The Council

What is a Parish Council?
A parish council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish.

As it is the authority at the most local level, a parish council is invariably the first place people will go with concerns or ideas. For this reason it is a vital part of any community. Sturminster Marshall Parish Council lease the recreation ground, own and manage the play area and several of the village greens, look after the War Memorial  and lease and manage Bartons Ground.

What does the Parish Council do?
The Parish Council has a very active role in the community, particularly in relation to planning and highways matters. Currently, the main challenge for the Parish Council are the budget cuts at District and County Council levels and the implications that this has on services to the local community. The Parish Council is having to look at raising its precept to fill the funding gap in some services as well as looking at external sources of funding. Parish Councils also have the ability to give out grants, subject to select criteria.

What powers do parish councils have?
They have a wide range of powers which essentially relate to local matters, such as looking after community structures, play areas, and much more. The council also has the power to raise money through taxation, the precept. The precept is the parish council’s share of the council tax.

When does the Parish Council meet?
The Parish Council holds regular meetings in Sturminster Marshall Memorial Hall. Meetings usually last two hours, depending on the agenda set for the meeting to discuss. The Planning Committee meets at the same time as the Full Council to discuss any planning applications in the Parish.

How long does a Parish Councillor serve for?
Once elected, parish councillors sit on the council for a maximum of four years. If they then want to stay in the post they can stand for re-election. Sturminster Marshall Parish Council has 8 parish councillors and 1 vacancy.