The Parish Council
Westbourne Parish Council works to serve the local community to make the Parish of Westbourne a better place for its residents. Councillors work as volunteers to represent the views of the Parish and aim to make a difference by influencing local decisions that benefit Westbourne.
Local decision making
While the Parish Council is limited in the decisions it can make, it is often consulted with or puts forward representations on a wide range of local issues, including transport, rural needs, planning, policing and national park issues. Often issues need to be addressed by Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council or other organisations but the Parish Council is a useful first port of call, knowing exactly who to contact and how to get things done.
The Parish Council has a monthly evening meeting where it discusses issues across the Parish, as well as a number of committees held on a quarterly basis which allow members to discuss matters in more detail. Meetings are advertised in advance and are held in public. Residents are welcome to attend to bring issues to the Council’s attention, find out more about its work and local issues, and join in local discussion.
The Parish Council has a total of nine councillor places. Parish councillors are either elected during an election year, which normally takes place in May every four years, or are co-opted to the Council – the process of appointing councillors when it is not an election year.
Councillors work together to bring issues to the attention of the whole council. They are held accountable by people for things that happen locally, and are responsible for being well informed on issues, understanding needs of different groups and consulting with them.
Joining the Parish Council
Residents interested in becoming a parish councillor or joining one of its committees should contact the Parish Council to find out if any vacancies are available. The Council welcomes applications from all backgrounds, no previous experience is necessary, and training and support is available.
The Parish Council employs a Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer who works as the ‘proper officer of the Council’ to support all of its functions, including its administrative and financial work.
The Parish Council has the following committees:
- Finance and General Purpose Committee
Meets twice a year to discuss matters relating to the financial operation of the Parish Council, including the setting of the annual Precept – money collected, on the Parish Council’s behalf by Chichester District Council, through Council Tax.
- Planning Committee
Meets monthly before the main Parish Council meeting to provide a response as a consultee on planning applications relevant to the Parish.
- Public Services Committee
Meets four times a year to discuss issues such as highways, road signs, speed limits, street lighting, grass verges, defibrillators and flower troughs.
- Recreation and Amenities Committee
Meets four times a year to discuss issues relating to the two recreation grounds and play areas at Mill Road and Monk’s Hill in Westbourne.
- Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Meets roughly twice a month to discuss the development of Westbourne’s Neighbourhood Plan.
- Business Plan and Communications Steering Group
Meets as required to discuss and implement the Council’s Business Plan and communications, including the newsletter, website and Facebook page.
- Southbourne and Westbourne Joint-Burial Committee
Meets four times per year to discuss all issues relating to the cemetery, and is managed jointly by Southbourne and Westbourne parish councils.