Parishes are the smallest areas of civil administration in England and Town and Parish Councils provide the statutory tier of local government closest to the community. (Civil parishes should not be confused with Church of England ecclesiastical parishes and their Parochial Church Councils.) Parish Councils are independent from County Councils.
Town and Parish Councils are an essential part of the structure of local democracy and have a vital role in acting on behalf of the communities they represent. They:
- give views, on behalf of the community, on planning applications and other proposals that affect the parish
- undertake projects and schemes that benefit local residents
- work in partnership with other local organisations and public bodies to achieve benefits for the parish
- alert relevant authorities to problems that arise or work that needs to be undertaken
- help the other tiers of local government keep in touch with their local communities.
Town and Parish Councils have a wide range of legal duties and powers, such as the maintenance of community buildings and land and much more. They have the power to raise money through the local council tax.
The Parish Council in Stocksfield also:
- manages and maintains the sports fields and multisports area for the benefit of all users
- manages and maintains the two Play Areas
- produces NE43 News quarterly
- maintains the seats, footpaths and gardens of the Parish
- makes awards of grants that benefit residents of the Parish.
The work of the Parish Council is funded by a precept or charge on the council tax of residents in the parish. In 2014/15 this equates to a charge of £57.14 for a band D house.
In the future it is possible that the Parish Council will have an even greater involvement in the provision of local services.