What is a Town Council?
Parish and Town Councils are the first tier of local government. They deliver a range of services at a community level and their role is to represent the local community, provide services to meet local needs and improve quality of life and community well being.
A Parish or Town Council is allowed to raise money through a precept. This forms part of the Council Tax and is collected on our behalf by Warrington Borough Council. The level of precept is determined based on local priorities and needs.
Powers of Parish/Town Councils
The 1965 Royal Commission on Local Government (The Redcliffe-Maude Commission) recommended that local councils should be empowered to do what they pleased for the benefit of their people, and a consequence of this was the important 1972 Local Government Act which removed many of the restrictions on the activities of Parish Councils. For example, before the 1972 Act, Parish Councils couldn’t save money from one year to the next in order to fund a major project. However, this is now no longer the case.
Birchwood Town Council is made up of 12 elected representatives (Town Councillors) and it currently has a staff of ten: one full-time Senior Maintenance Operative and five full-time Maintenance Team Operatives, three part-time office staff and a part-time Facilities Caretaker/Cleaner.
The Town Councillors are all volunteers who are duly elected by the local community. Councillors receive no pay or allowances for the work they do on behalf of the town. Only the Chair, during his or her term of office, would receive a nominal allowance which is paid so that they can fulfil their duties on behalf of the community they serve. Elections are held every four years.
What does the Town Council do?
There are usually eleven full meetings of the Town Council during a calendar year which take place at Parkers Farm, Delenty Drive, Birchwood. These Council meetings are open to the public and there is a short period at the beginning of each meeting put aside for questions from the public and for the receipt of petitions.
There is also an Annual Meeting, held in May of each year, which is an opportunity for residents to raise issues of concern with the Council. This meeting also enables members of the Parish Council to inform residents of actions taken by them on their behalf during the last year and of any proposed activities for the coming year.
One important role of the Town Council is to represent the views of the town in response to various public consultations and is a statutory consultee for local planning applications.