What do you picture when you hear the words parish council?
Is it a scene from The Vicar of Dibley?
Or that infamous Zoom meeting from Handforth Parish Council?
In truth, parish council meetings are neither as dramatic nor as funny as those examples.
I’ve been a parish councilor for six years so I should know.
I have sat through about 220 hours of parish council meetings, mostly in person but exclusively on Zoom for the past year.
The agenda rarely changes: any urgent matters, planning applications, financial reports, local government reports, updates from parish council projects (garden of remembrance, playing field, play park, village hall, traffic calming), correspondence from residents and longstanding items such as how to improve the mobile phone signal in our blackspot of a village.
Dog poo is one of the hot topics that refuses to go away: either dog owners not picking it up or the designated bins being too full.
Our community is under a much bigger threat than dog poo, however.
Planning applications arrive all the time. In recent years the Parish Council has been bombarded with applications for new housing developments, a retirement complex and even an entire new village! It was tiring submitting objections to all these planning applications, especially when those objections were frequently ignored.
Local elections take place next month, and after serving six years, I have decided that this is the perfect time to step down from my role.
It has been a good experience but I’m happy to let someone deal with the planning applications, local politics and dog poo.
It is not as entertaining as The Vicar of Dibley or as dramatic as Handforth Parish Council, but it is important work.