Why not become a parish councillor?

Unless they live in Bexhill (the only place in Rother not to have its own local council or parish meeting) most readers of the Battle and Rye Observers live in an area which has a parish or town council.

On May 5 electors in these parished areas will have the opportunity to go to the polls to vote in parish council and district council elections - as well as to give their verdict on the proposal that we change the way we elect our MPs (the Alternative Vote Referendum).

But why simply vote for your parish/town councillors? Why not stand yourself? Working to improve the social, economic and environmental well being of your parish, village or town, and those who live and work there, does not have to be onerous - and can be very rewarding.

Parish councils vary considerably in what they do but typically they will meet for a few hours every month or two and may be responsible for providing recreation and sports grounds, allotments, bus shelters, public seating, litter/dog waste bins, cemeteries or open spaces. The larger parishes (including Battle and Rye town councils) will also have committees dealing with such things as planning and finance.

To qualify to stand for election you must be at least 18 years of age, be a Commonwealth or EU state citizen and meet one of the following criteria:

(a) be a Local Government Elector for your parish/town;

(b) have occupied property/land in the parish during the previous 12 months;

(c) had your principal or only place of work in the parish over the past 12 months;

(d) have resided within three miles of the parish boundary during the previous 12 months.

Nomination Packs can be obtained from Rother Electoral Services on 01424 787825 or by email: elections@rother.gov.uk.

Once elected, you would not be left to fend for yourself. Your parish/town clerk will provide you with induction material and advice and you would be given the opportunity to attend training provided by the Sussex Association of Local Councils.

To find out more about what is involved have an informal chat with your parish/town clerk. Their details can be found at www.sussexalc.org.uk.

Richard Farhall

Secretary Rother Association of Local Councils, Banks Cottages, Mountfield.