Parish Councils were established in 1894 by an Act of Parliament, creating a civil parish which separated it from the church, which had a long history of delivering local services such as care for the poor, maintenance of the roads and collection of taxes.
Albury Parish Council was amongst the first to be created, and held its first meeting in 1894. It seems, from the parish records, that meetings have been held on a regular basis ever since, even through the two world wars.
How Your Council Works
It is the job of your parish council to represent the interests of the whole community. It does this through community consultation, in particular through meetings which are open to the public, and in which they are invited to participate, public meetings on matters of particular interest or concern, and through surveys and questionnaires.
The result of community consultation enables the council to:
- speak on behalf of the community to principal authorities such as the Borough and County Council;
- provide services and facilities, especially where there is no other provider or the parish council can secure better value for money;
- support community action and services provided by others: the parish council can offer buildings (for example, for police surgeries and public meetings), staff expertise and funding to get local projects off the ground;
- work in partnership with community groups, voluntary organisations and other local authorities, including neighbouring parish councils, to benefit the community.
The Parish Council also:
- Responds to Planning Applications: Parish Councils have a legal right to ask for copies of planning applications and to express their views to the authority. Whilst the planning authority does not have to agree, it must consider the parish view.
- Liaises with statutory authorities on highway and footpath problems: The Parish Council has also taken responsibility and obtained funding for work to improve the appearance of the village by providing a new bus shelter, clearing the area around the Tillingbourne and erecting new and more environmentally sensitive fencing. The Parish Council has arranged for a number of footpaths around the village to be cleared, for the better enjoyment of walkers, both local and visitors.
- Provides a village hall for the use of the community: The village hall is rented from the Albury Estate and managed by the Parish Council for community and other use. A commercial rent is charged for use of the hall, but this is discounted for village societies and organisations. The parish council also rents a small meeting room adjoining the hall, called the Memorial Library, which houses the Parish Council office.
- Manages the recreation ground: The recreation ground, situated at Westonfields, is owned and managed by the Parish Council for the benefit of the village. The Council provides and maintains two sets of swings, one for older children and one for toddlers, an adventure unit, a basketball net and two football posts with nets, together with a picnic table and seating. There is also adult fitness equipment available.
- Provides cricket nets: The parish council has provided cricket nets next to the cricket club at Albury Heath, for the use of both the cricketers at the club and the whole parish. With over 100 children playing cricket on a Friday evening in the summer, these nets are well used!
- Acts as Liaison: The Parish Council has set up and facilitated liaison meetings with SITA, who run the landfill site, IGas (previously Star Energy), who have explored for gas under Albury and who are now planning to install a Liquefied Natural Gas plant at their Albury site, and Gasrec, who are reclaiming LNG from the landfill site. This enables residents’ concerns to be discussed and addressed, and for the operations of all organisations who have an impact on the Parish to be kept in the public eye.
- Gives grants and support to local societies: The Parish Council sets aside money each year to provide support for local societies. It also organises an annual carol concert, the proceeds from which are given to a local society.
How Your Parish Council Can Be Of Help To You
There is a lot your Parish Council can do to be of assistance. We can:
- Respond to planning applications with knowledge both of the village history and the Borough Council’s planning regulations. We listen to local residents concerns and where appropriate support these at borough council;
- Act as liaison on highway matters, reporting problems such as potholes and following up outstanding matters;
- Act as a signpost to local organisations, statutory authorities and the voluntary sector;
- Give grants to local organisations for specific projects;
- Address and give advice on specific concerns, whether it be noise from the gas appraisal site, smells from the landfill site, litter, overhanging hedges, common land issues, and much more. If we don’t have the answer to a problem or issue, we will know the direction to guide you.
- Register a Neighbourhood Plan Area and after neighbourhood consultation apply to GBC for adoption.