Your Town Council
What is a Town Council?
A Town Council is a statutory body and is the most local level of government.
It has an important role in promoting the town, representing its interests and supporting the work of different groups in the community.
What does a Town Council do?
Town Councils have a number of formal powers. Many look after playing fields, village greens and other types of leisure facilities. They have a hand in maintaining or guarding rights of way, bus shelters, public seats and smaller scale street lighting. Councils are often concerned with the provision of halls and community buildings.
The Town Council can do these things by actually providing them itself or by funding other organisations, such as a charity, to do them through grants or contracts.
Powers & duties of each Council
The bullets below set out who has traditionally done what in Gloucestershire. This is changing because of the Government’s Localism policy, which encourages local Councils to provide more services. Already Stonehouse Town Council is funding services that used to be run by the County Council but have been cut, such as youth services.
Glos County Council
Education and schools
Highways, including potholes, tourism signs, gritting
Libraries, recreation, arts and museums
Public rights of way
Strategic planning and some planning applications (mainly mineral extraction and waste disposal sites)
Waste Recycling Centres
Stroud District Council
Car Parks owned by the District Council
Community advice and support
Council Tax and Government benefits
Environmental Services, e.g. noise, pest control
Help and support for businesses
Information about local services
Recycling, food waste and residual waste collections
Restaurant and takeaway inspections
Sports and leisure
Street cleaning and dealing with fly tipping
Stonehouse Town Council
Bus shelters and street furniture including Town Clock
Planning application observations
Grants to local organisations
Hire and use of Town Hall and Pavilion
Publications including Stonehouse News (quarterly)
Recreation areas including Oldends Lane, Laburnum Walk, Meadow Road and Stagholt
War Memorial and Town Greens, Garden of Rest
Open Spaces and Play Areas at Arrowsmith Drive
Footpaths and verges maintenance under contract
Youth Centre and skatepark
Planning and Local Authority consultations
Town Councillors know the area and can (and increasingly often do) represent their views to other authorities like the District and County Council, Health Authorities, Police and Fire Authorities. We are entitled to be consulted on planning applications, which include work to Listed Buildings and are often consulted on such things as schools and roads. We put the town’s case at public inquiries.
The Town Council owns a number of sites in Stonehouse.
The Town Hall
Is owned by Town Council. Part of the building is leased to the county council for the provision of the new Library.
Oldends Lane Playing Field
Sandwiched between two railway lines this playing field is home to Stonehouse Football Club, including junior teams for most ages of boys and girls. Other facilities include a childrens’ play area, a multi-use games area plus a youth centre and skatepark have recently been added within the site. The Magpies Social club is also located here.
Laburnum Walk Playing Field
In addition to the playing field and play area there is the Community Centre (which is run by Stonehouse Community Association).
Meadow Road Playing Field
This playing field has two play areas and a small basketball/football area.
Stagholt Playing Field
Is located off Gloucester Road and provides a large recreation field for everyone to enjoy.
At Stagholt Lane.
The wood is owned by the Town Council
Open Spaces and Play Areas
At Arrowsmith Drive
We are custodians for the bus stops in Ebley Road (Ryeford), Pearcroft Road, one in Bath Road and two in Gloucester Road.
The Council provides a number of waste bins around the Parish including dog-waste bins at the recreation grounds – these bins are emptied regularly.
Money raised to fund the Town Council.
Money to fund the Town Council is raised through the Council Tax – it’s your Council funded with your money. This funding is called a Precept. Each year we set a budget and decide how much the Council will need to continue providing services, and consider whether to expand what we provide including our support for the community. This informs what level of Precept we set. You will find this information on your Council Tax bill.
The budget is managed by the Council, supported by the Town Clerk who is the Responsible Financial Officer.
Parish and Town Councils are the most unbureaucratic and the cheapest kind of local authority in existence. Our funds are the smallest part of the Council Tax and we get no general government grant so we have every incentive to keep expenditure low and be economical. The accounts are strictly and independently audited every year.