History of Wetheral Parish

Wetheral Parish Council

The History of Wetheral Parish Council

What is a Parish Council?

Parish Councils were established by act of Parliament in 1894, with Wetheral Parish Council dating from 1895. They represent the first tier of democratically elected local government in England and are therefore accountable to the local taxpayers.

Because of their proximity to the community they are valued for their local knowledge and for being able to focus and express opinions about anything that affects the wellbeing of the community. Parish councils can play an important part in representing the interests of the communities they serve and improve the quality of life and the local environment. They are regarded by government as an established and valuable form of neighbourhood democracy and management. That is why they are statutory consultees on a variety of issues.

There are some 10,000 parish councils in England alone, 284 of them in Cumbria and 35 in the Carlisle District Council area.

Parish Councils have powers to undertake a variety of functions on behalf of their communities and to provide a wide range of local services which are important to their communities. Some parish councils exercise more powers and provide more services than others e.g. Wetheral Parish Council maintains and manages a cemetery and woodland burial ground, whereas most parish councils do not.

Parish Councils receive no central government grant and therefore have to raise almost all their income from the parish precept. This is the parish council’s share of the council tax. The precept demand goes to Cumberland Council which collects the tax for the parish council. Without funds, the council can do nothing.

In addition to the items on which the council spent money, there was much time and effort (if not cash) spent on many other topics and issues e.g. liaison with a host of organisations and individuals trying to influence their policies, views and activities and to help solve problems, all for the benefit of the local communities.

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