“Create, merge, alter or abolish”: Slough defines terms of Parish Council review

Slough Borough Council approved the Terms of Reference for a Community Governance Review on Tuesday in what could have far-reaching implications for the village.

The Review will focus primarily on the parished areas of Colnbrook, Britwell and Wexham Court and their electoral arrangements with a view to bringing about improved community engagement, better local democracy and more effective and convenient delivery of local services.

Government guidance suggests that it is good practice for councils to consider conducting a review every 10-15 years. Slough says that changes to borough wards following the Local Government Boundary Commission make this is a good time to engage parish councils and communities in a full review of parish boundaries and their electoral arrangements, and community governance arrangements more widely.

The Review will have a remit to create, merge, alter or even abolish parishes.

According to Slough:

Although the review will focus primarily on the parished areas of the borough, it will also consider other forms of community representation which local people may have set up in the borough and which help make a distinctive contribution to the community such as residents’ associations, community forums, neighbourhood working groups, tenant management organisations etc.

The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 also allows for parish councils to become Town, Community, Neighbourhood or Village councils.

It suggests residents and communities may wish to consider the following questions:

  • What communities do they identify with? These may for example relate to council wards, estates or neighbourhoods.
  • Would they like to see a new parish or alternative style of community or neighbourhood council in their local area eg community, neighbourhood and village councils? New parishes may be created as a result of the geography of an area, the make-up of the local community, or sense of identity. The Council will only consider the creation of a new parish in response to a specific proposal submitted during the initial stages of the review. All parishes must fall within the existing borough boundary.
  • What changes might they wish to make to the existing parish councils in the borough, their boundaries and their electoral arrangements?
  • What other (non-parish) forms of community governance and representation might be appropriate in their local area? Examples include residents’ associations, tenants’ associations, community or neighbourhood forums, area or community forums etc.

Initial submissions will be sought from 1st February – 30th April, with draft recommendations being published on 29th July.

Residents are encouraged to submit their views directly to the Review Manager by email (peter.edwards@slough.gov.uk) or via a dedicated online form.

Final recommendations and an Order are expected by the end of 2013.

Read the full details on the Slough Borough Council website.

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