Alert students in the parish classroom will this week and next be reading the new Winter edition of the local government journal LCR.
Which you’ll have guessed from the title of this post contains a must read article on fracking!
Here’s my 20 reasons from the Winter edition why LCR is essential reading, especially for councillors:
1. LCR’s acting editor Alan Jones – NALC’s Head of Communications – is in conversation with Planning Minister Nick Boles MP, who has much to say about the planning system, neighbourhood planning and why parish councils should be everywhere.
2. And on that last point the Government wants to see more parish councils created where people and communities want them, especially in our cities and urban areas, so my colleague Chris Borg explains more about a new programme offering help, advice and funding.
3. While a recent study tells us more and more people are standing for election to town councils under a political banner, Councillor Peter Macfayden from Frome Town Council talks about the power of the independents group in the town.
4. “Unless there is some radical change there is a real danger that the parish sector will end up becoming part of those relics of a past century”. Some tough love from the Cambridgeshire county association’s Ian Dewar on the need for parishes to modernise.
5. You don’t get ought for nought much these days, so the Woodland Trust talk about their free offer for parishes.
6. Councillor Rodney Saunders, vice chair of Balcombe Parish Council reveals how they coped with the fracking spotlight on them.
7. As a big fan and supporter of the Love Your Local Market Campaign being led by colleagues at the National Association of British Market Authorities, I was particularly interested in the views of Jamie Veitch from Action Market Towns, Oswestry Town Council clerk David Preston and NABMA chief executive Graham Wilson on why markets are lifelines to communities and so important for the well-being of our villages, towns and cities.
8. With the microchipping of dogs set to become compulsory in Wales in April 2015 and in England in 2015 (my chocolate labrador @scampy_dog is already chipped!), the Dogs Trust explain how they are helping parishes support a UK community campaign.
9. Everyone’s a sharer right? Er, maybe not, so in her article Kate Groves from Streetbank espouses the value of neighbourhood sharing; things and skills for people to borrow, keep or learn for free – from furniture to jam jars, Spanish lessons to bike loans!
10. As a dad of three children under the age of four and a half, I know how important local play facilities are, and so do many parish councils. Play England provide some top tips to parishes at providing more play facilities for young people.
11. One of NALC’s resident legal eagles, solicitor Martin Fine, looks at new options open to councils for employment resolution.
13. How parishes can keep their communities safe? On the ‘Ask the experts’ pages Jennie Thomas from Stone Parish Council, Catherine Dunn from Neighbourhood Watch and Paul McDowell from NACRO give their advice.
14. Patience is a virtue says Barbara Larken from Springfield Parish Council – an urban parish in Chelmsford, Essex – when it comes to setting up and opening a new library.
15. An amendment to the Local Audit and Accountability Bill will change the law to allow residents to audio and video record parish council meetings, so LCR asked readers for their feedback in the ‘Your Views’ section. But what did they say??
16. Youth and participation and reform to parish council payments are subjects covered in the letters page, with Warwickshire parish councillor Dan Essex winning a Kindle for his Star Letter on directly elected mayors for parishes.
18. Community Transport Association UK explain what parishes can do to support public transport.
19. An insight into NALC’s Putting Communities First conference in Sheffield from one of our colleagues and delegates that day Sonja Rewhorn from the Cheshire county association.
20. Anyone for lunch? The Big Lunch show how communities coming together can make a positive difference.
LCR isn’t just available in hard copy, subscribers also get access to a digital version online. That makes 21 reasons.