Community councils are voluntary organisations that have a role in law to represent the views of the local community on issues that affect its residents, such as planning applications.
If there’s a hot topic that gets your neighbours talking – such as a proposed housing development, maintenance of footpaths or improving local facilities – then this is something the community council could get involved in.
Milnathort and Orwell is one of around 1200 throughout Scotland. It covers Area 49 in Perth and Kinross and takes in the historic parish of Orwell, including outlying hamlets and farms.
WHAT WE DO
Milnathort is fortunate to have an active community council as many have fallen by the wayside due to lack of membership or public support. Even during lockdown the interest from residents has been heartening, with many joining in our monthly Zoom meetings.
At present, Milnathort and Orwell Community Council consists of five members and one associate member – but we have eight places and always welcome interest from community-minded people who feel they may have a contribution to make to the well-being of their fellow villagers.
We currently have two sub-groups, one investigating the installation of CCTV in the centre of the village, and the other undergoing training with a view to maintaining local paths – some of which are so overgrown that hitherto it wasn’t known that they even existed!
If you would like to find out more about becoming a community councillor or a volunteer with the paths group, please email the secretary, Andy McCrae, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE WAY COMMUNITY COUNCILS WORK
Community councils act as a voice for their local area, and their specific role can vary according to the needs of the communities they represent.
They must ascertain and express the views of the community to the local authority (in our case, Perth and Kinross Council) and, although they are not part of local government, they should have a good working relationship with the local authority. So they must be kept informed of the council’s policies and keep the council updated on their activities.
By law, they must be non-party political and represent a full cross-section of the community, encouraging people to become involved regardless of race, gender, age, disability, nationality or sexual orientation.
Community councils are statutory consultees on planning applications, and they can submit objections or notes of support on applications affecting their area.
If fewer than six people lodge an objection to a specific application, it will be decided by local authority officials; more than this and the application will be decided by the planning committee, made up of elected members from all over Perth and Kinross.
Anyone can ask to make a representation to the committee should they feel strongly about a particular application; their request won’t necessarily be granted but in most cases it is. If so, they’ll be given five minutes in which to make their case.