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What is a Town Council?

A Town Council is a statutory body and is the most local level of government. It has an important role in promoting the town, representing its interests and supporting the work of different groups in the community.

What does a Town Council do?

Town Councils have a number of formal powers. Many provide allotments, and look after playing fields, village greens and other types of leisure facilities. They have a hand in maintaining or guarding rights of way, bus shelters, public seats and smaller scale street lighting. Councils are often concerned with the provision of halls and community buildings.

The Town Council can do these things by actually providing them itself or by funding other organisations, such as a charity, to do them through grants or contracts.

There are three tiers of local government, each with different responsibilities (sometimes called powers and duties in Council speak). The bullets below set out who has traditionally done what in Gloucestershire. This is changing because of the Government’s Localism policy, which encourages local Councils to provide more services. Already Stonehouse Town Council is funding services that used to be run by the County Council but have been cut, such as youth services.

Local authority

Responsibilities

Gloucestershire County Council

  • Education and schools
  • Fire Service
  • Highways, including potholes, tourism signs, gritting
  • Libraries, recreation, arts and museums
  • Public rights of way
  • Social Services and Youth Services
  • Strategic planning and some planning applications (mainly mineral extraction and waste disposal sites)
  • Trading Standards
  • Transport
  • Waste Recycling Centres

Stroud District Council

  • Car Parks owned by the District Council
  • Community advice and support
  • Council Tax and Government benefits
  • Electoral Services
  • Environmental Services, e.g. noise, pest control
  • Help and support for businesses
  • Housing Services
  • Information about local services
  • Planning Services
  • Recycling, food waste and residual waste collections
  • Restaurant and takeaway inspections
  • Sports and leisure
  • Street cleaning and dealing with fly tipping
  • Tourist Information

Stonehouse Town Council

  • Allotments at Stagholt Lane
  • Events e.g. Goodwill evening, Horticultural Show and ad hoc events
  • Bus shelters and street furniture
  • Planning application observations
  • Management of Fairs
  • Grants to local organisations
  • Hire and use of the Town Hall
  • Publications including Stonehouse News (quarterly)
  • Recreation areas including Oldends Lane, Laburnum Walk Meadow Road and Stagholt
  • War Memorial and Town Greens

Town Councillors know the area and can (and increasingly often do) represent their views to other authorities like the District and County Council, Health Authorities, Police and Fire Authorities. We are entitled to be consulted on planning applications, which include work to Listed Buildings and are often consulted on such things as schools and roads. We put the town’s case at public inquiries.

Our Assets

The Town Council owns a number of sites in Stonehouse.  These include:

  • The Town Hall building is owned by Town Council. Part of the building is leased to the Post Office.
  • Oldends Lane Playing Field – Sandwiched between two railway lines this playing field is home to Stonehouse Football Club, including junior teams for most ages for boys and girls. The Magpies Social club is located here as well as a play area where we are planning to create a new Skatepark.
  • Laburnum Walk Playing Field – In addition to the playing field and play area there is the Community Centre (which is run by Stonehouse Community Association).
  • Meadow Road Playing Field – this playing field has two play areas and a small basketball/football area.
  • Stagholt Playing Field – is located off Gloucester Road and provides a large recreation field for everyone to enjoy.
  • Allotments at Stagholt Lane.

The Council has responsibility for maintenance, repairs and insurance for these facilities, including the seasonal cutting of the grass.

We are custodians for the bus stops in Ebley Road (Ryeford), Pearcroft Road, one in Bath Road and two in Gloucester Road.

The Council provides a number of waste bins around the Parish including dog-waste bins at the recreation grounds and these bins are emptied regularly.

Our Finances

Money to fund the Town Council is raised through the Council Tax – it’s your Council funded with your money. This funding is called a Precept. Each year we set a budget and decide how much the Council will need to continue providing services, and consider whether to expand what we provide including our support for the community.  This informs what level of Precept we set. You will find this information on your Council Tax bill.

The budget is managed by the Council, supported by the Town Clerk who is the Responsible Financial Officer.

Parish and Town Councils are the most unbureaucratic and the cheapest kind of local authority in existence.  Our funds are the smallest part of the Council Tax and we get no general government grant so we have every incentive to keep expenditure low and be economical. The accounts are strictly and independently audited every year.

How Your Money Was Spent

Summary of Accounts

Expenditure

Past Year 2011/12

Previous Year 2010/11

Maintenance of grounds, recreation/play areas incl. purchases of new equipment

£83,967

£94,244

“Stonehouse in Bloom”

£3,190

£2,780

Transport/bus shelter refurbishments

£148,847*

£5,236

Festive lighting including purchases, erection and dismantling of displays

£5,066

£11,758

Administration, public advice, Town Hall maintenance, consultations and Grant Aid

£90,369

£82,954

Total Expenditure

£331,439

£196,972

Income

£231,390

£197,149

* Includes the contribution towards the High Street redevelopment scheme of £141, 921.75

Notes:

  1. Stonehouse Town Council is subject to 2 audits per annum:
    • Internal Audit carried out by Iain Selkirk FCA, an Independent Auditor from Malvern, Worcestershire;
    • External Audit (as prescribed by HM Government) conducted by Messrs Moore Stephens of Bath.
  2. Full Annual Accounts can be viewed at the Town Hall, High Street on request.

Get In Touch

Town Hall
High Street
Stonehouse
Gloucestershire
GL10 2NG

01453 822 070

townclerk@stonehousetowncouncil.com deputyclerk@stonehousetowncouncil.com

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