Without prejudice to the outcome of the Community Governance Review, to consider a report on the setting of an appropriate budget and the calculation and levying of a precept for the first year of operation of each of the proposed parish councils.
1. Budgets and Parish Precepts
Members gave initial consideration to the potential running costs and budgetary requirements of the three proposed parish councils in order that draft budgets could be prepared and precepts calculated.
It was important to be clear in considering the matter that the outcome of the Community Governance Review was not being prejudged. However, in view of the tight timescales involved, thought had to be given now to precepting, budgets and governance arrangements.
Members would need to take into account corporate proposals which had been agreed by Cabinet on 19th July 2010 for the devolution of services from Cheshire East Council to parish councils. Appropriate budget provision would need to be provided for the running of such services by parish councils and the costs included when calculating the parish precepts. Copies of the Cabinet report were circulated at the meeting.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) had produced a document entitled “Power to the People – Your Guide to Local Councils, the benefits they can bring to your area and how you can create one”. This provided useful reference material, including examples of precepts for different sizes of parish councils. Copies had been circulated to members of the Sub-Committee.
The Cheshire Association of Local Councils (ChALC) had provided examples of budgets for a small and large parish council to aid discussions and these had been appended to the report.
Members recognised the need for caution in setting the precepts for the first year of any new parish councils but acknowledged that there was no alternative if the councils were to function effectively from the outset.
In order for the Sub-Committee to give detailed consideration to the matter at its next meeting, its terms of reference would need to be extended to include budgeting and precepting, as well as accommodation and other preparatory arrangements. A report seeking such an extension would need to be submitted to the Constitution Committee at its meeting on 30th September.
1. Outcome of Stage 2 Consultation
Members considered the responses to the Stage 2 consultation which had run from 11th August 2010 to 15th September 2010 and had sought views on the draft recommendation agreed by the Council at its meeting on 22nd July 2010; the draft recommendation was set out in full in the report.
Representations had been invited from all interested persons, organisations, stakeholders and the public. Copies of all responses received to the second stage of consultation had been appended to the report.
Members noted a request by the Styal Village Association that the proposed number of councillors for Styal parish be increased from five to seven in order to avoid a number of practical difficulties that could otherwise arise.
Members were advised that in making its final decision on the outcome of the Community Governance Review, the Council would have to take into account the representations received. It would also need to ensure that community governance within the area reflected the identities and interests of the community and was effective and convenient.
As soon as practical after the Council had decided to what extent it would give effect to the recommendation made in the review, it would have to publish its decision and the reasons for making the decision. The Council would also need to take steps to ensure that people who were interested in the review were informed.
Should the decision be taken to establish Parish Councils, electoral arrangements would need be put in place and a formal Order made to give effect to the new arrangements which would then enable elections to take place in May 2011.
The final outcome of the current Cheshire East Boundary Review had not yet been determined, and this could have an impact upon the Council’s final decision for the outcome of the Wilmslow Community Governance Review, in particular the consideration of the detail of warding arrangements for any parishes ultimately proposed.
It was currently intended that the Sub-Committee would report back to the Constitution Committee on 18th November with a view to submitting final recommendations to Council on 16th December. However, the final report to Council might be delayed into the new year if the Boundary Commission’s review of Borough wards in Cheshire East had not been completed.
(1) the outcome of the Stage 2 consultation be noted and further work be commissioned on the drafting of Reorganisation Orders and on precepting information;
(2) the Constitution Committee be recommended to extend the terms of reference of the Wilmslow Community Governance Review Sub-Committee to enable it to make recommendations on precepting for any new parishes created by the Review and to deal with such governance, accommodation and other preparations as may be required;
(3) the request by the Styal Village Association that the number of parish councillors for the proposed Styal parish council be increased from five to seven be supported in the event that a parish for Styal is created; and
(4) those Cheshire East Councillors for the Wilmslow North and Wilmslow South wards who are not members of the Sub-Committee be invited to attend future meetings.