About The Parish Council
Photograph courtesy Paul Rayner
What we do
The Parish Council provides a number of direct services to the community, and acts as custodian to a number of assets held in the 'public name'. It has one part-time employee, The Clerk to the Council.
Our principle asset is the Recreation Ground, off Sandfield, West Lavington (leased from The Holloway Trust). Home to football teams and public events such as the Church Fete, this is a huge space - big enough for two football pitches, a BMX track and two playgrounds - one for juniors and one for seniors.The Council has taken on the responsibility for maintenance, repairs and insurance for these facilities, including the seasonal cutting of the grass by a contractor.
The Council also leases out parcels of land for The Village Hall and The Youth Club, which are each managed by independent charities and trustees.
We are also custodians for the bus stops, assist with support for the Closed Burial Ground at All Saints Church
('the Churchyard') and the War Memorial
within, as well as The Millenium Cross at the entrance to Sandfields.
Although Wiltshire Council is the Planning Authority, the Parish Council is consulted on each planning application made in the parish. Councillors consider planning applications at their meetings, and inform Wiltshire Council of their views.
The Council provides a number of waste bins around the Parish including dog-waste bins at the recreation ground. A contractor is retained to empty these bins weekly.
At each meeting of the Council, reports from a variety of village organisations are often received, and Councillors seek to provide support where necessary in order that local groups can continue to thrive. Reports include observations on Footpaths, and any remedial work that may be required. Click here for more on our Footpaths.
Meetings consider various issues for the community such as speeding and volume of traffic, use of roads by large vehicles, inappropriate use of rights of way, facilities for young people, or items of maintenance in the 'public realm' that are appropriate for reporting to other authorities.
A budget is managed by the Council, supported by its Clerk, with funds provided through the Council Tax system. Each year the Council decides how much it will need to continue providing services, and to consider whether it should use its powers to expand its range of activities and support for the community. See our Governance
page for more details.
You can find out how local decisions are made on local issues by the Parish Council
. You can also link to the bigger picture at the Devizes Community Area Board
, the Devizes Community Area Partnership and of course Wiltshire Council itself, as well as all the other major public services.
The Parish Council want this site to support a healthy and vibrant community, making networks work and putting you in touch with as many clubs, organisations and activities as we can - if something is missing please let us know, and we will be delighted to include the details - just click here
Meetings and Access
West Lavington Parish Council meets on the first Thursday of each month, except August, at 7.00pm in The Giles Room, The Village Hall, Sandfield, West Lavington. The Annual Parish Meeting, for all electors, is held every May, in the Village Hall.
The venue is accessible on flat ground. Public seating and copies of the meeting papers are provided. If you would like to attend and have any needs not mentioned here, please contact us
and we will do all that we reasonably can to facilitate your visit. If you would like to record, film, or transmit from within the meeting, including using social media please let us know so that we can make appropriate arrangements.
Every meeting is held in public, and the agenda, along with all public notices, is posted on the Public Notice Board in West Lavington High Street and on this website. You can find copies of the Minutes of meetings in the Download Library
, or you can receive a copy by contacting us
A useful Calendar of Meetings
and other key dates for the Council is in the Download Library.
To find out about meetings of the Devizes Community Area Board, click here
There are two sorts of parishes whose boundaries do not always coincide:
the Ecclesiastical Parishes centred on an Anglican church with a parochial church council and
the Civil Parishes, which are part of local administration, having a parish (or town) council.
What is the Civil Parish?
A civil parish is an independent local democratic unit for villages, smaller towns, and suburbs of urban areas. Each parish has a Parish (or Town) Meeting consisting of all its local government electors and most (where the electorate exceeds 200) have a Parish or Town Council. Over 13 million people live in such parishes.
What is the Parish (or Town) Council?
The council is a small local authority. Its councillors are elected for four years at a time in the same way as for other councils. Bye-elections may be held to fill vacancies occurring between elections. The council is the corporation of its village or town. Each year the councillors choose a chairperson from amongst their number.
What Powers have Parish Councils to do things for their areas?
Parish councils have a number of formal powers. Many provide allotments, and look after playing fields, village greens and other types of leisure activities such as swimming pools. 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 meeting places.
How do they do it?
The parish council can do these things by actually providing them itself or by financially helping someone else, such as a volunteer or a charity, to do them.
What else do they do?
A variety of things. Some help social care schemes, or a local bus service. They make village surveys that inform planning authorities. Many provide car or cycle parks. Others provide public conveniences, litter bins and seats, and can prosecute noise-makers or litter bugs. Many appoint charitable trustees and school managers. Very often the cemetery or a closed burial ground, and perhaps the war memorial are managed by the Parish Council. Often, Parish Councils implement and co-ordinate crime prevention measures, as well as traffic calming initiatives. They have the power to improve the quality of community life by spending sums of money on things which, in their opinion, are in the interests of the parish or its inhabitants, and many kinds of activities are aided in this way.
How much do they cost?
Parish Councils are the most unbureaucratic and the cheapest kind of local authority in existence. Their funds are a tiny part of the council tax and they get no general government grant - so they have every incentive to keep expenditures low and be economical..
What else is important?
Parish Councils have lately become more important because a unitary authority can seem more remote.
The parish councillors know the villages and can (and increasingly often do) represent their views to other authorities like the Unitary Council, Health Authorities, Police and Fire Authorities. They are entitled to be consulted on planning applications, which include work to listed buildings and in conservation areas, and are often consulted on such things as schools and roads. They put the parish’s case at public inquiries. Recent moves from Government to greater 'localism' are set to increase the role of Parish Councils even further.
Who controls the Parish Council?
You elect its members every four years - the next time will be May 2021 - and you are entitled to go to the annual parish meeting (in May) and to say what you think. You can also go to every meeting of the Parish Council and meet the Council members and listen to their business. The accounts are strictly audited every year.