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Author: Adam Lillywhite

Does Pittville Need a Parish Council?

Does Pittville Need a Parish Council?

VOTE ON PARISH COUNCIL

PAB do believe in parish councils where the benefits outweigh the cost. A good example of this is Prestbury where the High Street and many publicly owned assets, which are primarily used by the residents, give it geographic and community focus.

In Pittville there are few, if any, such assets to manage, particularly as campaigners could not get the allotments included in the ‘parish’ area. The majority of publicly owned assets are for the use of the whole town and not just the ward. Is it sensible for the ward to take on the responsibility and cost for the management of these?

 

Whilst a parish does not have to be rural, it should be based on an area which reflects community identity. Pittville has several diverse communities, would it be right to force these into a single identity? The most significant influence on Pittville is the town centre, on which the majority of our ward depends for shopping, recreation, entertainment and such. Pittville uses the town centre rather than any one particular community or neighbourhood hub. With many of the town’s sporting and cultural facilities in the ward there is a beneficial and symbiotic relationship which has evolved.

There are five existing parish councils in Cheltenham, none created by the Borough, but inherited from others such as Tewkesbury or in the case of Charlton Kings, it used to be a Rural District Council in its own right. It is difficult to understand the reason for requiring a new parish particularly at a time when there are many other additional forms of local governance available and probably more appropriate and certainly without cost.

 

PLANNING.   A parish council is no more than a statutory consultee with the same rights as members of the public. They can only object or make comments in writing exactly as members of the public can.

AN ADDITIONAL VOICE ?   Pittville already has two tiers of governance, two active Borough councillors and a newly elected County councillor. At any time they may be contacted to make representations at the appropriate level. As members of the public you may also make representations, at either level. Is another voice required which may well oppose yours depending on the view of the parish councillors?

 

WHO WOULD MAKE UP THE PARISH COUNCIL?

Would the campaigners necessarily represent your views?

An election would only be held if there are more nominees than the County Council specified number of councillors. A permanent financial reserve of £14,000 is required for such an election.

 

Much of the cost of the precept, to be paid by every household would be funding for this additional tier of governance. A parish clerk, parish buildings, the cost of ‘running the parish office’ at home, or in a separate office space, will need stationary, a telephone, printer and computer. It is almost certain that a new parish council would want to join the Association of Parish Councils – mainly for advice, but not a cheap option to become a member.

 

It has been suggested taking out a loan to acquire parish buildings. Whether this becomes a reality or not – is it necessary – and would all ‘parish’ members be happy taking such a loan to fulfil the ambitions of the parish council?

 

A new parish council will be formed if there is a demonstrable expression of interest. Given that there has been an active and publicly funded campaign group promoting a parish council it is important that should you NOT wish to be brought under a third layer of bureaucracy, that you vote accordingly and do not leave it to others. Ensure that your vote counts and please encourage your neighbours to understand and vote on this important matter.

Residents comment on increased traffic

Residents comment on increased traffic

Attached is a shocking letter sent to me about children feeling sick walking to school due to the increased traffic Pollution on Pittville Circus and All Saints rd in the last few weeks, When the works on Oriel Rd are completed, traffic here will not revert to how it was, as the road is being narrowed and the junction constricted, so the recent flow through Pittville is likely to be how it remains, or until the next phase, when further constrictions will occur, dispersing more traffic through these ‘new routes’. Please contact me if you share these concerns or would like to comment on your own experiences.

Adam@PAB.org.uk

“The increase in traffic on Pittville Circus in the past few weeks has been astonishing. In the past there was little traffic during the day and a build up of around a dozen of so cars in the rush hour. There is now a constant flow of traffic around the Circus throughout the day and a much greater build up during the rush hour.

The flow of traffic at 07:00 is now equivalent to what it used to be at 08:00 and later on the entire Circus is now nose-to-tail. Yesterday (Jan 25th) at 08:20 the traffic stretched round the side of the Circus, back across the mini roundabout and then in both directions back along Pittville Circus Road and All Saints Road. I have never seen that before and I have been walking that way every day in term time for the last 6 years. It was not much better this morning.

This brings me to an important point: there are three primary schools within walking distance, Dunalley, Trinity and Berkhampstead. At that time of the day, young children can been seen walking in this neighbourhood to all three schools. My own children (aged 8 & 6) have commented (unprompted) on the very noticeable pollution and said “Mummy it makes me feel sick” and “I hate it”. I assume that you wish to encourage children walking to school rather than discourage this, yet you are sending significantly more traffic through a residential area with three local primary schools. I have no wish to start driving the 400 metres or so to school, which will only make the traffic worse, but am seriously worried about the children’s health in walking through the fumes every day.

I would like a reference number for the complaint please and look forward to your response.”

Considerations for a Parish Council

Considerations for a Parish Council

The article regarding Pittville having a parish council (Echo Jan 7th), made interesting reading.

Of course, as the article states, the people of Pittville should have the final say on whether they believe that a parish council is necessary, and whether an extra tier of bureaucracy is really going to give them better or more services than those currently being provided by Cheltenham Borough Council.

There is also the matter of the precept (tax) that entitles an established parish council to raise additional money from the Borough Council, in order to add any needed extra services in the area. This extra tax is added to the current community charge.

A parish council requires a clerk to run the administration duties, and from past experiences, it is worth reminding Pittville readers, that a parish clerk will need to be paid a salary, whether they are part-time or full-time.

And like most things associated with parish councils, the work gets more, not less.

Civil parish councils were formed in England in 1894, mainly to enable the provision of civic duties in rural towns and villages, which is why Charlton Kings, Leckhampton, Warden Hill, Prestbury, Swindon Village and Up Hatherley, were formed.

Those same villages, even though they have expanded over time, are still very much semi-rural villages, with their village greens and old English style pubs, just as they were in 1894.

Cllr Dennis Parsons’ comment about “someone from Charlton Kings making a decision about Pittville’s allotments” is bogus.

He should know that councils have a statutory obligation to provide land for use as allotments, when six or more council tax payers make a request for the council to acquire land for that purpose. (Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908).

Far better to do that than point a finger at Charlton Kings parish council as the reason why Pittville would be prevented from having their own allotments.

It will be interesting to see what response there will be when the public consultation takes place. Pittville residents should be careful what they wish for themselves, and not be persuaded by what appears to be an ego trip by one of its councillors.

 

This is a published letter to the Echo from Les Godwin

Why did Martin Horwood request the resignation of Dennis Parsons from his role as chairman of the Cheltenham Liberal Democrats?

Why did Martin Horwood request the resignation of Dennis Parsons from his role as chairman of the Cheltenham Liberal Democrats?

It is clear that he believed that the speech made by your Lib Dem Councillor Dennis Parsons at their annual party conference suggesting prostitution as a career option offered to school children was dangerous and likely to damage the reputation of their Party. Tim Farron insisted the views of Dennis Parsons on this matter were not shared by him or it appears the rest of his party when listening to the reception it received in the conference.

PAB have not resorted to ‘smear tactics’, or deliberately misinterpreted his statements, we are simply stating that his views as interpreted by his National Party leader and Cheltenham’s last MP, do not belong in Pittville. If his views really were ‘misinterpreted’ why did he resign as chairman to protect his party. We believe he should have offered this same respect to Cheltenham Borough Council.

The original story received considerably less coverage in the local than the national press, where several quality daily’s reported outrage at his speech, yet the Echo simply printed his denial, claim of misinterpretation and apology. It did not offer an understanding of the full story or context of his statements. It is for this reason that we sought to give ward members an opportunity to understand exactly what had been said, even offering a link to hear the speech so they can determine for themselves the opinions of their Liberal Democrat representative.