The duty of the Parish Council is to endeavour to facilitate the affairs of the parish in the best interest of the inhabitants. Parish Councils have the right to raise and spend money and to participate in the planning process.
The Parish currently has an annual precept of about £980, half of which is accounted for by administration. Harbottle’s precept gives one of the lowest rate burdens per household in the District. Details of accounts and budgets are available from the clerk on request without charge. Audited accounts are published each year on the notice board.
The Parish is asked to give a percentage of any grants allocated by the district council for projects in the parish, such as the revitalisation of the Village Hall, and to look kindly on requests for assistance from within the parish, e.g. Toddlers, Woodland Workshops and Sports Groups. Regular donations are also given to organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Age Concern and The Alnwick Playhouse, all of which are of value to the community of the Parish.
The Parish Council meets once a month except for the months of April, August and December. It is required by law to hold annually an open meeting in the parish to give account of their work during the year, to listen to the concerns of the parishioners and to answer questions. All Parish Council meetings are advertised on the notice boards in the parish.
Any member of the community is welcome to attend but they may not speak at a monthly meeting unless the meeting is adjourned in order to seek advice on any item on which a member of the public might be thought to have special knowledge.
The Parish Council scrutinises planning applications for new buildings and building alterations in the parish and makes comments to the relevant planning authority i.e. Alnwick District Council or the Northumberland National Park. All local authorities District Council, County Council, Northumberland National Park, Environment Agency etc. are required to produce a development plan, which is updated at regular intervals. All drafts of these plans and the finished projections are sent to the Parish Council for scrutiny and comment.
Harbottle Parish Council has always been non party political and at parish level this is a valuable philosophy as it gives equal weight to the opinions of all members.