Bothenhampton & Walditch Parish Council
A Perspective by Chris Dobbs
While working as Clerk from January 2006 to January 2019, I have to confess that I didn’t take much notice of any aspects of Bothenhampton and Walditch’ s history. But since Parish Councils were introduced following the Local Government Act of 1894, there has got to be some history to recount the happenings of 121 years past. In 1894, villages were administered by the Squire, the Parson, and sometimes the Schoolmaster, and the introduction of civil authorities caused some acrimony amongst the prestigious in a hierarchical society. Indeed, the Church took great exception to the concept of laymen being given authority, especially as they were potentially excluded from public office. Generally, Parish Councils got off to a bad start, and really fell rapidly into obscurity for many years after their formation.
Bothenhampton & Walditch Parish Council, is one of about 10,000 Parish Councils, and is effectively the first rung of local government. They are funded by the electorate, with its income being allocated from Council Tax. Any person over 21 can apply to become a Parish Councillor, which in my view should be changed to young people being eligible from the age of 16. Such a change in the law could influence the interest in Parish Councils.
Having spent an afternoon looking at past minutes of the Parish Council in Dorset History Centre, I am of the resolve that much of the business is reactive to locally perceived needs. For example, a handrail was fitted to the steps outside 6 Sunnyside in 1969, presumably after some local residents fell off !
In 1940, the Clerk had to resign, being needed for war duties, and of course a new Clerk was appointed. Times have changed, and with the 2019 appointment of a new Clerk, there is a need to recognise the pro-active future of Bothenhampton & Walditch Parish Council. Already, a website has been introduced which will bring B&WPC into online activities for now and into the future. It now remains for Parish Councillors to recognise the electronic revolution taking place, which brings about the positive ease of communication.
With the inception of Dorset Council, it seems likely that decisions made at local level will have more significance in the future. As an elector in the Parish of Bothenhampton and Walditch, you are encouraged to address local problems at a local level.
There is little doubt that Bothenhampton & Walditch Parish Council is on the cusp of expanding its vital services to the community, and should make history in future years. Their Meetings are listed on the Parish Council website, and all members of the public are welcome to attend. At the early part of the Agenda, listed as ‘Democratic Half Hour’, there is always an opportunity to address the Parish Council on any concerns that you have with reference to the local community. Often there are large numbers of electors who attend, who may have an influence on the evening’s proceedings.
So, support your Parish Council whenever you can and this may lead to action in the future.