Mitford Parish Council 


WHAT WE DO

What is a Parish Council?
It is the first tier of Local Government and was created by statute in 1894 but in 1972, the
Local Government Act came into being, which now closely regulates council activity. Mitford Parish Council (MPC) was formed in 1955 with the amalgamation of the then Parish Councils of Edington, Mitford, Spital Hill and Tranwell (see a copy of the 1955 Order here, specifically page 10) and is the level of local government which is closest to the community it represents. It is an elected body consisting of six Councillors, one of whom acts as the Chair and it is supported by a Parish Clerk. If a vacancy occurs between elections an election may be held, providing this is the wish of the electorate, or it can co-opt a member of the community; elections are normally held every four years. MPC is scheduled to meet on the first Wednesday of every month, although meetings can be postponed if there is little new business to conduct. An Annual Parish Meeting is held every May.

Powers and Responsibilities of Parish Councils
The Local Government Act, 1972, is the one most often referred to when describing the modern powers and responsibilities of Parish Councils but it is augmented by many earlier and later Acts. Under early 20th century legislation, there is still only one duty which the Parish Council must consider using and that is to provide allotments for the ‘labouring poor’, if asked for them. All other powers are voluntary – the Parish Council is not obliged to exercise them and indeed it could prove hard to raise enough money to exercise them all on a permanent basis. This Council subscribes to membership of the Northumberland Association of Local Councils (NALC) and appropriate training, seminars, and conferences are undertaken by both the Parish Councillors and the Clerk.

Raising Finance
Parish Councils are empowered to raise money for their activities through a tax (the “precept”) on the parish residents (council tax payers), which is collected on their behalf by the County Council, as an addition to the District and County Council Tax. This is then paid to the Parish Council in two equal instalments. Borrowing is allowed, up to a prescribed limit and with permission, but this is of limited help to a small parish because, of course, the loan (plus interest) has to be repaid from slim resources. Grants may be obtained for specific purposes from various sources, not least the County Council. Very few, if any of these, can be used for maintenance or general administration purposes.

Services provided by your Parish Council
We provide, maintain or contribute to a range of services for the community including:
Allotments
Bus shelters
Car parks
Crime / traffic calming measures
Litter bins
Planning applications
Monitoring of street lighting
Village greens / hedge cutting
Village Hall