The Parish Assembly is held once a year between 1st March and 1st June. It is not a Parish Council meeting, but instead is called by the Chair of the Parish Council. It is a meeting of all the local government electors for the Parish, which the public can participate in. Anyone may attend but only registered electors of the Parish may speak and vote. Normally the quorum to run the meeting is 2.
The purpose of the meeting is so that the Parish Council can highlight its achievements over the last year and future aspirations. This is also an opportunity to enable the electors to have their say on anything they consider is important to the people of the Parish. One of the main objectives is to achieve a large turnout as it is an opportunity to hear from representatives of the community and there is a chance to promote some new ideas. In order to achieve a high attendance, a speaker on a topic of interest can be organised and the event publicised. At least seven clear days must be given and a notice and agenda should be displayed.
CONDUCT OF THE MEETING
There should be an opportunity for the public and press to express their opinions on what the Council are doing during the meeting. Many town and parish councils make this meeting a community event by providing refreshments, presentations from community groups and providing an informal atmosphere. The Chair of the Parish Council will chair the meeting. If the Chair is not able to attend, then the Vice Chair of the Parish will conduct the meeting.
CALLING THE MEETING
The Annual Parish Meeting is usually called by the Chair of the Parish Council. However any parish meeting may be called by:
The Chair of the Parish Council,
Any 2 Councillors from the parish,
Any 6 registered electors from the parish
Initially voting on a question is done by a majority of those present at the meeting and the decision of the person chairing the meeting as to the decision is final unless a poll is demanded. No votes taken at this meeting are binding on the parish council although they should consider them at the next meeting of the parish council. Only members on the electoral roll can vote on an issue. Other members of the public can attend and express their opinions but not vote.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q) Will I be able to ask questions and make suggestions?
A) Yes, any registered elector may ask questions of the Council, which will usually be answered by the Chair, the Clerk to the Council, or a designated Councillor. An elector may also make suggestions and comment on anything pertinent to the people of Bishopstoke Parish, this is the whole purpose of the meeting.
Q) Will Parish Councillors be there?
A) Although it is not mandatory for the Councillors to attend they would usually attend and will speak if need be. However, the purpose of the meeting is to enable the residents to have their say. Councillors will listen with interest and if they are residents themselves will have the opportunity to raise questions and make comments if they wish.
Q) Will notes be taken of the meeting?
A) Yes, a written record of the meeting will be taken and any comments made by the residents will be presented at a future meeting of Council for consideration.
Q) What happens at the meeting?
A) The first part of the formal meeting with speeches and presentations can last up to about one hour depending on those present, the number of questions raised and the discussion that follows. After the formal session the meeting is open to groups such as to local clubs, societies and other voluntary and statutory organisations to provide an exhibition and/or a representative to speak about the work of their group.
PARISH ASSEMBLY 2023
The annual Bishopstoke Parish Assembly took place on Tuesday May 9th. The meeting started with a brief speech from the Acting Chair, Councillor Louise Hillier-Wheal, in the absence of Council Chair Ray Dean, followed by a presentation of the audited accounts.
There then followed an illustrated presentation by Catharine Gale from Hampshire Swifts. Catharine focussed on the plight of swifts in the UK and what we can all do to help them. Swifts are the fastest bird in level flight, travelling at around 69 miles per hour. But their nesting sites are fast disappearing and Hampshire Swifts are encouraging people to install swift birdboxes on their homes. For more information you can find Hampshire Swifts at www.hampshireswifts.co.uk, or on Twitter at @HampshireSwifts.
The Assembly was then topped off with the presentation of the first ever Bishopstoke Champion award to Kieran Gillingham (see below).
Bishopstoke Parish Council was delighted to announce its first ever Bishopstoke Champion Award to Kieran Gillingham. Kieran works for the Environment Agency and has gained a wealth of knowledge about the River Itchen – the river that is such a major feature of Bishopstoke.
One of the nominees recently said “Kieran willingly goes over and above his duties, by volunteering as a bailiff on the Itchen Navigation and he has set up The Itchen Navigation Preservation Trust to help protect this wonderful river.”
Kieran is pictured here with Pam Glasspool (left) who introduced Kieran at the Bishopstoke Parish Assembly on Tuesday 9th May and explained why he was nominated as a Bishopstoke Champion. Louise Hillier-Wheal (right) presented the award on behalf of Bishopstoke Parish Council.
Many people from the community have witnessed the amount of voluntary work that Kieran puts into caring for our local waterways and the surrounding countryside and its wildlife. Here are some words from a few of them:
“Kieran is a marvellous human being. It was my pleasure to work with him on the Itchen dog step conservation project with Hampshire open water swimmers. He gave up so much of his free time to advise us and to dig chalk! He is so knowledgeable about the river, and it has helped to inspire a culture of caring for the river.” Rachel
“He works really hard to connect different groups, who are interested in the river, so that as a community we can seek to protect this precious environmental resource. His people skills, diplomacy, and his passion for wildlife and the environment benefit us all, and in particular the community of Bishopstoke.” Ellie
“Kieran is an incredible champion of Bishopstoke because of the work he does for the Itchen river. He gives of his own free time to organise a group of volunteers to keep an eye on the river and make sure it’s as good as it can be for all of us.” Sam