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and object of the meeting, and must be posted on the church door, and in other conspicuous places in the parish. Seven clear days' notice must generally be given. Large parishes may be divided into wards, and small ones be united into groups; but each ward or each small parish has its own Parish Meeting and elects its own Councillors to sit on the common Parish Council. A ward has not a separate meeting for any purpose except electing Councillors.
The Parish Council. This Council is elected at or after the Annual Parish Meeting in March or April in every third year from 1904 (that is 1907, 1910, etc.), and holds office for three years. Its first duty is to elect a chairman, who may be one of the members or any other person qualified to be a Parish Councillor for the parish. The chairman in all cases has a second or casting vote. It must also appoint a clerk. If there is a vestry clerk (appointed by the Act of 1850) he remains clerk. Otherwise, the Council may appoint one of its own members without pay. Failing this, the assistant overseer, if there is one, must be paid clerk. Failing either of these, any other person may be appointed, with or without pay. But the Council cannot have two paid officers. The same person must be assistant overseer and paid clerk, except in parishes where there was a vestry clerk and an assistant overseer before 1895. The Council may also appoint as treasurer, without pay, a Councillor or any other person. A Councillor can resign by sending a letter of resignation to the chairman; and there is no fine for so doing. Vacancies in the Council are filled by the Council itself electing a new member. Meetings of the Council are open to the public unless a special resolution to the contrary is passed by the Council.
Other Regulations for all Rural Parishes. Rooms.-If there is a room belonging to the parish which can be had free of charge, the meetings are held there. But if not, then a room in an elementary school which receives public money, or in a police station or workhouse or other building inaintained out of the rates, may be used free of charge, provided that the ordinary employment of the room is not interfered with. If none of these be avail. able, a room may be hired. The Parish Meeting or Council may only assemble in a room in a public-house when no other room can be obtained free of charge or at a reasonable cost.
These regulations apply to all Parish Meetings, to meetings of the Parish Councils, and to meetings held to consider about allotments. They do not apply to Urban Districts.
POLLS.- A poll may be demanded on any matter on which a vote has been taken at a Parish Meeting, and the demand may be made at any time before the conclusion of the meeting. Five electors, or one-third of the electors present (whichever number is the lesser), or one elector with the consent of the chairman, can demand a poll in the cases just named and for (1) the election of Councillors ; (2) appointment of chairman or of a committee, or various matters connected with a committee ; (3) appointment of overseer, and appointment or otherwise of assistant-overseer ; (4) appointment of trustees, or beneficiaries of a charity ; (5) adoption of free libraries, baths and washhouses, and other Acts ; (6) formation and dissolution of a School Board ; (7) place and time of Parish Meeting ; (8) the incurring of any expense ; (9) applications or complaints to County or District Council ; (10) and several other matters.
The Urban District Council. In small towns and thickly populated districts such as the suburbs of large towns, the local governing authority is the newly created Urban District Council. It has powers and duties very similar to those exercised by the Town Council in large towns, except that it dons not control the police. In an_Urban District there are no Parish Meetings or Councils. The Rural District Council has no control over it, and the Guardians are separately elected. Urban Districts are usually divided into wards, each of which elects a certain number of members. The members are elected to sit for three years, one-third retiring each year; but the County Council may make an order that all the Councillors retire together every third year, if the Urban District Council, by a two-thirds majority of the members voting, applies for it. A chairman must be appointed, who may be elected from outside the Council. A vice-chairman, who must be a Councillor, may also be appointed. The chairman has a second or casting vote, and, unless a woman, is a J.P. by virtue of his office.
A Councillor can resign by sending a letter to the clerk, but he must pay the fine determined upon by the bye-law of the Council, or failing such a bye-law, the sum of £25. A casual vacancy is filled by a fresh election, unless it occurs within siz months of a new election coming in ordinary course, in which case it is not filled.
The Rural District Council. In all parts of the country_outside London, except boroughs and Urban Districts, there are Rural District Councils. That is to say, wherever there are Parish Councils or Parish Meetings, there are also Rural District Councils. Each of the parishes in any Poor Law Union, except the parishes in towns or urban districts, send one or more members to its Rural District Council. If there is a contest, the election must be by ballot, and with this election the Parish Meeting has nothing to do. The Councillors sit for three years, and one-third of them retire every year. But the County Council can make an order, if the Rural District Council apply for it, that all the Councillors shall retire together once every three years. And further, when the Board of Guardians in any district has previously sat for three years, and all have retired together, the Rural District Council will continue to do the same. The rules as to chairman, vice-chairman, retirement of Councillors, and casual vacancies are exactly the same as for Urban District Councils.
The Board of Guardians. Boards of Guardians are elected all over England and Wales. In Rural Districts the Rural District Councillors are also Guardians, and, in Unions where there is no Borough or Urban District, the Rural District Council and the Guardians consist of the same persons sitting for different purposes and under different rules. In Unions which contain Urban Districts or Boroughs, the Board of Guardians consist of the Rural District Councillors elected in the Rural Districts, together with Guardians specially elected in the parishes which are in the Boroughs or Urban Districts.
The rule as to period of office is exactly the same as for Rural District Councillors. (See page 8).
The Board may elect a chairman or vice-chairman, or both, and not more than two other persons from outside their own body. But every person so co-opted must be qualified to be a Guardian in the Union. The chairman has a second or casting vote. Casual vacancies are filled in the same
as in Urban District Councils.
PART III. POWERS.
Powers of the Parish Meeting where there is no
Parish Council. In parishes where there is no Council, the Parish Meeting possesses very nearly all the powers, duties, and rights of a Parish Council, and it can obtain all of them by application to the County Council.
If the parish has at least one hundred inhabitants, it may apply to the County Council for a Parish Council, and the application must be granted. A parish with less than one hundred inhabitants may also apply, but in this case the County Council is not obliged to grant the application.
It may also apply to be grouped with other parishes and so obtain a Parish Council.
The following are most of the powers and duties which the Meeting of a Parish without a Council does not possess, but which it may gain by obtaining either a Parish Council or the powers of a Parish Council :(1) Power to acquire land, by purchase or gift, for a recreation
ground, for a parish hall, for allotments, or any other
purpose. (2) The powers and duties of overseers and churchwardens in
respect of rating appeals, and in respect of providing parish
books, chest, &c., and a fire-engine and fire-escape. (3) Power to appoint additional trustees to certain charities,
except where there is at present only one trustee. With these exceptions, the whole of the following paragraphs, dealing with Parish Councils, apply also to parishes which have only a Parish Meeting.
The Powers of the Parish Council,
ALLOTMENTS.* Land for these can be obtained in several ways, which briefly are as follows:
1. HIRING BY AGREEMENT.(a) The Parish Council is sometimes able to come to an agree
ment with a landowner for a suitable piece of land. This undoubtedly is the best way, because the Parish Council can itself act without obtaining the consent of any other body ; because there is no limit to the amount of land which may be let to one man ; because the land may be hired for any number of years; and because it is by far the cheapest
way in which to get land. (6) In case the Parish Council is unwilling to act, it may ask the
District Council to do so; or any six electors in the parish may apply to the District Council over the heads of the Parish Council. The District Council may then hire the land by agreement, but it may not let any allotments larger than an acre. If the District Council refuses to act, the six electors or the Parish Council may appeal to the County
Council to do so. 2. COMPULSORY HIRING.-If the landlords and farmers refuse to let land for allotments, they may be made to. The Parish Council cannot itself do this. It can only apply to the County Council, and if that body is satisfied that there is a demand for allotments, and that suitable land cannot be obtained at a reasonable rent by agreement, it may hold a public inquiry into the case. After having held the inquiry, the County Council may make an order giving the Parish Council power to hire the required land compulsorily on terms to be fixed by an arbitrator. The arbitrator will be appointed by the Parish Council and the landlord or farmer concerned, if they can agree on one; and if not, by the Local Government Board. If the County Council refuse to make the order after having held the inquiry, the Parish Council may appeal to the Local Government Board, which may make the order. But unfortunately the County Council is able to stop the whole process by refusing be "satisfied" at the outset as to the necessity for action at all, and in that case, by a great blot in the Act, there is no appeal.
When land is compulsorily hired, the lease must not be for less than fourteen nor more than thirty-five years. The allotment let to any single individual must not be larger than four acres of pasture, or one acre of arable and three acres of pasture. And if the land taken is permanent pasture, it may not be broken up without the consent of the landlord.
3. BUYING BY AGREEMENT.—In this case it is the District Council which has power to buy land on being asked to do so by the Parish Councilor or by any six electors in the parish. If it refuse to act, there may be an appeal to the County Council to take action instead. Here a limit of one acre is fixed to the size of the allotments.
* Get Fabian Tract, No. 58, “ Allotments and How to Get Them.” (See page 16.)
4. COMPULSORY BUYING.—Where it is wished to buy land and the owners refuse to sell, the Parish Council, or the six electors, or the District Council may apply to the County Council, which is the only body empowered to buy land compulsorily. There is the same limited power of appeal, if the County Council fail to act, as in the case of compresory hiring. The one acre limit again applies to land obtained in ihis way. Land thus obtained by the County Council is handed over to the Parish Council.
The Parish Council has to pay the costs of the arbitration, and other charges for obtaining and managing land, and the rent of the allotments, or the sum charged for turning out animals on the common pasture, must be sufficient to cover all these
expenses. The Parish Council has full power to manage allotments, and to let them to any person whatsoever. The County Council, or the District Council with the consent of the County Council, can, on behalf of a parish, hire or buy land for common pasture as well as for allotments.
CHARITIES. The Parish Council has no control over ecclesiastical charities, which include charities given for sermons or for the benefit of the parson, or buildings used by one religious body, or erected mainly by or at the cost of the members of any particular religious denomination; except that in cases where the overseers used to be trustees, the Council now appoints trustees in their place.
In non-ecclesiastical charities the Parish Council appoints trustees, who hold office for four years, half of ther. retiring every two years.
The names of the people who receive doles from the charities must be published every year as the Parish Council or Meeting think fit, and all accounts of charities must be laid before the Parish Meeting every year.
The Parish Council may undertake the management of a charity when the trustees transfer it to them of their own free will, and the Charity Commissioners approve.
Any new scheme affecting a charity must be presented to the Parish Council, or to the Parish Meeting where there is no Council, and they may oppose its being carried out.
But none of the provisions with regard to the appointment of trustees apply to any charities founded since 1854, unless the giver is alive and consents. But if the Vestry had the right of appointing trustees, this right now belongs to the Parish Council.
The control of elementary schools is in no way affected by this part of the Act. No trustee of a charity, his wife, or children may receive any
benefit from the charity.
RECREATION GROUND. Every village in England ought to possess a recreation ground for games of all kinds. But owing to the enclosure of village greens, or the fact that it is nobody's business to get them in good condition and keep them so, a great many villages are without any convenient playground. The Parish Council is able to supply the want. has power to buy, compulsorily if necessary, or to hire land for a
• In the same manner as allotments lere nace 10).