragraph 1 of the Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) (England and Wales) Rules 2006 (the 2006 Rules) the elections timetable is as follows:

  • Publication of notice of election - not later than the 25th day before the day of election.
  • Delivery of Nomination papers - not later than noon on the 19th day before the day of election.
  • Publication of list of candidates - not later than noon on the 17th day before the day of election.
  • Delivery of notices of withdrawals of candidature - not later than noon on the 16th day before the election.
  • Notice of poll - not later than the 6th day before the election.
  • Polling - between the hours of 7 in the morning and 10 at night on the day of election (Thursday 5 May 2011).

In calculating the timetable the following days are disregarded: Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Good Friday, a Bank Holiday and a day appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning.

 

The above is based on The Electoral Commission leaflet "All about parish and town councils", Charles Arnold-Baker's "Local Council Administration" and the National Association of Local Councils Legal Topic Note No.8 of February 2010 and amended in order to include information of particular importance to candidates for election to Sedlescombe Parish Council. The law is detailed in Section 79(1) of the Local Government Act 1972, amended by Section 18 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 which came into force on 07/01/2007.

 

Published by Sedlescombe Parish Council on 23 January 2011.