It's confusing trying to think about what a parish council actually does, but with the help of this page and the 'Our Achievements' page we hope to give you a little insight into what goes on.
Parish councils have a variety of powers and duties, all of which impact directly on the community.
The following are all under the remit of local councils. Some of these duties do not apply to Whicham Parish Council, but where they do, the Parish Council takes its duties seriously:
· Burial Grounds, Cemeteries, Churchyards and Crematoria where these are not maintained by the local Church
· Bus Shelters – the Parish Council can provide and maintain if permitted by the County Council
· Bye-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
· 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. It was this right that allowed the Parish Council to accept grants from CGP and Tesco Bags for Life which enabled us to completely replace the play areas at Kirksanton and Silecroft.
· 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 The Parish Council currently pay for the cutting of the verge at the entrance to Silecroft Village as well as some hedge cutting.
· Land – acquisition and sale of . THE Parish Council currently is responsible for Kirksanton Village Green, The plyaground at Silecroft and the Beach front at Silecroft
· 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. The Parish Council takes this duty seriously and considers all applications submitted. All applications and decisions are reported in the minutes of the meetings.
· 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. The Parish Council is responsible for the toilets on the beach front at Silecroft. These have been leased to the Lake District National Park and will be back in the hands of the Council at the end of 2016. The Parish Council are looking at ideas of how to maintain/refurbish these toilets.
· Recreation – provision of recreation grounds, public walkways, pleasure grounds, open spaces, village greens, gymnasiums, playing fields, holiday camps and boating ponds . In 2016 the Parish Council raised and spent £47000 in replacing the play equipment at both Kirksanton and Silecroft. This was a huge achievement for the Parish Council and the children and visitors to the area now have up to date equipment to play on. The project is not yet finished. The plan is to fence off the play area at Kirksanton making it more secure and child safe. Whilst at Silecroft, the Parish Council are looking at the tennis courts there which are in need of refurbishment and how they can be put into use during the winter months. So any ideas of what you would like to see how they are improved will be very welcome.
The Parish council also pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the grounds ensuring that grass cutting takes place on a regular basis.
· Rights of Way – footpath and bridleway maintenance
· Seats (public) - this year the Parish Council purchased 3 new benches for the sea front at Silecroft. There are plans to replace another 3 this year as well.
· Signs – danger signs, place names and bus stops signs
· Tourism – financial contributions to any local tourist organisations allowed
· Traffic Calming - The Parish Council are currently in negotiations with Cumbria Highways for the installation of traffic calming measures on the beach road at Silecroft.
· War Memorials – The War Memorial at Silecroft is important to the village. In 2017 it will be the centenary of the death in battle of the VC winning Thomas Fletcher Mason. It is planned to hold a commemorative event and lay a stone in his honour. The Parish Council will be leading on this but would hope that the whole community will get involved in celebrating this brave man’s sacrifice.
· Water Supply – power to utilise stream, well or spring water and to provide facilities for general use