Cllr John Hunt – County, District and Parish Councillor

Many of us talk about ‘the council’, but do we really know what we mean?

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CONFUSED??? Many of us talk about ‘the council’, but do we really know what we mean?
I’m sure we’ll all agree, that the system of local government is rather confusing.
So, with the local District council elections coming up on May 2nd, I thought I’d attempt to explain the differences between the three levels of local government which impact our lives here in Comeytrowe and Bishop’s Hull.

1. Somerset County Council.
SCC are responsible for services across the whole of the county, like: education, transport, fire and public safety, social care, libraries, trading standards, highways, parking, etc.
Every four years we elect one County Councillor to represent the Comeytrowe & Trull and Bishop’s Hull & Taunton West Divisions, to the fifty five seat County Council.
At election time, you’ll be able to vote for just one candidate in your division, the next election is in May 2021.

2. Somerset West & Taunton District Council.
This is a new Council, is made up by joining the old West Somerset and Taunton Deane Borough Councils.
It covers a much smaller population than our County Council and is responsible for services like: benefits, car parks, recycling and waste, council tax collections, housing, planning applications, leisure, parks and open spaces, etc.
When it was Taunton Deane Borough Council, Comeytrowe had it’s own Ward with three elected Councillors and Bishop’s Hull, two.
In the new council, Comeytrowe and Bishop’s Hull has been joined together to make one large ward, aptly named Comeytrowe and Bishop’s Hull.
In an effort to reduce the number of councillors, our new ward will be covered by three, rather than the combined figure of five previously, thus a reduction of two.
Overall the new District Council has fifty nine elected Councillors, instead of the combined total of eighty four, so a reduction of twenty five.
Every four years, the residents of Comeytrowe and Bishop’s Hull will elect three District Councillors to represent us on the District Council.
On May 2nd, you’ll be able to vote for three or fewer candidates, so if you wanted to select only two or just one, then that’s fine.

3. Parish Council.
Operates at a level below District Council and can help on a number of local issues, like providing: allotments, dog bins, bus shelters, community centres, play areas and equipment, grants to help local organisations, etc.
Every four years Comeytrowe elect twelve and Bishop’s Hull eleven Councillors to their respective Parish Councils.
In the event of an election on 2nd May, you’ll be able to vote for twelve (eleven in BH) or fewer candidates, so if you wanted to select only five or just one, then that’s your choice.
In each election, if the number of candidates is equal to, or less than the seats available, then they will automatically be considered elected. Unfortunately, this is something that happens regularly at Parish Council level.

Finally, whether you vote by post, or at your local Polling Station on May 2nd, please do make the effort.
I believe it’s really important that we all exercise our democratic right to vote.

Take care,

John Hunt

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