HUSTINGS & DEBATES
The Borough and Bankside area has a history of local governance dating back to The Liberty of the Clink in the Middle Ages. Living Bankside believes the next chapter of this tradition lies in creating a neighbourhood/parish council(first tier of local government).
Please sign this petition here to begin the process of creating a Neighbourhood/Parish Council
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Why create a Neighbourhood/Parish Council?
Borough and Bankside is a vibrant area full of character, diversity and culture. The neighbourhood is constantly changing and not always in a way which is conducive to the overall benefit of local people, local businesses and to its charm and heritage. The needs and desires of local residents and businesses are rarely considered in the changes that occur in the local neighbourhood. This needs to change.
The neighbourhood has suffered from unresolved debilitating issues for over a decade whether that be anti-social behaviour such as busking or a lack of involvement in local decision making and changes and a lack of community infrastructure. . This needs to change.
Whilst the area has seen significant change, local residents have rarely felt directly benefited, The neighbourhood lacks the adequate social and community infrastructure to ensure the health & wellbeing of its people. This needs to change.
Living Bankside believes that by creating a Neighbourhood/Parish Council , local residents would have the tools to influence change and deliver services to address the areas needs. With a wealth of charitable organisations in the area, a neighbourhood/parish council would act as the nucleus which enhances influence and provides funding to ensure effective and sustained charitable services. Where there is a void in service, the Neighbourhood/Parish Council could deliver.
Three main benefits:
1) Greater influence on Planning & Licensing matters
Residents would have a greater voice in the development and licensing of the local area . The Neighbourhood/Parish council would have to be statutorily consulted on all planning applications and would have greater say on licensing applications.
2) Delivering services to meet local needs
The Neighbourhood/Parish council could raise (by levying a precept) and spend money on local issues that concern residents. It could fund youth projects, crime reduction measures and transport schemes. It could address unresolved issues residents have faced for many years such as Anti Social Behaviour.
The Neighbourhood/Parish council could take responsibility for managing or delivering improved local services to residents. It could run parks (Supporting BOST), leisure facilities and community centres. If a Neighbourhood/Parish Council exists, local residents will have complete control over how the contributions for our Neighbourhood (25%) of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is spent. CIL is the money developers pay in certain circumstances for new developments. Some of it is meant to be spent locally.
3) Enhanced Representation
The Neighbourhood//Parish Council would complement the work of Borough & Bankside's Ward Councillors at the local Council, and challenge the London wide and national levels of government when they impact on Borough and Bankside's historic qualities and future growth.
A paid clerk is responsible for the day to day tasks of a Neighbourhood/Parish Council. This ensures far more accountability over the decisions taken on behalf of local communities, it also means we will have a robust framework around governance and scrutiny in everything we do.
What is a Neighbourhood/Parish Council
A Neighbourhood/Parish council is the first tier of local government, it has the power to provide services and facilities for the benefit of local residents. To fund these expenses, it may raise a precept (if voted for by local residents). This is an extra charge collected by Southwark Council on behalf of the Neighbourhood/Parish council. It is added on top of Council Tax, and the amount each household pays is dependent on the type of property they live in and thier income. This money may only be spent by the Neighbourhood/Parish council in the Borough & Bankside ward. A Neighbourhood/Parish Council has other statutory powers - please see the link below. The Neighbourhood/Parish Council is run by elected councillors (volunteers). A clerk is responsible for the day to day tasks of a Neighbourhood/Parish Council
A Neighbourhood/Parish council in Borough and Bankside would be the second in London. Parish councils were abolished during the formation of the Greater London Council in 1963. However, the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 reversed the ban. In 2012 Queens Park community residents voted to introduce the first, and currently only, parish council back to London (Queens Park Community Council). In 2018/19 they levied a £46.38 per year precept (for the average D band household). Among other things this money has been spent on community enhancing projects including “Black History Week, a young fathers programme, mediation services, interpretation services, activities of older residents and food banks”.
For more information on what a Neighbourhood/Parish Council is click here
Information on Neighbourhood Parish Council's from the National Association of Local Councils
Example of a successful Neighbourhood/Parish Council
The Process of Establish a Neighborhood/Parish Council
The process for creating a parish council is straightforward.
1. A petition must be sent to Southwark Council stating the desire of residents for their own parish council. This must be signed by 7.5% of local electors, in the Borough and Bankside Ward this represents 500 people.
2. Once Southwark Council have received the petition responsibility shifts to them. They are obliged to launch a community governance review, a consultation where all residents can share their opinion on the proposed parish/neighbourhood council.
3. At the end of this review, Southwark Council may find that a neighbourhood/parish council is both desired by and beneficial to the local community they will then issue a Reorganisation Order.
4. A Vote is typically held - in this instance by Southwark Council to ask if people wish to set up a Parish Council for the Borough and Bankside area.
5. Following the vote, elections will be held for Neighbourhood/Parish Councillors (minimum of 5 Neighbourhood/Parish Councillors), This is likely to be held alongside current local elections in May 2022.
Please sign the petition to begin the process of creating a Neighbourhood/Parish Council
Online version: To be confirmed
Offline version: click here
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Please see below answers to Frequently Asked Questions, If your question has not been answered contact Alex Wray at firstname.lastname@example.org
How would the Neighborhood Parish Council be funded
There are three sources of funding. it could be a combination of the three or simply one of the sources of funding below.
A great number of Neighbourhood/Parish Councils (450) have no annual budget and simply work voluntary and this could be possible with Living Bankside supporting the admin of the Parish Council. This no budget council could focus only on planning and licensing response and CIL spending.
The Neighbourhood Council would have the ability to raise money through a precept and additional amount on top of Council Tax (this would be decided at a later stage but prior to any votes or elections). In terms of whether there is or is not a precept that would be ascertained through a consultation we would not propose imposing any 'levy' without consultation and agreement from a majority.
If a precept was to be applied it would be tapered according to the Council Tax bands. For those who are exempt from paying Council Tax they would be exempt from paying the precept. If there is a majority vote for a neighbourhood council all those who are required to pay Council Tax will be liable to pay the precept. Only difference to Council Tax is that they will have greater influence and accountability as they can see exactly where the precept is being spent. Please see this example: https://www.westminster.gov.uk/council-tax-bands-and-rates
Living Bankside recommends the application of a Precept
The Neighbourhood Council could be funded through grants solely and the council simply uses its statutory status to ensure residents are consulted on all matters of planning and licensing so we don't miss out.
Funding drawn down from Southwark Council
Any responsibilities the Neighbourhood Council take off Southwark Council has the potential of attracting drawn down funding from Southwark Council . This would need to be explored once the Governance Review was triggered.
Scrutiny, Accountability and Transparency
In terms of scrutiny, accountability and transparency this will be a legal requirement of the Neighbourhood Council.
Will the Neighbourhood/Parish Council be a religious body?
How will the Neighbourhood/Parish Council work with existing charitable organisation in the area?
The Neighbourhood/Parish council would act as the nucleus which enhances influence and provides funding to ensure effective and sustained charitable services. Where there is a void in service, the Neighbourhood/Parish Council could deliver.
The neighbourhood/Parish Council would support, compliment work in partnership with and fund where possible the work of existing organisations. the Neighbourhood/Parish Council would avoid duplication.
What would the relationship be between the Ward Cllrs and the Neighbourhood Council?
Ward Cllrs would continue to exist and would continue to represent the Ward at Southwark Council level. The work of the neighbourhood council would compliment the work of the Ward Cllrs. The Ward Cllrs may also wish to be Neighbourhood/Parish Cllrs.
What area will the Neighbourhood Council cover?
The Borough and Bankside ward area only. Living Bankside will continue to serve the wider SE1 area.
What will its relationship be to Living Bankside and other organisations such as BOST and Blackfriars Settlement?
The Neighbourhood Council would act as the nucleus with statutory authority. Something which each individual charitable organisation doesn't have. For example on planning and licensing matters it would have to be consulted and therefore the NC can ensure that local residents and others are heard and are meaningfully able to influence planning and licensing matters through its statutory authority. It will also have statutory authority which gives it if desired a range of powers: https://www.localgov.co.uk/Parish-council-responsibilities/29135 http://askyourcouncil.uk/understanding-your-council/list-of-legal-powers-and-duties/ Any and all of these powers could be exercised.
The role of the Neighborhood Council will not be to duplicate but to support and strengthen the roles of existing organisations as the existing organisations already have the knowledge and experience. The role of the Neighbourhood Council would be to take control/management and fund through its statutory powers and if used its tax raising powers the work of existing organisations.
Living Bankside would continue to exist. the Neighbourhood Council will work with BOST in relation to parks and green spaces and Blackfriars Settlement in relation to supporting older people etc.
How many times a year would the Neighbourhood Council meet and how long would the meetings be?
As per the legislation one Annual Meeting and three additional meetings of all members/cllrs has to be held. The length of meetings vary but typically would be anywhere between 2-3hours.
Would there be subcommittees? For what? How many times a year would they meet?
Yes. There can be as many sub-committees depending on the issues the Neighbourhood Council covers (typical sub committees which discuss specific issues and then recommend to the full council or executive committees which have delegated authority - such as a planning committee etc). There could also be working groups. Non Councillors can join these committees but cannot vote. How many times these sub-committees meet is dependent on the Cllrs and the workload.
What kind of sub-committees the Neighbourhood Council has depends on the powers the it wishes to use (there would definitely be a planning committee.
Would members/cllrs be appointed or elected? Appointed by whom? Elected how? Who would administer and pay for the process of setting up the council?
They are elected (First Past the Post System) every 4 years like local cllrs. Where there are an equal number or fewer candidates than there are vacancies, all candidates are elected unopposed, and no election is conducted. Where there are fewer candidates than vacant seats, the parish council has the power to coopt any person or persons to fill the vacancies. This power, however, may only be exercised if there is a quorum of councillors present and within 35 days of the election.
There has to be a minimum of 5 Neighbourhood Cllrs and 12 is recommended. the Neighborhood Council would have between 5-12 vacancies for Neighbourhood Cllr.
If the parish council fails to fill the vacancies within this period, the district council may dissolve it and order fresh elections. If there is not a quorum elected the district council must dissolve it and order fresh elections.
Where there are more candidates than vacancies, a poll must be held. Undivided parishes, or multi-member parish wards, hold elections under the bloc vote system.
If a vacancy occurs during the term of a parish council, it may be filled by either election or co-option. Elections only occur if, following the advertisement of the vacancy for 14 days, 10 electors send a written request to the returning officer. If no request is received, the parish council will be required to fill the vacancies by co-option. If vacancy occurs within 6 months of a scheduled election, then a by-election cannot be called, but the council has the power to co-opt. The nomination qualifications required of a candidate for co-option are the same as for those for election.
If the number of vacancies on the parish council is such that there is no longer a quorum, the district council may temporarily appoint persons to bring the council up to strength in the interval prior to an election.
Administration and Cost of set-up
Southwark Council would administer and pay for the process of setting up the Neighbourhood Council.
How long would each member serve?
Who can be a Neighbourhood Cllr?
A candidate must be at least one of the following:
A UK or Commonwealth citizen
Citizen of the Republic of Ireland
Citizen of another member state of the European Union
and candidates must state on their consent for nomination form their qualification for election, which must be at least one of the following:
they are an elector of the parish
during the whole of the last 12 months they have occupied, either as owner or tenant, land or other premises in the parish.
their principal or only place of work is in the parish
they live within 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) of the parish boundary
What items would always be on a neighbourhood council committee meeting? Planning applications? But what else?
Full council meetings will have Finance, Audit, Governance issues and perhaps debates, public questions and strategic direction. Planning and other matters would be delegated to planning committees. These arrangements depend on the working dynamic of the elected Cllrs and the types of committees we have.
What powers and duties are intended to be used by the proposed Neigbourhood Council?
Currently it is intended that the neighbourhood Council would use the following powers, based on Living Bankside's frequent research and consultation on resident issues. (subject to further consultation)
Powers to provide facilities
Neighbourhood/Parish councils have powers to provide, maintain and manage some facilities themselves, or they can contribute towards their provision by others. They can include the following:
Community buildings, such as village halls, town halls, or community centres
Recreational facilities such as recreation grounds, parks, children's play areas, playing fields, and swimming baths
Cycle and motorcycle parking
Maintenance of rights of way
Guardianship of common land (such as village greens)
The Neighbourhood/Parish Council would have the right to be consulted by the Southwark Council and other authorities on:
All planning applications in our area
Intention to provide a burial ground in the parish
Proposals to carry out sewerage works
Footpath and bridleway (more generally, 'rights of way') surveys
Intention to make byelaws in relation to hackney carriages, music and dancing, promenades, sea shore and street naming
The appointment of governors of primary schools
The Neighbourhood/Parish councils may also exercise the following powers:
Sponsoring public events
Support of the arts and provision of entertainment
Encouragement of tourism
Providing grants to local voluntary organisations
Funding crime prevention measures
Funding community transport schemes
Contribution of money towards traffic calming schemes
Power to acquire or dispose of land
Power to make byelaws in regard to pleasure grounds, cycle parks, baths and washhouses, open spaces and burial grounds, and mortuaries and post-mortem rooms.
General power of competence
Under the Localism Act 2011 eligible parish councils can be granted a "general power of competence" (GPC) which allows them within certain limits the freedom to do anything an individual can do provided it is not prohibited by other legislation, as opposed to being limited to the powers explicitly granted to them by law. To be eligible for this a parish council must meet certain conditions, such as at least two-thirds of the councillors being elected as opposed to being co-opted or appointed, and having a clerk with suitable qualifications.
In principle the GPC can allow councils to engage in a range of activities such as setting up a trading company or co-operative to lend or invest money, run a local shop, post office or energy company. Or allow it to contribute towards the provision of a service by another authority.