Formby Parish Council considering fewer Councillors and incorporating Little Altcar Parish Council.
71 To formally acknowledge the resignation of Cllr Gwyther and to determine whether to reduce the number of Cllrs to 14 for the present time, whilst formalising the process to re-draw the boundary of Formby Parish Council to incorporate the area known as Little Altcar Parish Council
The motion before the Councillors contains three separate propositions in a single sentence which makes it impossible to vote on each of the propositions individually. The convention is to use subsections and numbering so that, if necessary, the motion can be voted on in parts.
In my view, the present motion could result in unconstitutional decisions, and I've written to Formby Parish Council to explain my concerns, and I've also contacted Sefton Council Electoral Arrangments office for advice.
(2)Public notice of a casual vacancy in any such office as is referred to in subsection (1) above shall be given by the local authority in which the office exists; and the steps required to be taken to give public notice in accordance with section 232 below shall be taken—
(a)in a case where the local authority declare the office to be vacant, immediately after the declaration; and
(b)in any other case, as soon as practicable after the date on which, by virtue of subsection (1) above, the vacancy is deemed to have occurred.
The public response will determine whether there will be a by-election. (Local Government Act, LGA 1972, s87(2)(a)..). Even though the Parish Council wishes to reduce the number of Councillors, the Council was formed as a 'Corporate' Body at the last election and will remain as formed until the Principal Council decides otherwise, in the meantime the vacancy notice must be published.
On the second issue, I do not think Formby Parish Council can legally reduce the number of Councillors, whatever the merits or otherwise behind the reasons for their proposal. The number of members and the formation of a local Council is the responsibility of the Principal Council; this is Sefton Council.
Finally, on the question of the Boundary changes, this is a matter for the Boundary Commission and the Principal Council, in this Case, Sefton. However, that would require a Poll of all the residents in both Parishes. (LGPIHA 2007, Part 4, Chapter 3)
If Formby Parish Council suggests 'Grouping', another form of collaboration, this might prove easier to accomplish, but the wording in the resolution needs to be accurate. (LGA 1972, ss 11(1)-(3) and 29(1)-(3)),
I urge the Formby Parish Council members to clarify their intentions and options.
(Note 1- my source p26 Arnold-Baker on Local Council Administration, Paul Clayden, Ninth Edition)
(Note 2 According to the latest advice from Sefton, they cannot involve themselves because the agenda has been published. ((Telephone communication)).
Unfortunately, Sefton Council are quoted as having given advice earlier, as reported, in the minutes of the Environment Group Meeting on the 16th January.
10.3 The Clerk advised members that following the resignation of Cllr Gwyther she had contacted the Electoral Services Manager to enquire about procedure and whether the FPC would have the option of operating with 14 Cllrs whilst on-going consideration is given as to the process for amalgamating the 2 parish councils. It was noted that this would be an option and that it should go to the FPC for consideration at the next meeting.
Despite this observation, it might still be sensible to clarify the situation.
The full Formby Parish Agenda is set out below. There are other minutes from the various sub-committee meetings and they are available on the Formby Parish Council website
Notice of Meeting
All members of the Council are hereby summoned to attend the next ordinary Meeting of the Parish Council, which will be held at Formby Library, Duke Street, Formby, on Tuesday 7 February 2017, at 7.00pm.
Clerk to Formby Parish Council
1 February 2017
1.0 To receive Apologies
2.0 To Receive Declarations of Interest
3.0 Public Forum (the meeting will be adjourned for this item)
3.1 Presentation from Highways England on Port of Liverpool Access Scheme
4.0 To consider and approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 January 2017
5.0 Matters of Report from Previous Meeting – for information only
6.0 Planning Applications – Sefton’s weekly list email, also available on Sefton Council’s website
7.0 To discuss and resolve the following:
7.1 To formally acknowledge the resignation of Cllr Gwyther and to determine whether to reduce the number of Cllrs to 14 for the present time, whilst formalising the process to re-draw the boundary of Formby Parish Council to incorporate the area known as Little Altcar Parish Council
7.2 To approve the amendment to the approved signatories list “the authorised signatories in the current mandate, for the accounts detailed in section 2, be changed in accordance with sections 5 and 6 and the current mandate will continue as amended.”
7.3 To replace 6 trees on Halsall Lane and Chapel Lane at an estimated cost of £5000, including contingency, but with a proviso that match funding opportunities will be explored to reduce this cost.
7.4 To receive a report from Cllr Bennett and to consider whether to contribute to the replanting of trees and shrubs on Southport Road.
8.0 To authorise Payments (enclosed)
9.0 Chairman’s Report
10.0 Update on the Draft Neighbourhood Plan and Public Consultation
11.0 To receive the following reports – enclosed for information only
Environment Group minutes
General Projects Group minutes
Finance Group minutes
12.0 Date of Next Meeting – Tuesday 7 March 2017 to be held in the Meeting Room, Formby Library at 7pm
Members of the press and public are welcome to attend