Online Postcode checker to help residents identify their parish area

Households in Swindon can now check what parish council area they will live in, thanks to a new postcode checker on the Council’s website.

Last month, the Council decided to create four new parish councils in Swindon, which will mean that 64,000 additional properties will be incorporated within a parished area for the first time.

Parish councils are already well-established in other areas of the Borough and have provided local services for the residents there for many years.

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The four new parishes being created are West Swindon, Central Swindon North, and Central Swindon South, all of which are in previously unparished areas, while a new St Andrews Parish has been created from part of the current Blunsdon St Andrew Parish. In addition, the existing Parish of Nythe has been extended to include Eldene and Liden.

Residents can find out which parished area they live in by using the postcode checker at: www.swindon.gov.uk/parishes

In each of the new parishes, a shadow parish council has been formed. This is made up largely of Swindon Borough Council ward councillors from each area.

The shadow parish councils are responsible for deciding which services they wish to provide in each of their areas, setting their budget and the resulting precept, and putting in place arrangements for services to be provided from1st April 2017, including the appointment of staff and the letting of contracts.

Work is currently underway with Swindon Borough Council staff to make these arrangements.

The webpage has links to information for each new shadow parish council, including a list of all shadow parish councillors. The shadow parish council details will be updated with further information when available, such as when public meetings will be held.

Elections for the new parish councils will be held on 4 May and details of these and how to become involved in parish councils is also available on the webpage.

The decision to parish previously unparished areas of the Borough followed a year-long Community Governance Review process which involved extensive engagement and formal consultation with residents and parish councils.

One of the reasons for the review was to enable community empowerment, and allow Swindon Borough Council to devolve powers to neighbourhood level and extend localism.

Existing Parish councils are already successfully providing or taking on services including street cleaning, the removal of low-level graffiti and fly-tipping, grounds and play area maintenance and litter bin emptying.

Cllr Mary Martin, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “The formation of the four new parish councils is a fundamental change to the way local services will be delivered within communities so I would encourage people in those areas to use the postcode checker and the webpage to find out a bit more about how these changes will affect them.

“By transferring services to some parish councils already, we have seen how this can have a really positive impact on local neighbourhoods and how services can be improved. This is a great opportunity for anyone wishing to take an active role in their community to get involved.”