On behalf of the Town Council, I would like to encourage you to consider putting yourself forward as a prospective Town Councillor.
Buckfastleigh has a dynamic and active Council – we see our role as champions for the parish of Buckfastleigh (which includes Buckfast!). We seek to…
- represent and advocate for our community in its relations with central & regional government and other authorities…
- support & work in partnership with community groups and local initiatives for benefit of the community…
- provide what limited services we can directly.
We have a fairly limited amount of money available and limited powers, but also some influence, lots of energy and enthusiasm and endless opportunities & possibilities!
Whether or not you are already engaged with working with local groups or projects, if you would like to be part of a team that is thinking about the direction and future of our town and working with other local people to build and improve our community, then please read on. We live in busy times and it is often hard to imagine where we could find an extra hour or two per week but it can be immensely rewarding and inspiring to work together for something close to our hearts…
We are keen to encourage people from all walks of life and all ages (though you have to be over 18), to take part. Please don’t assume that you don’t have anything to offer or that you are not ‘the right sort of person’ – we would like to get all sorts of people involved and coax out those who might not immediately think of themselves as councillors, to ensure that the parish benefits from different perspectives and the council represents a broad section of the population.
Town Councillors are volunteers and are appointed for 4 year cycles (this one started in May 2019) or, if they start part-way through a cycle, for whatever period remains till the next cycle begins, which will be in May 2023. If appointed, there is opportunity to get involved in as much as you want, but you will need at least a couple of hours free a couple of times each month, to attend council meetings.
Four years can be a long time to be engaged with a dynamic and active council and people’s commitments, responsibilities and health change over time. Because of this there may be one or two positions on the council each year that become available. If you would like to be considered for one if it comes up, please contact Judith the Town Clerk and leave your details. Please make sure you are eligible to become a town/parish councillor – the main requirement is that you are a British citizen aged at least 18 and have lived or worked within 3 miles of the parish of Buckfastleigh/ Buckfast for the last 12 months but there are some reasons you might be exempt. Here you can read the eligibility criteria (pdf). Those wishing to put themselves forward to be a Town Councillor will need to complete this Declaration (pdf).
When a place on the council becomes vacant, this is publicised and anyone who wishes to stand can put their name forward to the Town Council. The council can then select someone from any candidates that put themselves forward, unless during the 14 days after the notices are publicised, 10 residents request (to TDC in writing) that an election be held. This can be useful for instance, if there are more potential candidates than seats, when it would be the most democratic option, but it does cost the Town more than £3,000 a time. If for some reason you don’t manage to become a councillor, we would still welcome you to get involved with our work – there is plenty to do!
If you are not ready to commit to being a councillor but feel you might want to get more involved with the work of the council, there are other opportunities to do so – take a look at ways to become involved.
We are very pleased to welcome and support anyone who wants to get involved in the activities of the council and one of the existing councillors will be happy to meet with you and explain how it all works and what you might take the opportunity to involve yourself. Why not come along to one or two of the council meetings (they are open to the public) and find out more?
We look forward to having you aboard!
Councillor Andy Stokes