The village with no parish councillors

RESIDENTS of a tiny village near Halesworth are without any parish councillors after no candidates could be found for the local elections held earlier this month.

RESIDENTS of a tiny village near Halesworth are without any parish councillors after no candidates could be found for the local elections held earlier this month.

For the past year the seven members of Heveningham Parish Council have insisted they would not sign the code of conduct and declaration of interests as required by new leglislation.

None of the councillors completed nomination forms for the elections held on May 1 and no other candidates could be found.

Heveningham Parish Council clerk Christine Barnes said: "Accordingly as from May 1 this year this parish is now without a parish council and we await the district council's decision as to what must happen next."


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Mrs Barnes said that at the annual parish meeting held recently villagers voted in favour of not having a parish council but having a parish meeting instead.

"We will be informing Suffolk Coastal District Council and the Suffolk Association of Local Councils of this decision and hope they can give us some help and advice," said Mrs Barnes.

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Former parish council chairman Alan Rush said all the parish councillors felt the new code was a "huge infringement" on privacy and that they gave the district council plenty of notification about their intentions.

"It was still not an easy decision to reach as all seven parish councillors are extremely community minded," he said.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said forming a parish meeting is an option open to the residents of Heveningham as the village has only 92 registered electors.

"We will be helping those people in Heveningham if they want to establish a parish meeting," he said.

In the meantime residents wanting to raise matters of concern in the parish are being urged to contact their local district councillor Stephen Burroughes.

If the residents do opt to form a parish meeting those people elected to office, including the chairman, would not have to sign the new code of conduct.

There are, however, significant differences between a parish council and a parish meeting.

A spokesman for the Suffolk Association of Local Councils said: "One of the biggest differences is that a parish council can set a precept to raise money for community projects in the village. This is something that a parish meeting cannot do."

He said that changing from a parish council to a parish meeting is not something that should be contemplated without a great deal of thought.

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