Parish Councils

Parish councils have existed since medieval times, when they settled local disputes and were in charge of agriculture and land management.  They have changed over the last 1,000 years into the modern constitution, which was created in 1894.

Flaxton Parish Council

Flaxton, formerly a village partly in the parishes of Bossall and Foston, was constituted as a separate and independent parish in 1861.

Flaxton Parish Council is a small council currently comprising five councillors normally elected for a term of four years (next election in May 2027).  The councillors choose a Chair and a Vice-Chair each year.  They are supported by a paid Parish Clerk who is the Proper Officer and Responsible Finance Officer of the Council.

The Parish Council normally meet in the Flaxton Village Hall at 19:30 on the third Thursday of each month.

What are its duties and powers?

Parish councils are civil local authorities found in England and are the lowest tier of local government. They are elected corporate bodies, with variable tax raising powers, and they carry out beneficial public activities in geographical areas known as civil parishes. The tier of local government above Flaxton Parish Council is now North Yorkshire Council.

The work of a parish council falls into three main categories: representing the local community; delivering services to meet local needs; and striving to improve quality of life in the parish.

Parish councils have the power to tax their residents to support their operations and to carry out local projects, and this is done through the council tax system. Although there is no limit to the amount that can be raised, the money can only be raised for a limited number of purposes, as defined in the 1894 Act and subsequent legislation.

Parish Councils have some general duties in carrying out actions, which largely relate to administration of the council, but also include a duty to consider the impact of all their functions and decisions on crime and disorder in their local area, and a duty to consider biodiversity in decision-making. However, compared to higher tiers of English local government, parish councils have very few statutory duties (i.e. things they are required to do by law).

Parish councils have a much more extensive range of discretionary powers which they may exercise voluntarily. They can help on a number of local issues, such as the provision of facilities such as litter bins, public seats, off-street car parks, community centres, play areas and play equipment; and may exercise powers to sponsor local events; make grants to help local organisations, community transport schemes; and to create neighbourhood plans. They also can assume the power to issue fixed penalty fines for things like litter, graffiti, fly posting and dog offences, if they so wish, but Flaxton Parish Council has chosen not to do so and leaves these aspects to North Yorkshire Council (see Useful Links).

Flaxton Parish Council has the statutory right to be consulted by North Yorkshire Council on all planning applications and ‘rights of way’ surveys in their areas, among other matters and would be pleased to hear opinions on these from the local community.

Structure of Parish Council Section

The Parish Council section of the website is organised as follows:

  1. Parish Councillors; Provides details of the Councillors who represent Flaxton Parish along with their roles and contact details.  Contact details for the North Yorkshire County Councillor and Member of Parliament are also provided.
  2. Agenda and Minutes; Provides details of the agenda, minutes and papers of formal meetings of the Parish Council.  These are grouped by calendar year.  Future meeting dates are published in the Events Calendar, which can also be downloaded to your Personal Calendar.
  3. Minutes Archive; Provides scanned copies of minutes for which only paper copies are available.
  4. Council Policies and Procedures; Provides details of the Policies and Procedures which define how Council business is carried out including the Code of Conduct for Members.
  5. Council Finances; Provides details of the Council finances including budget, year end accounts, audit reports and assets. These are grouped by Financial Year which begins in April of each year.

Transparency Code

The above content is required by the Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities which defines the information to be published by Smaller Parish Councils (those with Precepts less than £25,000 per year) to increase their Democratic Accountability.

The Transparency Code can be found at Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities.