Role of the CommunityCouncil
The main role of any Community Council is to represent the interests and views of its’ community, which is done by liaising with a Unitary Authority – in our case Newport City Council. Often this is very mundane work such as reporting potholes in our roads, but sometime it involves organising public meetings to discuss much larger issues. We are also asked to look at all planning applications put forward for our Village. The object there is to look out for issues that might affect the community as a whole. We may also need to liaise with local Police, Water and Health Authorities, or respond to initiatives from private and corporate bodies when their plans may impact on our Village. Individual Councillors are not allowed to take part in discussions of any works that they themselves are involved with.
Our largest task is looking after the recreation grounds – regularly checking the condition of the equipment, organising annual safety checks and maintenance work. In addition we try to help keep the Village as whole looking nice. It’s a pleasant village and we want to keep it that way. We purchase plants for the Parc Seymour planters and replant them ourselves, twice a year. We enter Penhow in the Gwent Best Kept Village Competition each year, and in 2011 were the winners in our category.
Council elections occur every four years at the same time as local authority elections. We have to pay a share of the costs and if the election is contested it can be very expensive for the community. The Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected from the Council members at the Annual General meeting in May.
The money for all of this comes from an annual Precept. Towards the end of each year we have to decide how much we need to keep things running for the next financial year. This figure is passed to Newport City Council and they add it to the Council Tax raised from each household in the area. The amount is marked up on your Council Tax bills. The biggest bills are for playground items, insurance and general administration. If we need to buy something new or carry out a large project, we have to think several years ahead and save up. New playground equipment is very expensive and we have only been able replace and upgrade ours with the help of a fundraising group (link to “making of a playground” – this bit needs a lot of updating for 2012 onwards).
The Council has nothing to do with the Penhow Shop – but we are very proud of it and like to support it whenever we can Penhow Shop.
Members of the public are always welcome to attend the meetings, which occur each month, normally on the first Wednesday, at 8.15pm, in St John’s Hall.