The Council year runs from May
The year starts at the annual meeting when a Chair and Vice Chair are elected by the councillors. There has to be a quorum to pass resolutions (minimum of either three Councillors or one third of the Council).
A Parish Council in a rural area is the same as a Town Council in towns. Councillors are elected for a 4 year term. If a vacancy occurs during this term, it can be filled by either an election or by co-option. The last election (for the whole Parish Council) was held in May 2019.
Who we are
A little information about the current Councillors and Staff is available here.
We are a non-political council and all Parish Councillors are volunteers. Councillors and Staff can be contacted at the following address :
Backwell Parish Council, 43 Rodney Road, Backwell, North Somerset, BS48 3HW
What do we do as Councillors?
A Council must do what Parliament requires it to do and must only do what Parliament says it may do.
One of the most important things we do is to set a local precept (tax) for the year which is used to fund all expenditure by the Council. We give grants to local voluntary organisations who ask for help. This is not automatic and has to be approved by the Council.
We may put pressure on other organisations (i.e. Members of the European Parliament, or local MPs). We are non political and all Parish Councillors are volunteers.
Our Code of Conduct, adopted by Backwell Parish Council 4th October 2012 is available.
Part of the regular work of a Parish council is informing and contributing to North Somerset Council’s planning system. In addition we respond to consultations relating to major proposals in and around our Parish. For example, we have a Working Party looking at development of the village until 2036, trying to influence and inform the West of England Joint Spatial Plan and the North Somerset Council Local Plan and Bristol International Airport.
We organise several events to foster good community relations.
What can’t we do as Councillors?
A Council must not do anything unless it has a legal power to act, granted by Parliament.
This is most important as we have to ask this question when making decisions, especially if it involves spending public money. We do, however, have a power (section 137 local government act 1972) to spend money where there is no other specific power governing the action.
A little bit of history
Parish Councils (not now connected to Churches or parochial church councils in any way) are the lowest / most devolved level of Government and were first formed in 1894 by an Act of Parliament. Before that, all local matters were dealt with by the Church. The initial problem was the lack of literacy of the Parishioners. The leaders in the Villages were the Squires (because of their wealth), and the Parson. Even after the 1894 act was passed, it took about 60 years for councils to emerge as an effective level of local Government. A Parish Council in a rural area is the same as a Town Council in towns.
All of the Council’s meetings take place in Backwell Parish Hall
- 2 per year, the first usually takes place in April (Annual Parishioners Meeting), and the second in May (Annual Meeting of Council)
- 7.30pm, usually held on the first Thursday of the month
- Open to the public
- 7.00m, usually third Thursday of the month
- Open to the public
- These are not official Council Meetings and are not open to the public
Backwell is a thriving village in North Somerset of about 4,500 people
It has excellent transport facilities including bus and car travel to Bristol and Weston super Mare, motorways (M5), its own railway station (including direct to London Paddington and Cardiff) and Bristol International Airport.
There are many fantastic sports clubs, cultural facilities, outstanding schools for all age levels, a village club / several pubs and beautiful countryside.
Backwell also has several valuable health services, including a General Practice Medical Centre, a Dental Practice, Pharmacy and defibrillators.
Further information can be obtained from useful contacts.