We asked for views on proposals to extend the Holdenhurst Parish to include Throop and to create a village council. The consultation ran from 15 November 2019 to 7 February 2020. The results and Cabinet Report will be available on line when they are published.
Why is a Community Governance Review being undertaken of Throop and Holdenhurst?
Following the receipt of a petition on 12 July 2019, Cabinet decided that a Community Governance Review be conducted for that part of the district of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
The petition sought the creation of a new parish of Throop and Holdenhurst to include unparished parts of Throop and the existing village parish of Holdenhurst, and the establishment of a new parish council.
What has already happened?
A formal consultation period, inviting initial submissions took place from 15 July to 1 September 2019. The results of this first stage of consultation were considered by the Task and Finish Group in making their recommendations to Cabinet.
What are the recommendations?
It is recommended that:
(a) the existing parish of Holdenhurst Village be altered to include the neighbouring village of Throop as shown on the map
(b) the name of the established parish be Throop and Holdenhurst;
(c) the style of the parish of Throop and Holdenhurst be set as a village;
(d) the parish should have a parish council in the style of village council;
(e) the name of the village council should be ‘Throop and Holdenhurst Village Council’;
(f) the village council for Throop and Holdenhurst consist of 7 councillors;
(g) the effective date for the establishment of the parish council be 1 April 2021;
(h) the elections of all parish councillors for the parish of Throop and Holdenhurst shall be held:-
(i) on the ordinary day of election of councillors in 2021;
(ii) on the ordinary day of election of councillors in 2027;
(iii) and every fourth year thereafter (2031, 2035 etc.).
What parish arrangements currently exist in Holdenhurst and Throop?
Holdenhurst village is an existing parish, does not have a parish council and meets only as a parish meeting.
Throop is not currently part of this, or any other parish.
Why was the proposed boundary chosen?
The entire length of the northern boundary of the parish adjoins the neighbouring parish of Hurn and is coterminous with the BCP Council electoral ward and parliamentary constituency boundaries. The whole parish falls within the boundary of the existing ward of Muscliff and Strouden Park.
The initial petition requested that the western and northern boundary of the new parish runs along the southern edge of the River Stour. Whilst the river is a strong geographical feature, the northern boundary requested would require an alteration to the boundary of the neighbouring parish of Hurn which currently extends beyond the line of the river to the south. Hurn Parish Council objected to the alteration of the historic Hurn parish boundary.
Why is a village council style recommended?
There are five styles available; Community, Neighbourhood, Parish, Town or Village. The style of the council does not affect what the council can do, but may reflect the area more accurately.
Why are the proposed election dates suggested?
Parish council elections are ordinarily held on the same day as the elections of the principal council (BCP Council), which are held every four years (e.g. 2019, 2023, 2027 and so on). This allows the costs of running the elections to be shared and increases elector turnout when combined.
The request to establish a new parish council mid-term offered three options that were considered:
- To delay the establishment of the new parish council until 2023, when the next ordinary elections are to be held. This was against the wishes of the petitioners and if supported would mean a wait of a further two years.
- To establish the new parish council on 1 April 2021, holding the elections in 2021 and for those elected to serve a term of just two years, with further elections in 2023 and then every four years.
- To establish the new parish council on 1 April 2021, holding the elections in 2021 and for those elected to serve an initial term of six years, with the next elections held in 2027 and then every four years.
Option 3 is the recommended option as it provides those initially elected a longer period to help establish the new council. An initial term of two years could discourage residents from standing for election as this will be the period when a significant amount of effort will be required in the new council’s establishment.
Why is proposed to have seven councillors?
The minimum number of councillors permitted to serve on a parish council is five. If the number of councillors falls below five, it is too small to operate and the council is unable to make decisions until it fills vacant seats.
There is a fine balance, however, on setting the number too high for the number of electors in the area and being unable to attract sufficient candidates to fill the seats. If the parish council is unable to fill the seats on the council these vacancies must be advertised with the potential of needing a further election.
The proposed number of councillors of seven is in line with other similar sized parish councils and would provide a ratio of one councillor for every 84 electors.
How do you decide the size of the council area?
If a parish is warded it needs to have electoral equality, ie each member of the parish ward represents approximately the same number of electors within a 10% variance.
What happens next?
The council will consider the results of the consultation and make recommendations to Cabinet on 18 March 2020.