Functions of a Town
1. The principal
function of a Town Council is to act as an instrument of community at
grass roots level and to promote and watch over the particular interests
It should act as a sounding board for community
opinion, and in doing so focus the sense of the local community, whether in protest
against, to agitation for, or act in consultation on any aspect that affects
the social or environmental well-being of the Town and in doing so bring that
consensus to bear on the responsible decision makers, whether they be
members of a local authority or of any other agency, public or private.
2. The other functions of a Town Council may be
a) The Management of Local Public Properties
Local public properties include village greens,
commons, parks, playing fields, swimming pools, public halls, churchyards,
war memorials and public clocks.
In Warwick the Town Council have accepted
responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the Court House, (Grade I
- Listed Building of Special Interest) which is used as an administrative
centre, Tourist Information Office and available for use by all local
organisations for meetings, functions, etc. The Council also maintains the
War Memorial in Church Street. They did attempt to retain responsibility
for St Mary's Lands, known in Warwick as "The Common", but were
defeated by the District Council at arbitration in 1974.
b) The Provision of Services
Services include allotments, public lighting,
footpaths, bridle ways, cemeteries and crematoria, public lavatories, car
and cycle parks, bus shelters, public seats and litter bins.
Under this heading the Town Council maintains three
large closed churchyards in the Town. It provides allotment sites at four
locations administered by the Council providing facilities for 198
c) The Encouragement of Voluntary Initiative
This includes the management or oversight of charities,
grant-aid to voluntary effort, the giving or sponsoring of entertainments,
arts and crafts and tourism and expenditure on many different things
considered to benefit the Town. This section also includes subscriptions
to organisations and bodies and provision to make and receive courtesy
visits at home and abroad.
Since Warwick is an ancient town it has a great number
of Charities some of which have combined to ensure greater financial
ability to help deserving causes.
The Town Council also makes small grants to various
voluntary organisations, provides Band Concerts and organises annual
displays, Warwick in Bloom and Christmas Lights.
d) The Defence of Local Interests
Defence includes the statutory right to see all
planning applications and make recommendations on them to the District
Planning Authority. Consultation prior to the making of bye-laws and the
rights to represent the views of the townspeople at public inquiries and
to oppose private bills in parliament.
The influence of the Council is also exerted through
its District and County Councillors and through membership of National
Every three weeks the Town Council Plans Committee
meets to examine all planning applications for Warwick and considers any
objections from local residents before making its recommendations to the
District Planning Authority. The Town Council is also consulted by the
County and District Councils on structure plans for development,
transportation and future strategic planning.
The Town Council appoints managers at all County
Council schools in the Town and representative Governors at Warwick School
and Kings High School It appoints representative Trustees to all Charities
in the Town.
e) Guardianship of Local Traditions and Rights
Guardianship of local traditions and rights is, of
course, impossible if there is no truly local council to carry it out.
It is under this heading that the Town Council retains
the Annual Mayor Making traditions and the celebration of Mayor's Sunday
at St Mary's Church. The traditional opening of the Warwick Mop remains
with the Mayor.
Similarly under this heading the Town Council retains,
maintains and secures the regalia (including the Charters and Black Book),
two maces, silver plate and the Mayoral Chain.
Rating and Finance
3. The rating authority is Warwick District
Council who collects rates on behalf of the County Council and Town
4. The Town Council rate is charged to the
residents of the Town only and is usually a very small percentage of the
total General Rate.
5. The precept levied by Warwick Town Council over recent years
6. In the current financial year, 2002 this raises a total sum of
£198,650.00 and expenditure is divided as follows :-
Administration, salaries and general
Maintenance of Court House,
Provision of Information Services, Publicity
and public services, including
Maintenance of traditions, services,
7. The Town Council consists of 16 members
elected from three Wards on a four yearly basis (elected May 1999), but
under boundary review proposals the number of members will reduce to 15.
8. The Mayor is elected from within the Council
and to qualify a candidate must have served as a Town Councillor for at
least 3 years. The Mayor is appointed for a period of at least 3 years.
The Council committees meet on two monthly cycles -
some 60 meetings a year and Public Participation is welcomed.
9. The Town Council actively encourages positive
public participation in its activities and all meetings of the Council and
its Committees are open to the Press and public.
10. Details of meetings including Agenda, are
published on public notice boards at the Court House, Jury Street,
Warwick, in advance of meetings.
A complete list of meetings for the Municipal Year is
available upon request at the Council's Information Centre. Additionally,
the Council offers members of the public the opportunity to address the
full Council on any subject at its bimonthly General Purposes and Council
meeting. This meeting is advertised in the local press.
Derek Mandlin--Town Clerk
Functions of a Town