Parish Council Homepage

Parish Council meeting minutes, dates, reports and legal information can be found under the various other tabs on the bar at the top of the page, to contact the Parish Council go to the bottom of this page.

What the Parish Council does and other information about Berden PC

What is a Parish Council?

The Parish Council is the lowest tier of local government. The Parish Council has little power but a reasonable amount of influence. Their main role is to exert influence on the decisions of District and County Councils. They are consulted on local Planning Applications, Highway/Road Safety issues, long term planning and wider community involvement strategies. A Parish Council is a local authority whose councillors are voted on by the electors in the Parish area and serve for four years. They are elected to serve and administer the residents of Berden. The Parish Councillors determine and set policy to cater for the social, cultural, welfare and environmental needs of Berden. Powers are mostly discretionary, i.e. they can be used to as great or little extent as their community wishes.

All councillors adhere to the Parish Council Code of Conduct and complete a register of interests.

Planning decisions are taken by Uttlesford District Council. They give details of every planning application to Berden Parish Council for the Council to review. They take into account the Parish Council’s views and comments on planning applications.

What can Parish Councils do?

Parliament has given various powers to Parish Councils. These powers relate to planning, provision of recreational facilities, community centres and public buildings, crime prevention, community transport, public toilets, tourism, allotments, footpaths, street lighting, certain aspects of highway maintenance, litter, open spaces, traffic calming etc. Powers were recently increased. They also act to represent residents of the parish on issues such as the Local Plan, problems with highways and bins, and with local businesses.

Where do Parish Councils get their money?

The Parish Council sets a budget every year known as the Precept. The money is collected for them by Uttlesford District Council through Council Tax bills. This is paid by the electors in the Parish. For 2014/15 the Parish Council set a precept (income) of £ 7,000. The Parish Council may also receive grants and income in other ways. They use this to help improve life for their local community in many ways.

What does Berden Parish Council do and who are the Councillors?

Elections to the Parish Council are held every 4 years. The total population of our parish is approximately 430.

Current councillors and their responsibilities are John Burton (Chairman and Footpaths), Duncan Murdoch (Broadband and Planning), Amanda Coomber (Vice Chairman, Emergency Plan), Jon Howells (Playgrounds and Fundraising), Peter Hewitt (Website and Playgrounds) Diane Holt (Financial officer) and John Riddell (Highways and Footpaths).

The Parish Council employs a part-time Parish Clerk, currently Sue Griffiths,  to implement policy decisions. The Parish Council also provides a conduit for complaints regarding such matters as overgrown trees, silted up drains, street lighting, sewage problems, grass verges and street cleansing. They lobby for improvements in highways, footpaths, road safety, broadband provision etc.

It owns and is responsible for managing the playground, Simon’s Field, the bus shelter, the defibrillator box (ex telephone box) and the Village Hall although the day to day management of the hall is the responsibility of a Village Hall Committee. It also provides an annual grant towards the upkeep of the village churchyard and runs this website.

Representation is made to other local councils where appropriate on planning and other matters. The council is able to bid for grants towards projects and expenses within the parish.

How often does the Parish Council meet?

The council meets every 6 to 7 weeks at Berden Village Hall. The meetings are open to members of the public. All meetings are on a Monday and start at 8.15pm. Members of the public can attend all meetings of the council and may speak at the meetings for 12 minutes on any subject on the agenda or other matters of mutual interest. Meeting dates are posted here.

How do I find out what has been agreed at Parish Council Meetings?

The Agenda for the meetings is posted on this website (here) and the  village noticeboard, you will find minutes of meetings on this website (here) or they can be emailed to you by the Parish Clerk. Minutes will be published within a month of the meeting and may be in draft form until they have been approved at the next meeting and signed by the Chairman.

What are the other councils in Berden?

The next tier above Berden Parish Council is Uttlesford District Council (www.uttlesford.gov.uk) which covers a much wider area, and above that comes Essex County Council (www.essex.gov.uk).

What is a Parish?

The Parish is an area with a defined boundary, both in civil (administrative) and ecclesiastical (religious) terms.

How do I contact the Parish Council?

You can send a message to the Parish Council via the Parish Clerk here

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