The role of the councillor is important because parish councils are the closest tier of local government to the people and as such are in control of many of the basic services that are taken for granted. A councillor must have extensive knowledge of the requirements of the local residents, recognising the needs of the young and the elderly in equal measure while taking into consideration the legal boundaries in which they work. To be eligible for election as a councillor a person must be over 21 years of age, a British subject, and be an elector for the area. Also, during the whole 12 months before nomination as a candidate he or she must have occupied land as a tenant or owner in the parish (or within 3 miles of it) or have his or her principal or only place of work within the parish. In Chivelstone, Parish councillors have no party political affiliations as such.
The number of councillors making up a parish council varies with the size of the parish – in Chivelstone we have seven. They are elected to serve for a period of four years and Chivelstone’s council meets on the second Thursday of each month, except for the month of August. Their work is entirely voluntary; no councillor receives any payment for attending the meetings. Councillors are entitled to be reimbursed for expenditure incurred on Council business according to scales laid down by South Hams District Council.
Under our present system local councillors have only limited control over how parishioners’ council tax money is spent. Their role is largely an advisory one in which they are consulted by and report to the South Hams District Council on local issues and corrective action is needed on any matters concerning the economic, social and environmental well-being of village residents.
Other topics requiring attention are litter or other forms of environmental pollution, refuse, and safety. The Parish Council owns and manages the Children’s Playground (in accordance with annual RoSPA inspections), the bus shelter, and public benches, etc.
Apart from attending the monthly meetings most councillors accept additional specific responsibilities requiring them to attend other meetings often outside the parish. These tasks cover such fields as crime prevention, environmental protection, special village projects, and liaison with South Hams District Council and with other communities.
The council meets in the Chivelstone Community Hall in East Prawle and the detailed agenda for each meeting is displayed at least five days before the council meeting on the four notice boards in the parish and on this website.
Much of the work is undertaken by South Hams District Council and is paid for out of the Council Tax but the parish council does receive a small sum from them which it controls directly. Our Precept is currently £3000 per year being approximately £16 per household and is viewable under Council Minutes
This covers essential administrative costs, management of the playground, the parish magazine, new grass-cutting machinery and in addition allows the council to donate modest sums to worthy causes that it considers to be beneficial to the village community.
The aim of the parish council is to ensure that our community continues to be an attractive and safe environment in which to live. Ironically, if it does its job correctly it becomes almost invisible.
Two of the jobs that absorbed a lot effort last year, involving countless man-hours, was the Parish Plan to which so many of you gave your valued time and input, and to 'this' our Parish Web Site which is growing daily but still requires input from parishioners, and should be the future place to look for any information regarding the parish and it’s surrounds.
The next challenge is to ensure that the Parish Plan, which are the requirements of the local people, is implemented, and our parish adheres to it’s many special designations, including: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Coastal Preservation Area,