Local Councils

This page provides more detailed information on local councils

What is a local council?

A local council is an elected body made up of local people representing the interests of their community. The creation of a new local council would be in addition to and not instead of Ashford Borough Council.

How are local councils funded?

Local councils are funded through a sum of money called a ‘precept’ – this is a separate charge which is added to, and collected along with, your existing Council Tax. The local council will decide what it will need for the coming year and that depends on what services and facilities are needed by the local community.

Local councils can also apply for grants and loans. As the precept will depend on the size of the local council, the services it provides and the number of properties across which it is spread, it is not possible to say how much a precept would be for an area which does not currently have a town or parish council.

What does a local council do?

A local council has statutory powers over and above those already provided by Ashford Borough Council.  Any local council created as a result of a Community Governance Review would work with Ashford Borough Council to agree which services it would like to be involved in delivering.

The following is a list of areas which might come under the remit of a local council:

  • Allotments
  • Burial Grounds, Cemeteries, Churchyards and Crematoria
  • Bus Shelters
  • By-laws – the power to make bye-laws concerning:baths and washhouses (swimming pools), cycle parks, mortuaries and pleasure grounds
  • Clocks – public clocks can be provided and must be maintained
  • Community Centres, Conference Centres, Halls, Public Buildings
  • Drainage – of ditches and ponds
  • Entertainment and the Arts
  • Footpaths
  • General Spending – parish councils can spend a limited amount of money on anything they deem of benefit to the community that is not covered by the other specific responsibilities described in this list
  • Gifts – parish councils may accept gifts
  • Highways – lighting, parking places, right to enter into discussions about new roads and road widening, consent of parish council required for diversion or discontinuation of highway, traffic signs and other notices, tree planting and verge maintenance
  • Land – acquisition and sale of
  • Legal proceedings – power to prosecute and defend any legal proceedings in the interests of the community, power to take part in any public enquiry
  • Litter – provision of litter-bins and support for any anti-litter campaigns
  • Planning – parish councils must be notified of, and display for residents, any planning applications for the area. Any comments submitted to the planning authority by the parish council must be taken into account
  • Postal and Telecommunication Facilities – power to pay a public telecommunications operator any loss sustained in providing services in that area
  • Public Conveniences – provision and maintenance of public toilets
  • Recreation – provision of recreation grounds, public walkways, pleasure grounds, open spaces, village greens, gymnasiums, playing fields, holiday camps and boating ponds
  • Rights of Way – footpath and bridleway maintenance
  • Seats (public)
  • Signs – danger signs, place names and bus stops signs
  • Tourism – financial contributions to any local tourist organisations allowed
  • Traffic Calming
  • War Memorials
  • Water Supply – power to utilise stream, well or spring water and to provide facilities for general use

It is unlikely that any local council formed would provide all of these services.

Further details on local councils can be found at www.createacouncil.nalc.gov.uk or www.kentalc.gov.uk

How many local councillors would there be?

If it is agreed to establish a new local council, one of the issues that will need to be decided is how many councillors will be elected. Local councillors can be elected to represent the whole of the parish area or smaller neighbourhoods within the area, called wards. Any councillors elected to the local council would be in addition to the existing local ward councillors who are members of Ashford Borough Council. It is possible for the same people to be elected to the borough council and a town or parish council.

Are local councillors paid an allowance?

Local councillors are not usually paid an allowance, but may incur costs which can be reimbursed.