There’s a vacancy on the Village (Parish) Council which may be of interest to community minded residents in Oxenhope. A summary of the vacancy, eligibility and contact details for enquiries can be downloaded here (PDF, 172 KB).
Please note, the Parish Council has recently changed its name to Oxenhope Village Council.
The following notes aim to give residents who may be interested in being considered for the vacancy, an idea of what is involved. The first two sections give a general overview of the role and responsibilities of the Council and what being a Councillor involves. The third section outlines specific features relating to Oxenhope and the last section sets out what the Council is currently trying to achieve in terms of objectives.
The Role and Responsibilities of a Village Council
Generally the role of a village council is to improve the quality of community life for their parish and its inhabitants. They can: –
- Give views, on behalf of their community, on planning applications and other proposals that affect the village.
- Undertake projects and schemes that benefit local residents. In Oxenhope recent examples have included community defibrillators and improvements in the Rose Garden.
- Work in partnership with others to achieve benefits for the village.
- Alert relevant authorities e.g. Bradford Council, to problems that arise or work that needs to be undertaken.
- Help the other tiers of local government keep in touch with their local communities.
What Does Being a Councillor Involve?
A Village Councillor is normally elected for a term of four years at each election. Sometimes councillors are elected at a by-election or, as in this case, by co-option during the four year period.
Village councillors can be from diverse backgrounds and of different ethnicity, genders, ages and beliefs. Their political views do not normally extend into their local council work. What local councillors do all have in common is an interest in their local community and a concern for promoting the best interests of it.
Councillors have 3 main components to their work: –
Decision making – by attending monthly and occasional ad hoc meetings, councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be.
Monitoring – councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working.
Getting involved locally – as local representatives, councillors have responsibilities towards their constituents and local organisations. These responsibilities and duties often depend on what the councillor wants to achieve and how much time is available.
Oxenhope Village Council
Oxenhope Village Council comprises 8 members plus a Clerk & Responsible Financial Officer, who is paid a salary for undertaking her duties. Five members were elected uncontested in May 2019 and two members were co-opted on to the Council in July. Following resignation of a Councillor, there remains one vacancy that can be filled by co-option.
The members of the Council elect annually a Chair, currently Ken Eastwood, and a Vice Chair, currently Robert Goulding.
The Council meets on a monthly basis, usually on the second Wednesday of the month. The meeting starts at 7.30, lasts about an hour and a half and is held in public in the Methodist Chapel on West Drive. In addition, further meetings are sometimes called, usually to deal with projects e.g. allotments or topical issues of the day.
Dealing with planning applications is an important part of the work of the Council. The Village Council is a consultee in the planning process; it does not make planning decisions as such, although views expressed by the Council are examined seriously by Bradford Council.
Individual Councillors can also undertake specific tasks in respect of part of the Council’s duties. For example, one Councillor leads on planning matters, others act as liaison with other groups, such as the Neighbourhood Services, Police and Parish Council Liaison group. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the co-opted member will take on extra duties, as the Council tries to match activities with particular interests, as well as taking account of time availability. By and large outside of the monthly meeting the time commitment to the role is not significant.
Oxenhope Village Council – Priorities, Objectives and Approach
The following gives a flavour of the work being taken forward by the Village Council: –
Neighbourhood Development Plan – The Council is working with appointed planning consultants and volunteer residents on a Neighbourhood Plan for Oxenhope, which is in an advanced stage and currently out for consultation (more details here).
The Parish Council sees this as a very important development in shaping Oxenhope over the next 20 years in terms of housing, land development and other related economic activities. This project is at an advanced stage and the Council is currently consulting on a draft plan.
Rose Garden – The Village Council has been negotiating an asset transfer with Bradford Council for 2 years. The lease has just been signed and the Village Council is now responsible for the Rose Garden. Working with residents through a Friends Group improvements have been made including the planting of Spring bulbs, Rhododendrons and Azelias and the reshaping and planting of the central beds. Six new benches and four new litter bins have bene purchased and will be installed shortly. A replacement noticeboard and a Welcome to Oxenhope sign have recently been ordered.
Horse Shoe Dam – The Village Council is purchasing the Dam from the Duchy of Lancaster, who own the asset on behalf of the Crown following liquidation of the management company put in place by Skipton Properties Limited. The Council registered the site as an asset of community value, meaning that it couldn’t be sold without the Council being given 6 months to put proposals together. Once the sale is concluded the Council will be seeking support from volunteers to maintain the site for the benefit of the village.
Community Organisations – The Council will work closely with community organisations for the benefit of the whole Parish.
Services – Many of the services provided to the Parish are undertaken by other providers, so the Council will do its utmost to ensure that these services are continued and provided effectively. In particular, this will involve close liaison with Bradford Council’s Ward Councillors and key members of Bradford Council, for example in Planning and Highways.
Making Oxenhope’s views known – The Council will make every attempt to ensure that the views of the Parish are known and heard, as far as possible, with the objective of influencing important decisions concerning provision of services and policy decisions taken by others. This includes the key area of planning policy, land allocations for new housing and infrastructure improvements.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) produces an essential guide for local councillors. The guide is a resource primarily aimed at new councillors but also can be for those thinking about becoming a local councillor. You can download a copy here (PDF, 799 KB).
For any further enquiries or questions please contact the Chair, Ken Eastwood or the Clerk, Janet Foster, or any member of the Council. Contact details for members are here and the Clerk’s can be found on the contact page.