Lancing and Parish Councils
There are about 8,500 Parish Councils in England which were formed under the Local Government act of 1894, although not all areas have the benefit of having a local parish council.
Parish councils have powers to provide some facilities themselves, or they can contribute towards their provision by others. There are large variations in the services provided by parishes and in the number of residents it serves, which can range from a few hundred to over 100,000.
In 1974, the law was changed so that any Parish council could pass a resolution to declare its area a "town", with the council known as a "town council". The majority of successor parishes and a number of other small market towns now have town councils, whose powers are exactly the same as those of parish councils, although their chairmen are entitled to style themselves as "mayor”. Similarly, a handful of parishes have been granted city status and known as "city council" and the chairman is entitled to be known as the "city mayor".
Following the enactment of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, a parish council has been able to alternatively style itself as a "village council", "neighbourhood council" or "community council".
Lancing has retained its Village status and as such is reported to be the largest populated village in England, with approximately 19,000 inhabitants.
Lancing and Parish Precepts
The primary source of income for most Parish councils come from the Precept, which is a local tax collected by the District Council on behalf of the Parish.
This money is required to run the council and pay to maintain and improve the facilities, activities and services that local Parish Councils provide and is normally the operational cost difference between expected expenditure and income in any one year. A proportion of this money is prudently held in reserve for either future planned projects and/or unexpected events.
Since 2008, and helped by a number of operational efficiencies, the Precept in Lancing has reduced by 4% and is currently £220k (2011/12). This equates to £33.71p per household per year or 65p per week.
So what do residents get for their 65p per week?
Here are a few things:-
§ ELECTIONS every four years to allow you to vote for local candidates to sit on the Council.
§ An ANNUAL RESIDENTS MEETING in May of each year for you to voice your opinion on the important issues affecting Lancing.
§ Access to a LOCAL COUNCILOR, who will live within easy distance of you and easily contactable and will help wherever possible or sign post you to someone who can.
§ The right to ATTEND ANY MEETING of the Council or its Committee’s, (except meetings or part of meetings that may be confidential) and a time is reserved during every meeting for residents to ask questions and/or make statements on any item on the meeting’s agenda.
§ We are a formal consultative body for all PLANNING APPLICATIONS that are lodged in Lancing. The Planning Advisory Committee of the Council comments on all applications and will object to or support applications as it feels necessary.
§ A place at the table. Through LOCAL DEMOCRACY your Council lobby Adur and WSCC in an attempt that a fair share of the rates you pay to those organisations are spent to the benefit of Lancing.
§ We own and manage an asset base of over £2M on behalf of its residents
§ We own and manage FOUR RECREATION GROUNDS, Croshaw, Monks, East Lancing (Orient Road) and Beach Green. We CUT THE GRASS 28 times a year, which is more frequent than ADC or WSCC, and maintain and mark out a total of FIVE FOOTBALL PITCHES for use by local teams. On each of the recreation grounds there are CHILDRENS PLAYGROUNDS and have facilities for older children in two areas, a PARKOUR site at Monks Rec and a MULTI USE GAMES AREA and a TEENAGE SHELTER at Orient Road Rec.
§ We own and lease two CAR PARKS and two REFRESHMENT KIOSKS at Beach Green and Widewater.
§ We own and manage approximately TWO MILES OF LANCING BEACH and FORESHORE from the bandstand at Beach Green, east to Widewater and finance a BEACH PATROL which operates along the entire length during the summer.
Areas of the beach have been segregated to provide zones for specific activities, one of which is for the ever growing sport of kite surfing where the Council has encouraged and supported the sport and allocated safe training areas and PROVIDED A HEADQUARTERS for the local branch of the BKSA to operate out of.
§ We generate income from leasing 250 BEACH HUT PLOTS at Beach Green and Widewater and have changed the license policy to give local residents a fairer opportunity to own a beach hut if they so wish to.
§ We help maintain the NATURE RESERVE at Widewater and oversee the management of the area
§ We own and maintain TWO REST GARDENS (Headborough and Wenciling), a number of FLOWER BEDS in Lancing and ALLOTMENTS at Orient Road.
§ We own and maintain to a high standard the PARISH HALLS on South Street, where many local community groups meet and which is home to three weekly indoor markets. We have undertaken a near-complete refurbishment of the facilities and décor of the Halls and cater for a range of private functions and host local concerts and theatrical plays. We derive income from the bar concession and have meeting rooms for hire at competitive rates. The Parish Hall complex is also home to the local CAB offices.
§ We maintain the WAR MEMORIAL surrounds and the flower beds around the Parish Halls.
§ We own two NOTICE BOARDS located at the Post Office and the Parish Hall where we post local information.
§ We own a storage DEPOT at Monks Rec, which is used in connection with our outside works and home to the highly successful COMMUNITY CYCLE PROJECT
§ We provide LITTER BINS and SEATING and erect SIGNS and NOTICES as necessary on our land.
§ We have four successful BANK HOLIDAY MARKETS per year and consent to a variety of ACTIVITIES and EVENTS which cater for all sectors of the community throughout the summer on Beach Green.
§ We have reinstated the LANCING CARNIVAL and we aim to regain the responsibility for the CHRISTMAS LIGHTS in the Village.
§ We are working with a number of agencies and looking for innovative ideas to help REGENERATE the Village. The Council is working with the voluntary sector to refurbish a shop in the village centre, which is to be used as a voluntary and council information centre. The Council has also provided 50% funding for a regeneration study of the village, which is due to be completed in the spring.
§ We provide financial help via GRANT AID to the local CAB and a number of local groups and charities, which help sustain their existences.
§ We provide editorial for local press releases and the VILLAGE VOICE, which is delivered free to every Lancing household.
§ We employ an EXPERIENCED, WELL TRAINED and QUALIFIED and mostly part time work force to ensure the smooth operation and delivery of Council services.
§ We are TRANSPARENT in all our dealings and with the exception of those protected by law, all other documents and financial records are available for public inspection and scrutiny and most are available to view on our WEB SITE www.lancingparishcouncil.gov.uk
§ ALL INCOME, whether from the precept or our operations, is directed towards undertakings and projects that the Council believe will benefit Lancing and/or its residents.
Understandably the Council consider that the community is well served by the facilities and services provided by the Parish Council but only residents themselves can judge whether paying 65p per week represents ‘value for money’ in sustaining its local council.
Notwithstanding, the Council is committed to change and will not rest on its laurels and will continue to add facilities and improve services where appropriate to further its vision ‘…..to make Lancing a great place to live, work, visit and enjoy’.