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Local Democracy – it starts and ends with you.

22nd May 2016 @ 6:06am – by Sue Hardacre
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On Wednesday evening (May 18th) the Parish Council held its Annual Parish Meeting in the Community Centre. This meeting has to be held by law and it is where the Parish Council, and other community groups supported by the Parish Council, give a review of what has happened in the past year and invites questions and comments.

It is rare for such meetings to be packed out, but last night the turnout was particularly disappointing. In fact there was not a single person present who was not either on the Parish Council, or presenting a report. So there was no resident to hear about the changes to the structure of the Woodland Trust and their involvement in managing the new area on the Saxon Heath Estate, or to hear about how tantalisingly close the Community Centre is to starting the development of the rear room. The continuing success of Tarvinonline and the work of the Tarvin Educational Trust informed only those who were possibly aware of their work anyway. The challenges ahead to the Parish Budget, currently in good shape, were not really explored, neither were the failures of CW&C to respond in a timely fashion to requests from so many organisations.

Some may argue that the timing of the Annual Parish Meeting is wrong. The Parish Council did hold the one in 2014 on a Saturday morning, which was better attended, but it is actually illegal to hold a Parish Meeting before 6.00pm in the evening (Local Government Act 1972) There was no doubt a good reason for that decision in 1972, though it is hard in 2016 to think what it might have been. Times have changed in the last 44 years.

It could be, of course, that residents of the parish are very satisfied with the work of the Parish Council and those other organisations. But it would be foolish of any of those organisations to take this as an indication that they need not continue to communicate as best they can with the community that they all seek to serve and improve. So Newsletters will be distributed, websites updated, and social media explored as the Parish Council and the other village organisations continue to improve the dialogue.

Not all is doom and gloom of course and Tarvin continues to be a place where people like to live and where many play their part in all sorts of ways to make the village a friendly and welcoming community. But the structures that power some of that sense of well-being do need support and feedback to flourish.

PS The next Parish Council Meeting is at 7.15pm on Monday23rd May in the Community Centre. Members of the public are very welcome to come along and raise issues and ask questions in the Open Forum.

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