Looe Town Council is first tier local government (the closest to the people), followed by Cornwall Council. There is some confusion as to what the difference between a Parish and Town Council is. The answer is simple – nothing, they are exactly the same, however a Town Council’s Chairman can also be called a Mayor.
Town Councils have many powers if they choose to use them, it is how and which of these powers that Councillors decide to use, that makes a vibrant forward thinking Council and can bring positive benefits to make the lives of their local communities more comfortable by representing the whole electorate within the parish, delivering and coordinating services to meet local needs and striving to improve the quality of life in the parish. Meetings of the Town Council are always open to members of the public and we would like to encourage you to join in.
Town Councils were created in law, they can only act within the law by exercising their powers and functions which have been conferred on them by Statutes (i.e. Acts of Parliament). Anything a Town Council tries to do outside these powers is ultra vires, in other words, outside the law. The range of powers available to Town Councils continues to change and proposals announced by the Government especially in relation to “Decentralisation and Localism” give a clear indication about the Government’s plans to reinvigorate local politics by giving more power to Councils and communities. However, the message is clear – services are to be improved by bringing them closer and making them more responsive to local communities.
Looe Town Council is responsible for allotments (on lease), public conveniences, the Mariners and Seamen Memorial Garden and the patients car park at the Old Bridge Surgery. The Town Council also owns and runs Looe Library and Community Hub and comments on planning applications within the parish too.
In Looe there are 15 elected or co-opted Councillors across two wards – East and West Looe. Councillors do not receive any financial reward for their time and work tirelessly on behalf of the community. Every 4 years there is an election where anyone who meets the criteria to become a Councillor can stand to be elected. The Mayor is chosen by the elected Councillors.
Town Councils do not receive Council Tax directly from the public, but are primarily funded, at present, from a small percentage of the Council Tax charge made by the Cornwall Council to parishioners. This is known as the Precept and the Town Council apply for this by the end of December each year. Town Council budgets are a tiny part of the whole Council Tax and Town Councils do not receive any Government funding or income from business rates.
Looe Town Council employs a Town Clerk; a Deputy Clerk; a Responsible Finance Officer; a Business Development Officer; an Administration & Planning Officer; a Community Hub Supervisor with 3 Community Information Officers; and a Cleaning & Maintenance Supervisor with 4 Operatives.