Consultation on our proposal to increase the number of parish councillors (Community Governance Review)

Newton Longville Parish Council needs your support! The reasons why, and how that support can be given, is described below.

Buckinghamshire Council are consulting on a Community Governance Review to consider a request to increase the number of parish councillors from eight to ten.

In recent years the scope and scale of the matters that the Parish Council has had to deal with has been steadily increasing. Looking at just one example of this expanding workload, consideration of various aspects of the Salden Park development is taking up an increasing amount of time for both our clerk and our councillors. As reported here in the Pump, Taylor Wimpey (the developers) are submitting applications to Buckinghamshire Council on various planning aspects which we need to go through and potentially comment on. Then, as with any planning application, when approval is given we keep an eye on the development to ensure that the work done appears to be in line with what has been agreed and that the impact of the work on residents is minimised. Finally, with Salden Park, we have agreed in principle that we will take over what are referred to as the ‘management body’ responsibilities for the side, so looking after (for example) the sports pitches and community facilities in the same way as we do for Hammond Park and Longueville Hall. All of that is going to take up time and effort.
Anyone who has attended a monthly Parish Council meeting will know that the number of items on the agenda seems to be growing, and we struggle to complete these sessions within the prescribed two hours. We have been looking at various options for how to resolve this and have concluded that we need to start delegating the more routine business to committees. Like our main council meetings, these committee sessions would still be held in public with each meeting have an agenda and minutes, so in terms of visibility for residents, there would be no change.

The members of each committee would be parish councillors but they can be joined by residents who have a particular interest, skills and experience in the subject, for example in finance or planning.

Each committee will need to have a minimum number of members who are councillors, and there would also be quorum requirements to meet (so a minimum number of members for a meeting to go ahead). At the moment we have eight members of the Parish Council (parish councillors) and we want to avoid the situation where every parish councillor has to be on every committee in order to make sure that we meet those minimum number requirements. We therefore propose to increase the membership of the Parish Council to ten councillors.

Our parish councillors do not receive either a salary or an allowance, so there are no cost implications for the village, but making a change to the number of members of the Parish Council is not a decision that can be made internally alone. It is also not a simple case of filling out a request form which Buckinghamshire Council automatically approve.

So how can you help? Please consider participating in Buckinghamshire Council’s consultation. We hope that you agree that the number of members (parish councillors) for Newton Longville Parish Council needs to be expanded from eight to ten, but regardless, please take a few minutes to submit your views. You can do this by using one of the options below:

  • Complete the online survey on the Buckinghamshire Council website.
  • Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. saying you support the increase to ten councillors.
  • Or, if you do not have online access, get in touch with the Parish Council office and we’ll drop off a printed survey form, that you can complete and return.

(And as the saying goes, ‘Watch This Space’ - If you are interested in becoming a parish councillor and the request to Buckinghamshire Council is approved, please do consider applying!)