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Annual Parish Meetings

A parish meeting is a meeting made up of the local government electors in a particular parish and is held to discuss 'parish affairs' which have no statutory definition. 

Parish affairs can be any item or topic that relates or affects to the parish of Thurston. It is an ideal forum for the parish council to engage with local residents.  It is also the ideal forum for residents of Thurston to voice their views and concerns.

The public have a statutory right to attend the parish meeting but only the government electors at a parish meeting have the right to vote at the meeting.

Annual Parish Meeting 2021 - Thursday 20 May 2021 commencing at 7.00pm in the Cavendish Hall, Church Road, Thurston. Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions, whilst this meeting is in person, numbers will be limited to the capacity decreed by the management of the Cavendish Hall.

If you would like to attend this meeting in person, please advise the Clerk to the Council - email: clerk@thurstonparishcouncil.gov.uk . An agenda is available to download using this link.

All Parish Councils in England are required by law to hold an Annual Parish Meeting between March 1 and June 30 each year and must not start before 6 o'clock in the evening or be held in premises licences for the sale of alcohol. The meeting allows the Parish Council and local Community Organisations to explain what they have been doing over the past year and what plans they might have for the coming year.    It is also the forum for electors to have their say on anything which they consider is important to the people of the parish.  

Anyone may attend but only registered electors may ask questions. An elector may also make suggestions and comment on anything pertinent to the people of Thurston - this will be welcomed and it is the whole purpose of the meeting.  Normally the Chairperson of the Parish Council will chair the meeting otherwise the meeting will elect a Chairperson from amongst those electors present.   It is also usual for Parish Councillors to attend and speak as necessary but the purpose of the meeting is to enable the electors to have their say. Councillors will listen and as electors themselves, also have the opportunity to raise questions and make comments if they wish.

Public notice of the meeting must be given at least seven clear days beforehand and must specify the time and place of the intended meeting, specify the business to be transacted at the meeting; and be signed by the person or persons convening the meeting.

The Chairman of the parish council, if present, must preside at a parish meeting and if he is absent the Vice-Chairman must if present preside. If none of the above are present the parish meeting must appoint a person to take the chair of that meeting.

In a letter to all council leaders on 25 March 2021, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP has confirmed that legislation permitting remote meetings will not be extended in England. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

In his letter the Minister explains that extending the regulations beyond 7 May requires primary legislation and, given the ‘severe pressure’ on the government’s legislative programme, it had been ‘concluded that it is not possible to bring forward emergency legislation on this issue at this time’.

The continuing progress of the vaccination programme along with the drop in numbers of cases of Covid-19 and the Government roadmap out of lockdown were stated as the prime key considerations in the decision. The concerns surrounding holding face-to-face meetings was recognised but it was stated that it is for ‘local authorities to apply the Covid-19 guidance to ensure meetings take place safely’.

Annual Parish Meeting 2020

The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 (“the 2020 Regulations”) come in to force on 4 April. Broadly speaking, the 2020 Regulations enable local councils to hold remote meetings (including by video and telephone conferencing) for a specified period until May next year. They also remove the requirement to hold an annual meeting. The 2020 Regulations apply to local council meetings, committee and sub-committee meetings in England. Separate legislation is anticipated for Wales.

The COVID-19/ Coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented in peacetime Government measures in response to the crisis (e.g. prohibitions on gatherings, social distancing, self-isolation and shielding of those deemed to be the most vulnerable) have meant that the requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person with all members present in one place cannot be met. The statutory requirements for meetings are mainly contained in the Local Government Act 1972 (“the 1972 Act”) and the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 (“the 1960 Act”).

Regulation 3 pf the above act provides clarity that parish councils in England are included within the definition of “local authority” in the 2020 Regulations. Parish meetings are not included within the definition and, as such, there is nothing permitting them to meet remotely. In NALC’s view, the current Government guidance means that parish meetings should not take place in person, including the annual meeting of the electors.

With the above guidance in mind, the Parish Council will not be holding the Annual Parish Meeting between 1 March and 30 June in the year 2020. Should legislation change, this position will be reviewed.

Prior to 2020

Copies of the minutes of past Annual Parish Meetings are available to view by clicking below.

For a copy of the Annual Report as submitted by the Chairman of the Parish Council please also click on the relevant folders below.