With Southend being such a large Borough, back in 1996, a group of Leigh residents, worked hard to form a first tier of local government to have an overall responsibility for the well-being of the Leigh-on-Sea community, the result, Leigh-on-Sea Town Council. The Council was set up as non-political in that there were no political party groupings and no political party with overall control. Councillors could belong to a political party but no councillor would be pressured to vote on party political lines. To this day, Councillors make their decisions on what is best for Leigh and the residents.
Southend-on-Sea City Council is your primary authority and responsible for matters such as waste collection, maintenance of the roads and pavements, looking after the parks, providing street lighting and many other services which your council tax pays for.
Our work falls into three main categories:
- Representing the Leigh-on-Sea community
- Delivering services to meet local needs
- Striving to improve the quality of life in the Town
How do we do this?
Leigh-on-Sea Town Council has a committee structure with different responsibilities. Each committee meets regularly and anyone is welcome to attend. Below is just a sample of some of the work we do:
- Manage and market the Community Centre
- Administer two allotment sites over 20 acres
- Organise events for the Town - Bunting Workshops, Jubilee Community Day & Picnic, Community Centre Holiday programme, monthly Farmers’ Market, monthly Listening Room
- As a statutory consultee, review every single planning application in the Town and make a recommendation to the Planning Authority for their consideration
- Produce a bi-annual magazine to update residents and promote the needs of the Town
- Run a volunteer programme
- Improve facilities within the Town using Community Infrastructure Levy receipts e.g. equipment in parks, skate park improvements, street art wall
- Installed and manage the Skate Park
- Redeveloped and manage Strand Wharf as a community space
- Organise the Christmas lights and hanging baskets displayed throughout the Town
- Helped Save the Library
- As a statutory consultee, review all licensing applications in the Town, listening to representations from residents, and make a recommendation to the Licensing Authority for their consideration
- Fund a school crossing patrol and First Aid Post at Bell Wharf beach
- Run a community transport trips scheme for the over 60’s living within the Town boundary
- Run the Over 60's Social lunch club twice a month
- Liaise and develop relationships with the unitary authority (Southend City Council), to ensure that the needs of the residents of Leigh-on-Sea are considered fully when decisions affecting them need to be made.
How do we pay for it all?
It does cost a little extra to live within the boundary of Leigh-on-Sea Town Council but having been recognised in the past as one of the happiest place to live in Britain, we hope you think it is worth it! All the extras we provide towards improving the community are collected through your council tax. This is a sum of money called a ‘precept’ and is calculated by us based on what it costs to provide the facilities and services for our residents.
Who makes the decisions?
The Council is made up of 16 elected councillors representing the 8 wards of Leigh-on-Sea Town Council. They are responsible to the residents they represent and can be contacted directly on any matter. They are not paid but have a passion to be involved in the community. Councillors have three main areas of work:
- Decision-making through attending meetings and committees
- Monitoring, making sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services
- Getting involved locally depending on what the councillor wants to achieve and how much time they have available
What makes a good Councillor?
- Sound knowledge and understanding of local affairs and the community
- Solid interest in local matters
- Ability and willingness to represent the Council and their community
- Good interpersonal skills
- Ability and willingness to work closely with other members as a team and to maintain good working relationships with all members and staff
- Ability and willingness to work with the Council's partners e.g. voluntary groups, Southend Borough Council
- Ability and willingness to undertake relevant training
- Ability and willingness to attend meetings of the Council and Committees in the evenings
- Ability and willingness to attend Council events
The Democratic Process
Elections to be a Councillor on Leigh-on-Sea Town Council take place every four years (unless a casual vacancy arises during this time). The next election is May 2023. Details of current councillor vacancies within Leigh-on-Sea Town Council can be found here.
Leigh-on-Sea Town Council is the most local part of our democratic system and the closest to the public. You can play a part in aiding the Council run to the best of its capabilities:
- Look out for potential councillors – do you know someone passionate about our Town, wishing to be a voice for the community and effect real change? Maybe it is you!
- Nominate a candidate. Being a town councillor is an enjoyable way of contributing to the community and helping to make it a better place to live, work and visit. On average, councillor’s duties will occupy them for about three hours a week. Obviously there are some councillors who spend more time than this – and some less. There are a few rules as to whether you can be a councillor. The basic ones are:
- You have to be a British citizen, Commonwealth citizen or European Union citizen and 18 years or older on the day you become nominated for election
- Live or work within 3 miles of the locality during the 12 months preceding the day of election (or if there is no election, the day of nomination)
- You cannot stand for election if you are the subject of a bankruptcy restriction order or interim order, within five years before the day of an election or since, been convicted in the UK of any offence and been sentenced to not less than three months imprisonment (whether suspended or not) without the option of a fine
- See what a difference you can make at election time by voting for a councillor that will best represent your interests and aspirations for the community and be the best community leader for Leigh-on-Sea
The National Association of Local Councils publishes The Good Councillor's Guide and a booklet for people who want to know more about the role of a councillor
"Being a councillor is a team game, and we all need to play our part. But remembering that we are there to represent our community- and so finding as many ways as possible to listen to their views, seizing every opportunity to meet them, being honest about what we can and what we can’t do – is probably the most important of all. "
Our offices are situated on the ground floor of Leigh Community Centre and are open for enquiries Monday to Thursday 9am - 5pm and Friday 9am - 4.30pm.