Parish Councils are the first tier of local government in England. Although there are often two higher tiers, District or Borough Councils and County Councils, Milton Keynes Council is a ‘unitary authority’ so there is only one higher tier.
However, the Parish Council is an independent body in law and Castlethorpe Parish Council does not ‘report to’ Milton Keynes.
In practice, most of our services are provided by Milton Keynes Council. An important role of the Parish Council is to ensure that Milton Keynes delivers a satisfactory level of service to the village.
The Parish Council is not a ‘Planning Authority’. It cannot approve or reject planning applications. It is, however, a ‘statutory consultee’ which means that it has to be notified of all applications within the parish and the planning authority – Milton Keynes – has to take note of any parish council view. If the parish council objects, then the application cannot be determined by a Milton Keynes Planning Officer but has to go to the Planning Committee of Milton Keynes Councillors.
The Parish raises a ‘precept’ or a levy on the houses within Castlethorpe. This is collected by Milton Keynes with the rates. The precept is about £33,000 a year or £70 per dwelling on average.
This money is used to provide a number of services within the village but mostly looking after the village hall and the sports ground. There are occasionally other projects such as traffic calming or additional car parking and pathways at the sports ground to which the parish council contributes usually by matching Parish Partnership Grants given to the parish by Milton Keynes Council. The Parish Council may also receive ‘planning obligation’ payments from new developments.
Parish Councillors are elected for four years - the last term started in May 2019 - unless a councillor steps down. The councillors are not paid. However, they do have a part-time Clerk and this is a paid position. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bureaucracy from the formality of calling meetings and issuing minutes, to actioning the decisions of the Parish Council and keeping a proper account of the public money that is spent.
The Parish Council meets on the first Monday of each month at 7.30pm at the Village Hall. There are sometimes extraordinary meetings, usually to consider an urgent planning application, or meetings of the Finance Committee. All these meetings are open to the public and the Notice of the Meeting has to be posted, by law, on the village Notice Board three clear days before each meeting.
The practice of Castlethorpe Parish Council is to hold an Open Forum for 15 minutes before each Council Meeting where residents can ask questions. Members of the public are not allowed to speak at the meeting itself by law unless the Chairman decides to suspend the meeting to allow someone to speak.
Each year, there is an Annual Parish Meeting. Although this is chaired by the Chairman of the Parish Council if he is present, it is not a council meeting and residents can put forward resolutions by lodging them with the Clerk with due notice. The resolutions are not normally binding on the Council but clearly good note would be taken. In practice, the Annual Parish Meeting is used to give the various village organisations an opportunity to give an oral report to the village.
Phone 01908 510590
Phone 01908 510562
Phone 01908 510941 / 07905 341601
Phone 01908 510406
Phone 01908 511169
Phone 01908 601005
Phone 01908 510922
Phone 01908 337928
Phone: 01908 510227
Phone: 07767 318326
Phone: 07970 062885
At its Annual General Meeting on 13th May 2019, the Parish Council elected Councillor Philip Ayles to be its Chair and Councillor John Keane to be its Vice-Chair. The Council has also made appointments to its Committees, for individual councillor
responsibilities and to represent the Council at various external meetings. All appointments will remain in force until the next Annual General Meeting. The statutory Declarations of Councillors’ Interests are available on the MKC website.
The Chair of the Parish Council, Philip Ayles, has issued his Annual Report to the village which you can read below. It is also available in PDF form as a special issue of Castlethorpe News, along with some other information, which you can download and print yourself by clicking here.
When I wrote my article in Castlethorpe News last quarter, I couldn’t have imagined what would happen. We shut the Village Hall, including regrettably the very successful Tuesday afternoon “Communi-teas” held in January and February, and put notices on the outdoor play and gym equipment, actually a little in advance of the Government requiring us to do so. In the light of the then “stay at home” advice, we also decided to cancel the paper copies of Castlethorpe News.
It is obviously very good that Udi and Dina have been able to re-open the village shop after having protective screens installed and great that the school has been able to open in a limited way.
As well as the impact on our way of life, there is also a significant financial impact as the Village Hall is one of our largest costs and the grass at the Sports Ground has to be cut.
We were able to find grant funding for Castlethorpe Sports Association, CSA, (which leases the Sports Ground from the Parish Council on behalf of the football and cricket clubs and tennis members) and they were successful in applying for a grant.
Unfortunately, the Parish Council does not qualify for a grant for the standing costs of the Village Hall and these will have to be met from the reserves that all parish councils are required to maintain for emergencies.
The Parish Council has taken over the maintenance of the grass verges and public hedges and emptying the litter bins in the village, which was formerly done by Milton Keynes Council. Below is the schedule for this year's mowing and cutting and the litter bins will be emptied weekly on Thursdays. However if you spot one which is about to overflow please let one of the parish councillors know.
Standing Orders and Policies:
Parish Council Standing Orders
GDPR Data Protection Policy
Disciplinary Procedure Policy
Equal Opportunities Policy
Freedom of Information Policy
Health and Safety Policy
Process for Co-option of a Councillor
Receipt of Gifts and Hospitality Policy
Reporting of Meetings Policy
Other public papers: