Your Parish Council
Meriden Parish Council was created in Statute in 1894. The Rural District Council came into existence on 1st January 1895 in accordance with the Local Government Act of 1894 and comprised 17 parishes including Meriden. Parish Councils are the first level of democracy with a range of powers. They help with decisions on local services and Council policies.
Councillors are not paid and have to abide by a local government code of conduct. They must declare any financial interests in the parish – such as employment, businesses and land ownership. Councillors must also declare a personal or prejudicial interest in any matter being discussed at a parish council meeting.
Who makes up the Parish Council and what do they do?
Meriden Parish Council consists of a paid qualified clerk and a team of eight elected councillors who serve for a term of four years.
The council carries out the following duties:-
- Maintains Meriden Sports Park including Children’s Play Area and frontages
- Rents land to provide allotments and maintains the site at Leys Lane
- Owns and maintains the Village Green
- Owns and maintains two red telephone kiosks
- Owns and maintains Memorial Approach
- Contributes to maintenance of St Laurence churchyard
- Considers and comments on planning applications within the parish
- Provides and maintains bus shelters, seating and 6 dog bins
- Owns, provides and maintains planters for Bloom Winter & Summer planting
- Liaises with Solihull MBC and other partners to improve Meriden Pool
- Liaises with Solihull MBC and other partners to improve the village environment and services
- Contributes to maintenance of Meriden Gate Public Open Space
- Maintains centre Village roundabout
How is the Parish Council regulated?
Councillors are governed by a National Code of Conduct, monitored by the Standards Board. The parish council also has its own Terms of Reference, Standing Orders and Financial Regulations agreed by the parish council and reviewed each year.
Further details can be obtained from the parish clerk.
What powers do Parish Councils have?
Parish councils have a range of legislative formal powers, such as providing play areas, village greens and allotments. But they can also monitor the services provided by the first tier of local government, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and influence the provision of services locally by such strategies as commenting on priorities set in Solihull Council’s Ward Action Plan and Local Plan.
Local councils were given ‘general power of competence’ in the Localism Act 2011 s1-8. It gives councils “the power to do anything that individuals generally may do”. Eligibility to operate under the General Power of Competence is available to councils that meet two criteria set out in a law known as the ʺParish Councils (General Power of Competence) (Prescribed Conditions) Order 2012ʺ being
- The number of councillors elected at the last ordinary election or subsequent by-election must equal or exceed two thirds of its total number which should include vacant seats. Co-opted or appointed councillors do not count.
- The clerk must hold one of the sector-specific qualifications
A Parish Council meeting decides it meets the criteria for eligibility at that time; recording a resolution in the minutes of that meeting. The council must revisit that decision and make a new resolution at each annual meeting after the ordinary election that takes place every four years, confirming criteria is met.
Parish councils should also demonstrate that they have proven communication channels with residents through the provision of web sites, village newsletters, magazines, noticeboards, parish council “surgeries” and social media. It is also recommended that parish council’s write a Parish Plan setting out its own priorities for serving its community.
Who pays for the Parish Council?
Each year the parish Council needs to set a budget, by considering its commitment to provide services to the local community and raises its funds through a “precept”. This money is collected from all households within the parish along with council tax. Residents are able to raise queries on the budget and any other issues of concern at the Annual Assembly or directly with the council.
Additional funding is raised through bid writing for identified projects and sponsorship from Meriden’s business community or other fundraising activities.