New parish council to be created for expanding village

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Hersden is growing and in a recent public consultation held by Canterbury City Council there was a strong feeling from the community it needs its own voice.

That is why the city council, as part of its recent Community Governance Review (CGR), has decided to establish a parish council for the area which will begin its life next year and operate from the Hersden Neighbourhood Centre.

It is holding an information event on Tuesday 4 December at 6.30pm at the Hersden Neighbourhood Centre in The Avenue for residents to find out more about the plans.

Experts will be on hand to answer questions, explain the process and talk about life as a parish councillor.

Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, Chairman of the cross-party CGR Working Group, said: “Parish councillors are there to listen to residents and represent their views, decide the parish council’s priorities, make decisions and use their knowledge of the area to influence the decisions made by others.

“All parish councils are consulted about planning applications made to Canterbury City Council from their area.

“And they can can also influence the city council’s approach to issues like flytipping, parking and waste collection and are part of its meeting dedicated to rural issues, the Rural Forum.

“Kent County Council also listens to parish councils around issues like speed limits, traffic calming and potholes as well as the other services it provides.”

From the start Hersden Parish Council will be responsible for:

  • Maintenance of the play area and the BMX track
  • A small number of grass verges
  • Litter picking the park and BMX track
  • Some street furniture like seating

But once it is up and running, it could decide to provide a whole range of services that benefit the community.

Cllr Fitter-Harding said: “Parish councils need people who are willing to give up their time and volunteer to be parish councillors. Meetings usually take place once a month.

“In return, they get the satisfaction of being able to make life that little bit better for the people living in their area.”

To begin with there will be nine parish councillors. If 10 or more people are nominated to become parish councillors, an election will be held at the same time as the Canterbury City Council elections in May.

If less than 10 people are nominated they will automatically become parish councillors.

The new parish council will cover the original village of Hersden, Chislet Gardens and the areas of Chislet and Westbere. It will also include the homes proposed for Hoplands Farm, Hersden Colliery and, eventually, north Hersden.

The work parish councils undertake is paid for by council taxpayers through what is known as the precept – a sum of money they pay with their council tax.

The city council is in the process of calculating what the precept for the new council will be.