Westbourne Parish Council has a total of nine councillor places which are filled normally every four years during an election, but vacancies may also become available at other times.
Co-option to fill vacancies
To fill a vacancy outside of an election, which last took place in May 2019, candidates apply through the process of co-option. Vacancies will be advertised as they become available and applicants should contact the Parish Clerk for more information. Applicants will be asked to give a short presentation to the Council at its monthly meeting as to why they would like to become a councillor, along a brief summary of their skills and experiences. A vote is then carried out at the meeting and, if successful, the applicant will be invited to join the Parish Council.
Make a change: Become a parish councillor
The Parish Council has ambitious plans to create a thriving local community where residents and businesses can prosper alike. Plans are underway through the creation of a business plan but the Council needs more people from a variety of backgrounds, skills and experiences to make these plans a reality.
New initiatives are on the table, such as a revamp of The Square to better support local businesses, cater for all road users and improve crossing for pedestrians, as well as a new village car park and, working with other local organisations, affordable homes for young people. What would you like to see happening in Westbourne? Being a parish councillor will mean you can shape these plans.
The Parish Council's responsibilities
The Parish Council is democratically elected and is accountable to the local community. It is involved in the delivery of services, improving the quality of life for residents and representing the voice of the community.
It's work is wide and varied. To name but a few it is a statutory consultee on local planning applications; it is developing a neighbourhood plan to help plan local housing and protect the Parish; it manages two recreation grounds and play areas; it rents land to Westbourne Allotment Association; it runs a community taxi-bus service and is lobbying for improvements to the bus service; it works with the Council Council and police on road and traffic issues and runs a Community Speedwatch Group; it receives police reports on local crime; it offers grants for community initiatives; it employs staff and contractors to deliver objectives; and it works closely with other local community groups and organisations.
What being a parish councillor entails
Parish councillors are community leaders who represent the interests of the community and are involved in decision-making, monitoring and getting involved locally. As a councillor representing your community, you will help keep it a great place to live and work. You will be supported in your role and will be expected to undertake training. You should be comfortable working electronically. You should have a positive outlook and a can-do attitude, and be willing to work as part of a team.
The Parish Council meets 11 times a year in the evening of every second Thursday of the month. There are also four committees which meet regularly for detailed discussion of projects around the Parish. Councillors are invited to join a committee if they are interested in a particular area of work, but they are not required to do so.
If you would like to do more for Westbourne and have some time to spare, please do consider becoming a parish councillor. It is a rewarding experience which will involve you to work with a team of dedicated volunteers on a range or projects and initiatives. Training from the Sussex Association of Local Councils is available.
Non-councillor member of a committee
If you do not want to become a councillor but would like to support the work of the Parish Council, there is the opportunity to join one of its committees (except the Finance Committee) on an advisory basis as a non-councillor member. You would be able to take part in discussions, advise and help with any actions resulting from the meeting but you would not be able to take part in a vote.
Please contact the Parish Clerk if you would like to discuss the role of parish councillor or would like to talk to a councillor about their work.