Eggington Community Governance Review: Stage 2

(Closed) About stage 2 of our Eggington boundary consultation

Consultation closed: Wednesday 30 March 2022
Consultation opened: Thursday 6 January 2022

You may have some questions about some of the background to this community governance review. We have set out some information below.

Where does this relate to exactly?

Currently, the parish of Eggington includes the new development called the Stearn Land, as well as a section of the Clipstone Park development area, Leedon and land known as The Pastures.

The plan below shows the current parish of Eggington in green. The development areas which currently sit within Eggington Parish are shown with a dashed line.

The dashed line is the extent of the East of Leighton-Linslade development area and the section at the bottom of the Clipstone development is shown with a pink edge; it is outside of Eggington Parish (in green) and is within Stanbridge Parish.

Map showing Eggington boundary

What is a community governance review?

A community governance review enables a principal council such as Central Bedfordshire Council to review and put in place or make changes to community governance systems and structures e.g. by creating, merging, abolishing or changing parish or town councils in the review area.

View guidance on community governance reviews, issued by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

What is community governance?

In essence, it is the way in which local communities are represented and governed at local authority level and through the involvement of other statutory and voluntary agencies and community groups and by the efforts of local people themselves. It is also about the way in which individuals and groups within the community are listened to and able to influence decisions that affect them.

Why do community governance reviews happen?

A community governance review can be a review of the whole or part of our area to consider one or more of the following:

  • creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes
  • the naming of parishes and the style of new parishes
  • the electoral arrangements for parishes (the ordinary year of election; council size; the number of councillors to be elected to the council and parish warding)
  • the electoral arrangements for parishes (the ordinary year of election; council size; the number of councillors to be elected to the council and parish warding)

What's our role in community governance reviews?

The 2007 Act requires us to take the following steps when a review is launched: 

  • publish a notice of the opening of the review
  • invite comments from the local community and other relevant persons and organisations on the issues being covered
  • consider those comments from the local community and prepare draft proposals for the review
  • publish those draft proposals and invite comments from the local community
  • finalise proposals after taking account of all representations received; and
  • make an order bringing the changes into effect.

Our principal responsibility is to secure community governance arrangements which reflect the identities and interests of the community, and which are also effective and convenient.

The role of a parish council

A town or parish council is an elected body made up of local people representing the interests of their community. 

Parish and town councils are the first tier of local government and are statutory bodies. They serve electorates and are independently elected and raise their own precept (a form of Council Tax). There are 10,000 local councils in England with over 30% of the country parished and 100,000 councillors who serve in these local councils, with over £1b being invested into these communities every year.

Local councils work towards improving community well-being and providing better services. Their activities fall into three main categories: representing the local community; delivering services to meet local needs; striving to improve quality of life and community wellbeing.

Through an extensive range of discretionary powers local councils provide and maintain a variety of important and visible local services including allotments, bridleways, burial grounds, bus shelters, car parks, commons and open spaces, community transport schemes, community safety and crime reduction measures, events and festivals, footpaths, leisure and sports facilities, litter bins, public toilets, planning, street cleaning and lighting, tourism activities, traffic calming measures, village greens and youth projects.

Is there a difference between a town and parish council?

No, they both have the same statutory powers and can provide the same services. The only differences are that a town council has decided that it should be known as a town council instead of a parish council, and a town council usually has a mayor. Since 2007 the alternative terms "community", "neighbourhood" or "village" council can also be adopted, but there is also no difference in their powers.

What constitutes a community, according to national guidance?

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England and the Department for Communities and Local Government have published guidance on community governance reviews which states that:

The identification of a community is not a precise or rigid matter. The pattern of daily life in each of the existing communities, the local centres for education and child care, shopping, community activities, worship, leisure pursuits, transport facilities and means of communication generally will have an influence. However, the focus of people’s day-to-day activities may not be reflected in their feeling of community identity. For instance, historic loyalty may be to a town but the local community of interest and social focus may lie within a part of the town with its own separate identity.

Some of the factors which help define neighbourhoods are: the geography of an area, the make-up of the local community, sense of identity, and whether people live in a rural, suburban, or urban area.

Why Eggington Parish?

We have received a request from Leighton Linslade Town Council calling upon us to undertake a community governance review on the boundary between Eggington and Leighton Linslade.

How does a consultation work?

The Association of Electoral Administrators recommend two stages of consultation be undertaken for the review in line with the approach adopted by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE). The first stage is to present options for initial views. The second stage consultation is to gather thoughts on a preferred option.

We're required to consult with local government electors in the area under review, as well as any other individuals and organisations (including local authorities such as parish councils) who “appear to have an interest in the review”.

We must consider all representations (written views) that we receive during the review’s period of consultation and will make all representations available for public viewing.

These views were collated, and a recommendation went to our General Purposes Committee to be scrutinised by elected councillors. They can agree or disagree with a proposal.

The committee agreed that we should proceed to the next phase and we are now at the point where formal proposals regarding the new arrangements are published and we are asking you again for your feedback.

If the change is agreed, we will then draft a formal order bringing the changes into effect including an implementation date and this will be publicly notified.

This consultation in a bit more detail

The consultation process will run like this:

  • a consultation letter and questionnaire was sent out to Eggington residents to explain the proposals
  • this stage of the consultation asked residents’ views on the three options for the future of Eggington Parish boundary
  • other interested individuals and organisations will also be invited to share their views
  • the first consultation ran for eight weeks, starting 16 September
  • all consultation responses (representations) were logged
  • following the close of the first consultation, a draft recommendation was published on 16 December 2021
  • this draft recommendation will be subject to a second consultation which will run from 6 January 2022 for 12 weeks
  • after the second consultation, all comments received will be considered against the draft recommendations
  • the final set of recommendations will then be submitted to the General Purposes Committee in May/June 2022.
  • the decision of the General Purposes Committee then goes to Full Council (our main decision-making committee), subject to agreement from the LGBCE

The change will be implemented in time for the May 2023 elections.

All consultation responses will be logged. Names and addresses of individual respondents will not be included in the central log for data protection purposes. Responses received from parish councils/residents’ groups will be highlighted as such and will be assumed to be an official response on behalf of the whole parish council/residents’ group.

How are town and parish councils funded?

Town, parish and community councils are funded through a sum of money called a ‘precept’ – this is a separate charge which is added to, and collected along with, your existing Council Tax. The town, parish or community council will decide what it will need for the coming year and that depends on what services and facilities are needed by the local community. Town and parish councils can also apply for grants and loans. A parish meeting can also choose to precept but only up to a limited amount.

Will a parish boundary change affect my Council Tax bill?

Most parish councils levy what is known as a precept to cover their costs. Once we know how much money a parish council wants to raise in a given financial year this amount is apportioned to individual properties based on their Council Tax banding. The apportionment varies from parish to parish, so it is highly likely that your council tax will change if your property moves into a different parish.

The 2021 to 2022 Council Tax band D charge and precept for all parishes can be found on our website by searching for ‘Full Council meeting’ and selecting ‘Agendas Reports and Minutes for 1 May 2019 onwards’ and selecting 25 February 2021. Alternatively, you can telephone the number on this letter.

It is not possible to say what future charges will be, nor is it possible to predict the effect of the Community Governance proposals on these parish precepts.

Town and parish council precepts are agreed annually, and would be subject to review, depending on outcome of this community governance review. The table below is an extract taken from the above list of town and parish precepts, indicating the current precepts for Eggington and Leighton-Linslade.