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Following the outcome of the 1894 Local Government Act allowing for the election of a council for Parishes with a population exceeding 300 the first Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council was elected in the December 1894, the population at that time being 2,800.
The Act said each Parish Councillor would have a one-year term of office. A Council would be made up of a Chairman and Councillors the number of which (between 5 and 15) would be designated by the County Council. The 15th April was defined as the annual date for appointment of a new Council and prior to this the previous Council had to retire in full and stand for re-election.
The Act also passed to the Parish Council the powers previously held by the Parish Vestries, except those related to the church or church charities. These included maintenance of closed burial grounds, possession of village greens and the operation of fire engines.
Following the County Council’s decision, at our first election 19 candidates put their names forward and the result saw the appointment of 9 Councillors with Thomas J Brown being nominated as first Chairman of the Parish Council. He successfully continued to serve for a further 20 years, dying shortly before the annual meeting in 1915 whilst still in office.
Since then the Parish Council has had 49 Chairman, many serving more than one term.
Today we have 14 Councillors
and 6 Committees
. Parish Council Elections are held every 4 years and the Parish Council welcomes nominations from people representing a broad range of knowledge, experience and age.
Parish Councillors are supported by a staff team – a Clerk (the Council’s Proper Officer), a Responsible Finance Officer (RFO), an Administration Officer, Administration Assistant, three Groundstaff, two Caretakers and a Parish Lengthsman.
The Parish Council meets on the second Tuesday of the month, and the Committees meet on other Tuesdays in the month. The Public are welcome to attend all meetings which include a section for public comment.
Peter Watkins, Bishop’s Waltham Parish, Town and Church Published 2007 by Swanmore Books.