The parish council, which has up to nine members is moribund. No one stood for election in May 2017. Accounts had not been prepared for three years in breach of statutory obligations.
We will be holding a public meeting on Wednesday 14 March to discuss the future of the parish council. In the meanwhile, we have set a precept for the next financial year and are paying the council’s outstanding bills. If you live in Bromfield parish, please come to the meeting if you can. It will be at 6.30pm in the Boardroom at the Clive.
Unitary councillors met in early February with a view to getting the parish council, which has ground to a halt, back in business. This follows a letter and public interest report from the parish council’s accountants sent to the former chairman, Viscount Windsor, at the end of November. This criticised the parish council for failing three years in a row to fulfil its statutory duty to prepare an annual return and account to taxpayers for the use and safeguarding of funds. The council also ignored a statutory warning issued by the auditors last August. The auditors, Mazars, say: “We have now exhausted all options open to us to obtain an annual return.”
Last year, Shropshire Council appointed three temporary members to the parish council – myself, Viv Parry and David Evans (Shropshire councillor for Craven Arms and Church Stretton). It had previously tried to contact former members of the parish council without success.
We temporary members meet early in February to consider the next steps. Our first task was to set a precept, the parish’s share of council tax. We set this as £17.09 for the year for a Band D property, 33 pence a week.
This will raise £2,000 for 2018/19. There are outstanding debts of around £900, including £600 for the auditors attempts to get accounts from the parish council and a £200 bill from Shropshire Council for electoral matters. Some of the balance will be used to appoint a parish clerk for a few days total over the year. Eric Williams is acting as temporary clerk and guiding us through the process supported by the Shropshire Association of Local Councils (SALC).
We intend to re-establish the parish council with local membership as soon as practical. I hope then it might meet four times a year to consider local issues. I am always happy to attend but have not been invited to Bromfield Parish Council meeting since I was elected, despite my requests.
If anyone in Bromfield is interested joining the parish council, please contact me. And, whether you want to join the council or not, we’d really like you to come to the meeting at 6.30pm, 14 March in the Clive Boardroom.
We are writing to all residents in the parish to invite them to the meeting.