What is a Parish Council

A Parish Council is the first tier of local government.  A democratically elected body with local responsibilities.

– They are accountable to electors.
– They are statuary bodies
– They give representation at local level.
– They can precept for funds, see your Council Tax bill.
– They can provide and support local services and facilities.

Ropley Parish Council is elected for a four year period. The following are currently Councillors:
Chair, George Brown. Vice-Chair, Derrick Speed. Chair Planning, Jenny Nops.
Jim Culverwell, Drew Fielden, Jane Parsonson, Giles Stogdon, Tim Day.

Parish Councils have a remit to support their parish in a number of ways.
All parishes differ in their organisation.

Any local amenity/club/asset can request help with funding.  Ropley Parish Council have decided that it is reasonable to see a business plan/financial statement/evidence of supporting the community before it decides to give a grant.  The money comes out of the precept and it is responsible for administering the precept.

The PC own certain assets: The Parish Hall, the recreation ground, the Sports Pavilion and the Play-Park.  It maintains these and has representatives on the Parish Hall committee and the Sports Club.

Ropley Parish Council has the following committees:

– Finance, currently represented by George Brown, Jim Culverwell and the clerk.
– Planning, Jenny Nops, George Brown, Jim Culverwell & Jane  Parsonson.
– Footpaths, Tim Day.
– Friends of St Peters, Jenny Nops.
– Highways, Hampshire CC. And Hampshire Association Of PCs, Derrick Speed.
– Recreation Ground, Play-Park and Sports Club, Drew Fielden and Giles Stogdon.
– Communications, Jane Parsonson.

Influence.
Parish Councils can influence planning applications.  Our comments count as one, but if the application goes to Committee our comments are read out in full whereas other comments may be amended together.
Ropley Planning committee are guided by EHDC guidelines and may comment only on what is deemed “Material considerations”.  Visit the planning portal for these.
However, we are in a period of change.  For the first time our parish will be given a housing allocation.  This will not be available until the Joint Core Strategy has been adopted.  We cannot object to the number but we may be able to influence where they go.
In reality, sites registered and accepted by the District Council are most likely to be favoured.  Look under SHLAA on the planning web-site. Only 3 sites have been registered so far in Ropley.  The PC accept that applications for multiple houses need a different consideration from single applications, and welcome local input.

Social Housing.
In Ropley we have already liaised with Housing Associations to provide Affordable Housing (for rent).  We have an excellent track record already with houses in Hale Close, Rowdell, Meadow View, Dunsells and Town Close.  However, at the present time the District Council may require more.

Highways.
Derrick Speed spends many hours with representatives over Highway issues.  We are always told there is little funding but Derrick has an excellent relationship and we do get some of the more pressing jobs done. The road surfaces are going to be an on-going problem after this winter we fear.

Future Plans.
The parish has completed a Village Design Statement.This took many hours of work and several current Cllrs. were part of the process.  This was adopted by EHDC but is still only part of the advisory process.

The Parish Plan is in its final stages.  We were told that we must complete one if we wish to apply for grants.  It also has taken a lot of work.  42% of Households completed the questionnaire.  This is meant to be an on-going plan with responsibilities recognised and acted upon.  Neighbourhood plans were brought up 2 years ago and as Ropley then had no housing allocation we were told we did not need to complete one.  They require a number of steps including a referendum. This is both time consuming and costly. When we are given an allocation we can discuss the need.

Ropley PC are members of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities via HAPTC’s membership. This gives access to legal advice and also to other Parish Councils.