What is a Parish?
There are two sorts of Parishes, whose boundaries do not always coincide. These are:
  • Ecclesiastical Parishes centred on an Anglican church with a Parochial Church Council chaired by the vicar or rector and
  • Civil Parishes that are part of local administration.
A Civil Parish is an independent, local democratic unit for villages and smaller towns, and for the suburbs of the main urban areas. Each Parish has a Council which is a small local authority. Its councillors are elected for four years at a time in the same way as for other councils. The next local elections for Burnham Parish Council will be in May 2019. Bye-elections may be held to fill vacancies between elections. The council is the corporation of its village and each year the councillors choose a Chairman from amongst their number.

Burnham held its first Council meeting on 31st December 1894 after its creation under the Local Government Act of that same year. The population has risen since the Parish’s creation from 3000 to over 12,000 which has meant that over these 100 years or so the Council has had to have a progressive policy to cater
for all the needs of its growing population.

Parish boundaries are regularly reviewed by District Councils under the auspices of the Local Government Boundary Commission. The aim is to help ensure that parish boundaries correspond to the social communities in which people live.

The New Ward Boundaries:
As a result of changes made by the Local Government Boundary Commission, ward boundaries were changed with effect from the May 2015 elections. The Parish Council boundary overall remains unchanged with a total of 19 Parish Councillors, but the ward boundaries have been moved. The numbers of Parish Councillors for the wards for Burnham Beeches/Church/Lent Rise/South & Dorney were 3/7/8/1 and since May 2015 have changed to Beeches/Church/Lent Rise in the distribution 8/4/7. In sum, one ward has disappeared, the two new Parish borders have moved and the ward of Burnham Church is now the smallest in area.

In addition, there has been a reduction in District Councillors in Burnham from 8 down to 6, and these are in two much larger District wards with three Councillors each. The new large District wards are called (1) Burnham Church & Beeches and (2) Burnham Lent Rise & Taplow. The most significant change is that Taplow has now joined Burnham Lent Rise in the new westerly ward.

The Role of the Parish Council:
The Parish Council provides advice and policy guidance to (1) the administration of events at Burnham Park Hall (2) the parks, pond, churchyard/football/playgrounds (Burnham Park/George Pitcher/St Peter’s, Stomping Ground, Hag Hill) (3) the Parish-owned streetlights, which are only 400 of the total (4) bus shelters & bins etc and (5) administration of any S.106 funds received.

The Parish has no direct responsibility for any transport problems on the roads like parking, traffic flow, potholes, drainage, pedestrian crossings, nor overgrown hedges or footpaths. However, the Parish Council has both representatives and ‘leverage’ in the District and County Councils, who are responsible for transport &
parking issues and with whom your concerns will be discussed and hopefully dealt with. Please continue to let us know your concerns.

Who controls the Parish Council?
The elected Chairman controls the business of a Parish Council meeting. The Parish Clerk, who is the Council’ s Chief Executive, takes the Minutes, carries out the approved policies of the Council and ensures the accounts are strictly kept and audited every year. Parish Council meetings are open to the public and an Assembly Meeting for all parish electors has, by law, to be held every year in April or May.

Listening and acting upon matters raised by members of the public:
The Parish Council listen to and act upon matters raised by members of the public. Also, members of the public are able to raise matters of interest or concern during the first 15 minutes of the monthly meetings