The Hersham Community Council
Hersham is a village community with a long heritage and a strong identity; welcoming and friendly. However, it needs protection. In the recent changes to local ward boundaries Hersham lost much of its traditional territory and, with it, half its councillors in the Elmbridge Borough Council. This means we now have less representation. Many residents who are proud of being a part of Hersham are now actually represented by councillors from Esher, Weybridge or Oatlands. Something needs to happen otherwise the community risks being fragmented and marginalised.
We are a steering group of passionate Hersham residents who don’t want to see our community diminished. This site aims to give you an overview of our proposals for the creation of a Hersham Community Council including how it should work and what it could mean for you.
We are also looking for volunteers and like-minded individuals to join us in developing a community council: a legally recognised level of governance closest to the community that it serves. At present, a community council for Hersham is just a proposal, but with your support it can be made a reality.
A Community Council for Hersham - key facts
- A community council is a legally binding level of governance with dedicated councillors, elected by the community to focus on issues within the community.
- The title community council is a new way of describing parish councils, highlighting their connection with the community but avoiding confusion with parish churches.
- A community council has the ability to apply for grants for specific local projects.
- It can encourage and support new and existing groups within the community.
- A community council for Hersham would be a body of around a dozen unpaid, elected volunteer councillors who are committed to seeing the community retains a strong voice.
- Community councils are non-party-political bodies whose members are be elected by you, the residents, solely to represent the community.
- They are funded through what is called a precept, collected at the same time as your council tax.
- Whilst there would be a small annual cost per household, this money would be entirely for the benefit of the Hersham community and in addition to any expenditure by Elmbridge Borough Council.
Why should Hersham have a Community Council?
Every town, village or community needs its own local voice to help maintain and develop its sense of identity and an associated caring and inclusive community spirit. This is particularly true of Hersham following the ward boundary review carried out in 2016. Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) ward boundaries were reviewed by the Local Government Boundary Commission England (LGBCE) to equalise the electoral numbers in each ward, following a reduction in the number of EBC councillors.
This has resulted in many Hersham electors now being represented by councillors of adjacent wards. Previously Hersham had 6 councillors, now we have only 3. There are another 9 from other wards who have a say in matters relating to Hersham, but who are primarily interested in their own communities. Places without a strong local voice become less well defined as a community and less able to defend their cause forcefully as local services and the green belt are threatened.
Creating a Community Council will help the community of Hersham retain its identity and give it a public voice.