Town Council Duties & Responsibilities
What is a Parish?
A parish is either an Ecclesiastical Parish centred on the Anglican church or a Civil Parish. Garstang is a Civil Parish and has a Town Council to run its affairs according to its legal duties and responsibilities. Garstang Town Council has 3,500 electors.
What is a Town Council?
A town council is a small local authority and its councillors are elected every four years. Each year the councillors choose a mayor from amongst their number. There are 12 councillors on the town council. The councillors are all unpaid volunteers who operate on a non-party political basis. The council employs a Town Clerk, to carry out administrative duties and provide a contact person for the public, and a Lengthsman.
What duties and responsibilities do town councils have?
Town councils have a number of formal duties, defined by various acts of parliament including the Local Government Act (1972) and various Public Health acts. In practice, the Town Council looks after many things in Garstang that improve the facilities and environment for its residents and businesses.
How much money does the council get?
Parish and Town councils need funds to support their activities. These funds are raised by adding an extra cost known as a “precept” to each householder’s Council Tax bill. Parishes are collectively known as “local precepting authorities”. This means they have the power to raise a precept on properties in their area in order to finance the functions that they perform. Parish precepts are included separately on council tax bills and are collected by the billing authority on behalf of the parish.
Garstang Town Council gets no grants from central government. For the financial year 2015-2016 the precept figure is £65,637. The accounts are strictly audited every year.
What does Garstang Town Council do?
The council has a wide range of duties and responsibilities, many of them regarding the general upkeep of the town’s amenities and the representation of the town and its residents at higher levels of local government. We look after the Kepple Lane, and the playing fields. We have a lengthsman who walks the town and keeps it neat and tidy. The modern Lengthsman scheme is the re-incarnation of an old concept – a locally employed person to carry out highway maintenance tasks identified by the local community as important. It enables an enhanced local service with local priorities. In the spring and summer months, the Lengthsman carries out the cutting of grass verges within a contract between a contract with LCC and the Town Council The Town Council supports a wide range of local organisations with small annual grants and our councillors represent the Town Council on the following bodies;
- Garstang In Bloom
- Town Trust
- Millennium Green
- Lancashire Association of Local Councils
What else does the Council do?
The council represents the town and the views of its residents to the Wyre Council, Lancashire County Council and other official bodies to do with transport, planning and housing. The council is entitled to be consulted on planning applications and are often consulted on such things as schools and roads. Please contact the Town Clerk for information about the Council.
What does the Town Council spend our money on?
A summary of how the Town Council spends its money is included in the Summary Receipts and Payments for Year End 31 March 2015.
Can I speak at a Town Council meeting?
Yes. Council meetings are normally held at 7:30pm on the third Monday of the Month. Meetings are held at the library, Windsor Road. All these meetings are open for the public to attend. At Town Council meetings there is a slot on the agenda for members of the public to speak. At other meetings, if members of the public want to speak they need to let the chairman or the Town Clerk know before the meetings starts. The dates of upcoming meetings are available, along with agendas and minutes of meetings here.
Which Council Ward do I live in?
There are 21 Parish and Town Councils in the district of Wyre. Within the broader 14 – authority Lancashire area, there are 12 district councils within the Lancashire County Council administrative area, and two unitary authorities of Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool Councils.
How do I find out who my District or County Councillors are?
Please follow the links below for the contact details of your District and County Councillors. Your Member of Parliament for Wyre and Preston North is Ben Wallace, Conservative Party.
Further information about your MP is available on their page on the UK Parliament website.
When is the market in Garstang?
Garstang’s market is held weekly on a Thursday.
How can I get a stall at the market?
Garstang Town Trust runs the Thursday market. For more information on the weekly market stall – availability & rates: please contact Kate Rowe – 01995605561 or 07973133294.
Where is the nearest recycling centre?
The nearest recycling centre to Garstang is ‘Garstang Community Recycling and Re-use Centre’ at Brockholes Way, Catterall, near Garstang, PR3 0PZ.
The Opening hours are
Winter – 1 Oct to 31 March; Friday 10:00 to 17:00 Saturday & Sunday 10:00 to 17:00 Monday 10:00 to 17:00 Bank Holidays 09:00 to 18:00
Summer – 1 Apr to 30 Sept; Friday 10:00 to 17:00 Saturday & Sunday 09:00 to 18:00 Monday 10:00 to 17:00 Bank Holidays 09:00 to 18:00
How do I find out about leisure activities?
More information about the local leisure centre and swimming pool can be found here
What about playing fields?
Garstang has 2 playing fields at Kepple Lane and Moss Lane; both owned by Garstang Town Council.
Kepple Lane playing field is leased to Kepple Lane Park Trust for a peppercorn rent. The Park boasts a toddler playground, a play area for five to nine-year-olds, two sensory gardens, an outdoor gym/trim trail, a community orchard, a community veg bed, a performance stage, a bog garden, tranquil seating areas, a youth shelter, a willow walk-way, picnic tables, basketball hoop, football nets and more. Click here for more details.
Moss Lane has a toddler/pre school play area.
How can I get an allotment?
The Town Council has allotments on Hereford Avenue. They are in great demand and currently there are long standing tenants renting them. Allotments are allocated on a first come first served basis. You can apply for an allotment by clicking here or by contacting the Town Council office.
How do I get advice about housing?
Wyre Council’s web-site has information relating to housing and council tax. Click here to find out more
How do I get advice about benefits?
Information about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support can be found here
When are my waste bins and recycling collected?
Information on all matters regarding waste collection can be found here
Lancashire County Council is responsible for:
To report a defect(i.e. pothole, cracked flag/trip hazard, cracked/missing manhole cover, streetlight out, blocked drain, missing/damaged sign).
Report it online: www.lancashire.gov.uk/roads
Wyre Council is responsible for the following services:
Rubbish collection and recycling, Council Tax collections, housing and planning applications.
How do I find out about a planning application?
Wyre Council is the ‘planning authority’. Information on planning applications can be found here
Does the Town Council comment on planning applications?
The Town Council has a Planning Committee that reviews and makes comments on planning applications in the town. Residents can attend its meetings to support or oppose a planning application. You can contact the Council Office to find out when the committee is reviewing an application. Wyre Council takes account of the Town Council’s comments but does not have to agree with them.
How do I support or object to a planning application?
Find the relevant planning application using the search facility on Wyre Council’s web-site
Each current application has a link called ‘Comment on Application’, which you can use. If you contact the Town Council be sure to also make your comments known to Wyre Council.
How do I find out if I need planning permission for a change to my property?
Wyre Council is the ‘planning authority’. Information on planning permission can be found here