Vacancy for a Parish Councillor, April 2018
There is an opening for a parish councillor in Westcott. Applications should be returned to the Clerk by email or post as soon as possible. Applications are welcomed from people over 18 who are qualifying citizens of the Commonwealth, the European Community or the Republic of Ireland; applicants also need to either reside or have a business interest in the parish. Please contact the Westcott Parish Council Clerk if you are interested in becoming a parish councillor but would like some more information about the role and responsibilities.
By becoming a councillor, those that get involved almost certainly want to do something positive and hope to make a difference by influencing decisions that affect their community. There are over 80,000 local councillors in England – all are volunteers and will be held accountable by local people for things that happen locally.
The council is the community’s choice of representatives: an ordinary election for a new council occurs every four years but there may be an election when a seat falls vacant at other times. Councillors are either elected or co-opted if insufficient candidates are proposed for seats. In addition, if a vacancy occurs between elections (for example, by the resignation of a councillor), the council must generally find out if the electors want an election before they can co-opt.
Councillors attend meetings at approximately 6-weekly intervals. The meetings last for roughly an hour and a half. The issues discussed can be seen by looking at minutes of previous meetings on this website.
There are currently six councillors in Westcott who work together to bring local issues to the attention of the council, and help it make decisions on behalf of the local community. Three of the six councillors are needed at any council meeting for it to be able to vote on agenda items (quorate).
Sue Pusey, Chairman of Westcott Parish Council
I have been a Parish Councillor for more than 10 years now. I was originally co-opted onto the Council to fill a vacancy which occurred mid-term. Previously I was a member of the footpath working group and attended Parish Council meetings as my husband was a Councillor. I have lived in Westcott for 20 years now and am very happy here. I would love to see more people attending Parish Council meetings and getting involved. We have a lovely village but it can be a bit isolated particularly for the young and for the older members of our community.
Please come along to a meeting, or perhaps join us at our next Village clean up day.
Sue is also a member of the Bernwode Community Bus committee.
Anthony Wilkinson, Vice Chairman of Westcott Parish Council
Grahame Pusey, Councillor
I moved to Westcott about eight years ago. I was co opted onto the Parish Council to fill a vacancy shortly after that. I am part of the Village Green working party and undertook the renovation works on the War graves last year. I am pleased to be part of this small community.
Jo Hooper, Councillor
I have been a Parish Councillor for nearly four years. During this time The Council has reviewed planning applications, assessed contracts for mowing the grass and ensured the communal play equipment is monitored and maintained. Outside of meetings I have taken part in the regular “Village Clean Ups” and even planted a commemorative tree – although sadly now reduced to a shrub! Being a councillor gives me the opportunity to be more involved in the life of the village and help with issues that can affect some or all of the residents.
Jo also attends the Waddesdon LAF meetings.
James Sisk, Councillor
I have been a parish councillor since 2015 and chose to do this to make a difference locally. I moved from Ireland to England in 1997 settling in Westcott from 2004 with my wife and two children. Coming from a farming background my biggest concern would be the incremental urbanisation of the countryside.
Hilary Vitkus, Councillor
I joined the Parish Council in 2015 as I wanted to be more involved with our local community and hopefully make a difference. I moved into the village in 2012 with my husband and two youngest daughters from Ashendon after surrendering the lease of the pub there (formally the Gatehangers).
I was born and brought up in a small village in Northamptonshire (Grafton Underwood) that makes Westcott seem large and so I’m very interested in the challenges for a rural community especially for Young Adults (or teenagers, as they were called years ago when I was one). Part of my interest in the Bernwode Community Bus stems from this together with concern for transport issues for older residents accessing local clubs.
I value the quality of life and the sense of community possible as part of village life.
Hilary is also a trustee of the Beck and Fetto charity which awards grants to persons less than 21 years of age, living in Waddesdon, Westcott or Woodham, and undertaking training for their careers. Also a small grant each year as an educational foundation, for local schools.