Borough Green Parish Council firmly believe that our duty is to represent the interests of our residents. And we cannot do that without knowing what those interests are.
People today are apathetic about politics, believing that their views are not important to those with power over their lives. And they are mostly right.
Most of us joined the Parish Council for exactly that reason, because we felt we were being ignored.
Just in case we get seduced by the heady power of the Parish Council, we list below the methods you can use to have your say, to make sure we represent the views of the people.
- Parish Council Meetings. Our meetings are held on the first Monday of every month, and the public are most welcome. There is a 15 minute period for the public to raise issues, and on specific issues we will invite public comments during the course of the meeting.
- The Parish Office in the Village Hall is opened by two Parish Councillors to meet the public the Saturday before each PC meeting 10am - 12, on fine days you may even find us out on the High St.
- Parish Councillors are all residents, and are quite used to being "collared" on the streets.
- Correspondence is an item on every PC agenda, and any letter or email sent in will be included on that list, and many will generate discussion and action.
As you can see from the above, this Council is responsive enough that residents should never need the big guns , but to demonstrate our good faith, here they are:
- The Complaint Procedure to the Parish Council is the first step, but if this does not resolve the problem, the next step is a complaint to the TMBC STANDARDS COMMITTEE .
- Parish Polls. The Parish Poll is a long established right for a member of the public with 10 supporters to present a question to the electorate at the Annual Parish Meeting, where a majority vote of all electors present will require the Parish Council to submit a demand to the Borough Council to hold a Poll under Electoral Commission rules. Unfortunately, the result of the Poll is not binding on the Council under current rules.
- The Parish Council has now changed its Standing Orders to allow a Poll to be called at any Parish Council Public Meeting, and the result of the Poll is binding on the Parish Council.
- Community Polls. A Parish Poll in Borough Green can cost the Parish upwards of £3000, so BGPC also offer the option of a Community Poll. If agreed, this can be run by an equal number of Petitionerss and Parish Councillors, including manning polling booths. The result will still be binding on the Parish Council.
- Elections. Of course the biggest "gun" of all is the 4-yearly elections, when any elector with a proposer and seconder can stand for the Parish Council. If there are fewer validly nominated candidates than there are seats on the Parish Council, those who were validly nominated will be elected unopposed in an 'uncontested election'. If vacancies remain after these elections, the Parish Council is able to co-opt to fill those vacancies (see below).
- A By-Election can be triggered when a Parish Councillor vacates their seat on the Parish Council (for example by resignation, failure to attend meetings, or disqualification). Once a vacancy is formally declared, local electors may if they wish request a by-election. To do so, they must submit signatures from ten local electors requesting a by-election within 14 days of the notice to the Proper Officer at the Borough Council. Further information, and a noticeboard of such vacancies across the Borough, can be found at TMBC Election Vacancies. If a valid request is not received before the deadline, the Parish Council may co-opt someone to sit on the Council. The process for selecting a new parish councillor for co-option will be advertised at the time and will be held in an open and transparent manner.
If none of the above satisfy your concerns, the next step is to contact the MONITORING OFFICER at Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, who may be able to offer advice, or LOCAL GOVERNMENT OMBUDSMAN COMPLAINTS PARISH COUNCILS .