Colney Heath Parish Council is the first and local tier of local government. Colney Heath Parish Council was formed in 1947. There are three wards in the Parish – Colney Heath, Highfield and Hill End and these cover the areas of Highfield Park, Oaklands, Colney Heath, Smallford, Sleapshyde, and Tyttenhanger. Covering a wide and diverse area of St Albans with a population of approximately 6,418 residents.
The parish council has an important role to play in the promotion of the parish, representing its interests and supporting the work of different groups within the community. The purpose of a parish council is to meet to discuss and debate local issues.
Some of the many responsibilities of Colney Heath Parish Council include:-
- The Common and access, including Furze Field and Warren Track
- Parish-owned buildings and land within the village of Colney Heath
- Play areas – Roestock, High Street, Tyttenhanger & Sleapshyde
- Riparian ownership of the river Colne passing through the Common
- The High Street Pavilion and recreation ground
- Notice Boards
- Bus Shelters
- Dog waste bins in the parish
The work of the council is controlled through a series of committees reporting to the council meetings. The Council provides facilities and services to the parish it works in partnership with the whole community.
Colney Heath Parish Council meets on dates published in the calendar. There is an opportunity for residents and members of the public to speak or comment on an item on an agenda, the Council encourages polite and respectful engagement. At the meeting the Chairman will invite members of the public to address the council within public session.
Meetings are held around the parish. Meetings have been held at the Village Hall, 83 High Street, AL4 0NS, Charles Morris Hall, Tyttenhanger Green, AL4 0RN, Highfield Park Trust Visitor Centre and Colney Heath School.
Residents elect nine parish councillors every four years currently four from Colney Heath ward, one from Hill End ward and four from Highfield ward. The Council elects a Chairman and Vice-Chairman annually at the Annual Parish Council meeting in May. Councillors are unpaid and commit their time to improving the parish and maintaining at an attractive and sustainable place in which to work, live and visit. Elections were last held on Thursday 2nd May 2019 and new Councillors took office on Tuesday 7th May 2019 and will serve until May 2023.
The General Power of Competence
The General Power of Competence was provided for in the Localism Act 2011 s1 – 8 and gives local councils ‘the power to do anything that individuals generally may do’ as long as they don’t break other laws.
There are two criteria for councils to qualify:
- the Clerk must be qualified with a recognised sector-specific qualification such as CiLCA or Level 4 qualification of the Foundation Degree in Community Governance;
- two thirds of the council members must have been elected at the last ordinary meeting. In the case of Colney Heath Parish Council this equals 6 councillors.
The council may confirm its eligibility once the criteria are met and thereafter must confirm its eligibility at the first appropriate annual meeting after an election.
Restrictions would be:
- if there are other statutory duties with compliance to other legislation;
- financial duties;
- statutory permissions from other authorities;
- health and safety and employment law.
Risks would include:
- inadequate community support;
- damage to other shops / businesses;
- if the project went wrong.
This Council operates under General Power of Competence since adopted 16 May 2019 ref: 19/20-11