GURNARD PARISH COUNCIL MET IN THE VILLAGE HALL FOR THE FIRST TIME ON WEDNESDAY 9 SEPTEMBER SINCE MARCH 2020. OUR NEXT SCHEDULED FULL COUNCIL MEETING IS 14 OCTOBER WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE EITHER IN THE VILLAGE HALL OR REMOTELY, DEPENDING ON GOVERNMENT ADVICE AT THE TIME, TO WHICH THE PRESS AND PUBLIC ARE INVITED TO ATTEND.
Ordinarily there is often a Planning Committee meeting each month in addition to the monthly Full Council meeting, usually held on the last Wednesday of the month at the same time and venue. Notices advertising all meetings, as well as the annual meetings are placed on the Parish Noticeboard in Worsley Road 3 clear days before each meeting (7 days for the Annual Parish Meeting).
The Parish Council has both powers and duties and its main function is to serve the Community in Local Government, whilst at the same time making legal and balanced decisions. It effectively represents many interests of the Gurnard Community as well as serving as a Consultative Body for the Isle of Wight Council and Central Government, and often this extends to issues well outside of its normal remit.
The first Parish Clerk, Mrs Joy Bradley, was appointed on 10th June 1985 and served until 31st August 2000. Mr Rusty Adams took over from Mrs Bradley and remained in place until 31st March 2014. Mrs Sue Waters replaced Mr Adams and served until December 2018. Mrs Katie Riley provided a locum role for the Parish Council initially following Mrs Waters resignation in November 2018 before being appointed as the current Clerk to Gurnard Parish Council.
The Clerk is an employee of the Parish Council, and as such is salaried from the Annual Precept. The contract between the Clerk and the Parish Council is for 20 hours per week. It is important to realise that the Clerk is the servant of the Parish Council, not the Village, but nonetheless will always try to serve as an effective link between the residents and the Parish Council.
Whilst the following is not an exhaustive list, it certainly gives a flavour of what the Parish Council actually does, and how it can be used by the residents it represents most effectively.
Full Council Meetings
With effect from July 2019 these are held on the 2nd Wednesday monthly at 6 pm, with the exception of August. The items discussed will most likely include planning applications, consultation documents, village issues, reports from various bodies that the Parish Council has dealings with, and finance. There is always a public session at the start of the meeting for residents to ask questions before the meeting starts properly, and this is limited to 5 minutes per person or group, but may be extended at the Chairman’s discretion. There is also the opportunity to speak during agenda item discussion, again at the Chairman’s discretion.
b. Planning Committee Meetings These are held if consultation periods fall outside of the monthly cycle of full council meetings, and are usually on the last Wednesday of the month, again at 6pm. The Public session facility will be the same as for Full Council Meeting, but only for planning agenda items.
c. Annual Parish Meeting This is a less formal meeting, called by the Parish Council Chairman, and is usually held on the last Wednesday in April at 6.30pm. This is an ideal meeting to attend to see what the Parish Council does as a report is given on the year, both for activity and finance, and there is usually at least one speaker covering a lighter topic or amusing/informative subject. The Safer Communities Officer (Police) is also usually present. Refreshments are served and there is a Public Open Forum at the conclusion of the meeting.
d. Annual Meeting This is always the meeting at which the Chairman is elected, and is usually held on the 2nd Wednesday in May. The only exception to this might be in an election year, where it has to be held within 14 days of the date when Councillors should take office. The 2017 Annual Meeting took place on 11 May – the next election year is 2021. Gurnard Parish Council splits the annual meeting into 2 parts with the first part being for the election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, as well as appointing Councillors to represent the Parish Council on various outside Bodies and Organisations. The 2nd part then proceeds as per an ordinary monthly Full Council Meeting. The Public session will usually take place between the 1st and 2nd parts of the agenda.
e. Working Parties/Steering Groups Working Parties are set up when a project is undertaken necessitating this form of management and currently include Old School Meadow, Designation of Local Green Space and Cooks Bay Access. These meetings are not held in the Public Domain, but reported upon at the next full council meeting. The Parish Council will always be represented but membership can be filled by volunteers from the Village, who either have an interest in the project or a particular skill that is needed. Examples of this was the Traffic Management Plan in 2001, the “Save Gurnard Post Office” campaign in 2003 and the Parish Plan (Gurnard: Your Vision of the Future) from 2004 to 2006. The Parish Council resurrected the Traffic Management Plan Working Party in April 2006 and disbanded in October 2011. In 2010 the Parish Council worked with Gurnard Sailing Club to form a Steering Group to resurrect the Gurnard Regatta summer event. A combined exercise to produce a Neighbourhood Plan was undertaken in 2012/2013/2014/2015/2016 and 2017. This project was concluded with a resounding YES vote at the referendum held in Thursday 7 September 2017. The plan was then adopted by the Isle of Wight Council and any planning applications for the Parish of Gurnard are now judged against the principles of this document. The Parish Council would like to thank all members of the community who volunteered so much of their time to ensure this project was brought to its final conclusion.