The Council - About Us

Puddletown Area Parish Council covers 2 parishes – Athelhampton & Puddletown plus Burleston & Tolpuddle - an area of 4,075 hectares and, according to the 2010 census, comprising 852 dwellings. By the 2021 Census there were 2905 dwellings, (15 Athelhampton, 10 Burleston, 645 Puddletown & 214 Tolpuddle)The Council consists of 12 councillors, elected to serve a four year term. The council appoints and employs the Clerk who administers the affairs of the council between meetings.

The Area Parish Council holds 12 meetings a year starting at 7pm. The Annal Parish Meeting is held in April for Burleston & Tolpuddle and in May for Athelhampton & Puddletown. The meetings always start with a short democratic period for members of the public to raise issues of concern. For more information about our meetings, please see our Council Meetings Page.

What is a Parish Council?
It is the first tier of Local Government and was created by statute in 1894 under the Local Government Act

Parish Councils have their origins in the development of villages centuries ago. When villages were ruled by the Lord of the Manor Parish Priests, and often Schoolmasters would join him to form a ruling clique. By the 17th century Church Vestry Meetings were given the responsibility of levying the “poor rate” (The first effective taxes).

The 1894 Local Government Act was seen through parliament by the then Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone. Whilst seeing a lot of opposition it nevertheless became law and Parish Councils were formed.

There are over 8,500 Parish Councils today acting as a focus for local opinion and providing a way to push policy in a way best suited to the local community.

Roles and Responsibilities of Parish Councils

For a more complete guide (but by no means exhaustive) please see the following pdf document: Powers and Functions of Parish Councils.