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Introduction by the Chairman of the Parish Council

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parishioners who took the time to complete the Village Appraisal. This has enabled the Parish Council to complete the most accurate survey ever of issues which affect daily life in Pirton.

A special thank you must also go to all of the helpers who gave of their time to deliver and collect the appraisal questionnaire. Their efforts enabled us to obtain replies from over 84% of households. We are also grateful to John Souster, our consultant, who worked diligently on the Council’s behalf.

Pirton Parish Council is leading the way in the subject of parishioner consultation, being one of the few Parish Councils in Hertfordshire that has undertaken this in-depth study.

Using computer software, information gained from all the questionnaires has been compiled and interpreted to form a database. If anyone would like to see a copy of the uncompiled statistics or would like further clarification, please contact any Parish Councillor or the Clerk whose names and telephone numbers are listed in the summary document.

With the information gleaned from the Appraisal, the Parish Council has a more informed guide to village opinion. This will be used as a source of reference in all future decisions. It has already been very useful in forming our reply to the recent Local Plan Review.

We intend to furnish North Herts District Council, Herts County Council, Police, Highways, Health Authority and all local village groups including the school and village shop with copies of this summary.

Looking ahead it would be beneficial to repeat the appraisal in perhaps 10 years’ time.

People are generally very happy and satisfied with the quality of life in Pirton and we should be very proud of the community spirit and sense of belonging to such a lovely village.

Hoping you find these results interesting.

Michael Goddard

Chairman, Pirton Parish Council

COUNCILLORS (at the time)

Michael Goddard (Chairman), Juliet Alexander, Geoff Collins, Neil Frost, Tom Gammell (Vice-Chair), Owain Lister, Rodney Marshall, David Saunders, Paul Tarbet, CLERK Diane Southam.


The Village Appraisal highlighted a desire by many villagers for information about the responsibilities of the Parish Council.

What is a Parish Council?  

A Parish Council is the smallest of local government authorities in England. Parish Councillors are elected for a four-year term of office. The Clerk’s term of office can continue over the lifetime of many councils. The Clerk carries out the administrative and financial duties relating to the Council’s activities. Parish Councils are subject to the same rules as other local authorities in such matters as admitting the public to their meetings, opening their accounts to public inspection and having their accounts audited.

What can a Parish Council do?

Parish Councils have a wide range of powers to provide facilities of local significance, such as meeting halls, sports and recreation facilities, allotments, burial grounds and public open spaces. They also support local voluntary and charitable activities and undertake initiatives in matters such as transport and crime prevention. These powers are mostly discretionary and can, therefore, be exercised to as great or little an extent as the local community wishes.

Equally important is the consultative and representational role of Parish Councils. The Parish Council has the right to comment on all planning applications in its area and is involved in each update of the Local Plan which defines what building development will and will not be permitted in the area.

Dealing with such agencies as health authorities, the police, transport and utility companies, a Parish Council can be effective in expressing its community’s view.

How are Parish Councils funded?

Parish Councils are funded by a small part of the Council Tax known as the Parish Precept. The Precept is requested by the Parish Council and is based on the estimated cost of village maintenance and expenditure.

Parish Council Meetings

Pirton Parish Council holds a monthly meeting normally on the second Thursday of the month (with the exception of August when there is no meeting).

All members of the public are welcome at the monthly Parish Council meetings and are encouraged to attend in order to listen to the debate and discussion. Statutory regulations governing local authority meetings do not allow a formal decision to be reached by the Council unless the item appears on the Agenda. Parishioners should, therefore, speak to any Councillor or write to the Clerk concerning any topic they wish to be considered. This can then be included on the Agenda for the next meeting. The Agenda is issued one week before each meeting.

The Parish Council is required to hold a public assembly for all its electors once a year. This assembly is called the Annual Meeting and the date of the meeting is posted in the Notice Board. This meeting takes place anytime between the beginning of March and end of June.

Public Participation

From September 1999 Councillors have been available to meet with Parishioners before each Council meeting to discuss any general concerns. These concerns are brought to the attention of the meeting and if a course of action is required, the concern will be tabled for proper discussion at the subsequent Council meeting.

Publicising the work of the Council

Notices of meetings are posted in the Parish Council noticeboard at the junction of High Street and Crabtree Lane (opposite The Fox public house).

Official Notices and details of Planning Applications and Decisions are also placed in this noticeboard.

From November 1999 the Agenda for the monthly Council meeting will appear in the Noticeboard approximately five days before the meeting.

Minutes of Council Meetings are displayed in the Church Porch and a summary of the Minutes appears monthly in the Parish Magazine.

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The Pirton Parish Council undertook a village appraisal in 1999.  The project reflected the views of the villagers at that time and many, perhaps all, still hold true today.