- The Appendix A map (click for a larger version) shows the existing town council arrangements within Torbay and the boundaries of the wards (revised with effect from May 2019) of Torbay Council across the whole authority including the currently unparished area.
Parish areas and town or parish councils
- The review will consider whether any changes should be made to the parish arrangements within Torbay, including:
- whether there is a need to alter any existing parish boundaries or abolish any existing parish;
- whether or not a new parish or parishes should be created in areas that are currently unparished – either two new parishes, for Torquay and Paignton respectively as initially discussed by us, or any other arrangements for some or all of the area; and
- in the event that a new parish or parishes are created, whether they should have a town council.
- In considering the above, the review will have regard to current and projected patterns of population, development, community identity and linkages in the area under review; to the viability of potential parish areas and the delivery of local services.
- The 2007 Act provides that where a new parish is created which has 1,000 or more electors, the principal council must recommend that the parish has a council. Where a new parish is created that has between 151 and 999 electors the principal council may decide whether or not it should have a council.
- In relation to previously unparished areas, the 2007 Act requires a principal council in undertaking a review to take into account other (non-parish) forms of community governance that have been, or could be, made for the purpose of community representation or engagement in the area under review. These might include community partnerships/forums, area committees, residents’ and tenants’ associations, neighbourhood management programmes or community associations. In accordance with Government guidance the review will consider whether such arrangements could be alternatives to, or stages towards, the establishment of town or parish councils. The Council notes however that the guidance also states ‘what sets parish councils apart from other kinds of governance is the fact they are a democratically elected tier of local government, independent of other council tiers and budgets, and possess specific powers’ and ‘their directly elected parish councillors represent local communities in a way that other bodies, however worthy, cannot since such organisations do not have representatives directly elected to those bodies’.
Names and style of parishes
- In the event that a new parish is proposed to be created, the review will make recommendations as to the geographical name of the new parish and as to whether or not it should be a parish council or have one of the alternative styles (community, neighbourhood or village). A council that is created as a parish council may decide that it shall have the status of a town council.
- Where an existing parish is under review, the Council will make recommendations as to whether the geographical name of the parish should be changed, but it will be for the council to resolve whether the parish should have one of the alternative styles.
- The review will consider what electoral arrangements should apply to any new town or parish council that is created and whether any changes should be made to the electoral arrangements of the existing town council . ‘Electoral arrangements’ means:
- The ordinary year in which elections are held;
- The number of councillors to be elected to the council;
- The division (or not) of the parish into wards for the purpose of electing councillors;
- The number and boundaries of any such wards;
- The number of councillors to be elected for any such ward; and
- The name of any such ward.
- In relation to the year of election, the ordinary election of parish councillors takes place in 2019 and at four-yearly intervals thereafter. If the review results in the establishment of a new town or parish council or councils to which it is appropriate to hold an election for councillors at an earlier date than the next scheduled ordinary elections, the Council may resolve to modify or exclude the application of sections 16(3) and 90 of the Local Government Act 1972 to provide for the first election to be held in an earlier year and the terms of office of any newly elected town or parish councillors will be so reduced as to allow the electoral cycle to revert to the normal cycle in Torbay at the next ordinary elections.
- In relation to the number of town or parish councillors, legislation provides that the number of councillors for each council shall not be fewer than five. There is no maximum number. Government guidance is that ‘each area should be considered on its own merits, having regard to its population, geography and the pattern of communities’.
- In relation to warding of a parish, the 2007 Act requires that in considering whether a parish should be divided into wards the Council should consider (i) whether the number, or distribution, of the local government electors for the parish would make a single election of councillors impracticable or inconvenient; and (ii) whether it is desirable that any area or areas of the parish should be separately represented on the council.
- When the Council comes to consider the electoral arrangements of the town or parish councils in its area, it is required to consider the number of local government electors in the area under review, and any change in that number or the distribution of the electors which is likely to occur in the period of five years beginning with the day when the review starts.
- Current electorate figures for each of the wards in both the parished and unparished parts of Torbay will be made published as soon as possible after the publication by 1 February 2019 of the revised electoral register reflecting the amended wards and polling districts that will apply at elections to the unitary council from May 2019.
- Electorate forecasts for January 2024, taking into account information on developments underway or planned based on extant planning permissions and the local development framework, will also be published to inform the consultation process as early as possible during the review.
- Population estimates will be used to apportion assets where significant changes, including the creation of new parishes, are recommended.
Service provision and council tax precept
- As part of the consultation process the Council will outline the services that it envisages could be provided by town or parish councils and/or any assets or liabilities that could be transferred to them.
- The Council will make available information on the precept currently payable by council tax payers in the area served by Brixham Town Council and the services currently provided by that council. It will also publish illustrative information on a range of services that might in future be transferred to or provided by the existing and/or any new town or parish councils together with estimated precept figures for a range of alternative levels of service provision.
- The review will consider any other issues raised during the consultation process which are relevant to the review.
- In the event that the review recommends the creation of any new council(s), the review will also consider what preparatory and transitional arrangements should apply to the establishment of that council or councils.
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