Traceable roots of the Town Council include a commemorative stone plaque on the gable end of a property in School Yard which testifies - “This entrance to the cattle market made by order of the Town Council August 1852 J.P. Everard Esq. Mayor”.
Another reference to the earlier Town Council can be found beneath the “Pillar of Salt” traffic sign on the Angel Hill (pictured right), which was designed by Basil Oliver, “Architect to The Bury St Edmunds Town Council”, 1935.
Accountability and Funding
The Town Council is publicly accountable through its meetings and published documents. It is principally funded through the Council Tax with its financial position being subject to independent internal and external audits. Total operating funding for 2020/21 is £585,620 (including £566,676 raised from Council Tax, known as 'precept'). The current year's budget can be downloaded from the Finance pages of this website. Between December 2005 and January 2015 the Town Council held national recognition as a Quality Town Council, confirming compliance with standards set by the National Association of Local Councils and other government bodies. On 6 January 2015 this scheme was replaced by the 'Local Council Award Scheme' and any council accredited previously under the Quality Status Scheme could apply for automatic transition to the new scheme - as a result the Town Council held the Foundation level award for one year until January 2016.
The Town Council comprises 17 Councillors representing nine Wards of the Town, each elected to hold office for four years. Elections took place in May 2019 and are next scheduled for 2023 and at intervals of four years thereafter. The Council has recently resolved to use the titles of Town Mayor and Deputy Town Mayor again (after several years of using the titles of Chairman and Vice-Chairman) and the Town Mayor or in his absence the Deputy Mayor represents the council at civic functions and are entitled to wear the council's chains of office.
The business of the council and its decision making is conducted by the whole council or a committee, such as the Planning Licensing and Finance committee, to whom authority to do so has been delegated. Subordinate committees such as the Staffing and Employment committee have also been established to ensure that business can be transacted efficiently and effectively, their recommendations being considered and subject to ratification by Council.
Members represent the Council on external bodies, including:
- Bury in Bloom Committee
- Christmas Fayre Working Group
- Suffolk Association of Local Councils (SALC).
In addition, the Council appoints two trustees (who need not be members of the Council) to the Guildhall Feoffment Trust, who serve for a 4 year term.
The Council is supported by three part-time members of staff:
- Town Clerk, having overall accountability for servicing the Council
- Assistant Town Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer, having specific responsibility for the financial systems of the Council
- Allotments and Administrative Assistant.
Areas of Service
Representation of the Town Council at public events; acting as a ‘community voice' on issues referred for statutory consultation; responding to community needs and expectations.
Planning and Licensing applications
Viewing and commenting upon relevant planning and licensing applications; providing a perspective to the longer-term development of the town. There is lots of available Information about planning and licensing matters which you may find useful.
Operating within the bounds of probity; endeavouring to demonstrate best value; ensuring growth commensurate with demands and resources.
Provision of allotments for hire to residents in the parish of Bury St Edmunds on five different sites in the town including in Cotton Lane, Barn Lane, Vinefields, Nowton Road and Sicklesmere Road.
Since April 2007 the annually displayed Nativity Sculpture has been held by the Town Council in trust for the people of Bury St Edmunds.
Since April 2007 the care and management of memorials at Angel Hill and Cornhill have been responsibilities of the council.
Armistice Day commemoration
Since 2013 the annual '11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month' commemoration at the Angel Hill war memorial has been organised by the council.
Premises at 79 Whiting Street, which is owned by the Guildhall in Bury St Edmunds have been secured to sustain corporate requirements and public interface.
Health and safety management
Exercise of devolved powers to provide salt/grit bins at sites in the Town; dog waste and litter bins at many locations across the Town in response to residents' requests and repairs to pavements considered of low priority by the County Council's policy.
Income, expenditure, budgets and audit information is provided here and further details can be obtained from the Responsible Financial Officer.
The council is keen to support the local community by awarding grant funding and applications can be submitted throughout the year.