Great Ashby invited to vote for Community Councillors


The first ever elections for a new Great Ashby Community Council take place on Thursday 5 May, and local residents are being encouraged to stand as councillors.

Following a review conducted by North Herts District Council (NHDC), which took on board the views of local residents, community groups and other organisations, the existing parish of Graveley will be divided along Weston Road creating a new parish for Great Ashby.

As of 1 April, there will be separate administrative arrangements for the village of Graveley, which will continue to be served by the Parish Council, and Great Ashby, which will be represented by the new Community Council.  This will cover the areas that are currently served by NHDC, but not the households that are within Stevenage Borough Council’s jurisdiction.

During the review of the existing parish, it became clear that a significant majority of people felt that two separate parishes would be better for both areas.  Graveley, with its population of just over 400, has very different requirements to the much newer development of Great Ashby with nearly ten times the population.

Residents in Great Ashby are now being invited to stand in the inaugural council elections at which a maximum of 12 new parish councillors could be elected to the first Community Council.  The elections will take place on 5 May 2011.

Cllr Tricia Cowley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for community engagement and rural affairs, said: “This is an opportunity for people to become part of the first council to represent residents of Great Ashby.  We want people of all backgrounds, ages and experience to get involved so that the needs of the community are best served.

“The parish council is the basic building block of local government in England, and plays an important role in the community.  What the parish does and how much money it raises to do it will be up to the new Great Ashby Community Council.

“Being a parish councillor does not require a huge commitment in terms of time, and it can quite easily fit around a full-time job.  You don’t have to be connected to a political party – all it takes is a desire to work for the good of the local area.”

Some of the issues a parish councillor might be involved with include:

  • managing open spaces, play areas, village halls or community car schemes
  • deciding on how much to raise through the council tax in order to deliver your council’s services
  • influencing and shaping the long term development policy for the parish, and commenting on planning applications
  • improving the quality of life and the environment in the local area
  • working to identify issues which are important to the lives of the residents you represent
  • helping to bring about improvements through local projects, or working in partnership with other parishes and agencies

The deadline for receiving nominations for election to the Great Ashby Community Council or the Graveley Parish Council is midday, Monday April 4.

If anyone wants to find out more about the role of a parish councillor, or how to stand in the upcoming elections, contact David Miley on 01462 474208 or by email at david.miley@north-herts.gov.uk.

Further information about parish councils is also available at the National Association of Local Councils’ website, www.nalc.gov.uk

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