About the Parish & Parish Council

The South Tarrant Valley Parish Council is situated in Dorset and includes the four parishes of Tarrant Crawford, Tarrant Keyneston, Tarrant Rawston and Tarrant Rushton.

An image of the three churches of the Tarrants

A parish council is the first level of local government and the closest to the community it serves.  The South Tarrant Valley Council exists to help residents and be a point of contact for ideas and suggestions for improvements in the village.  The Parish Council’s powers and duties are laid out under local government statute and it has legal responsibilities as an employer.

There are approximately 209 dwellings in the parish with a population of approximately 520.  Local employment opportunities are largely in farming, but a significant number work from home. The parish has one North/South road, the B3082 linking Blandford (3 miles)and Wimborne (6 miles) the two main towns to which parishioners turn for services. There is also the rural valley road following the river and linking the four parishes and the North end of the Tarrant Valley. There is no public transport and so residents use their own transport to access services. A school bus takes primary school children to Spetisbury, and secondary school children to Blandford.

The True Lovers Knot pub can be found in Tarrant Keyneston, together with a village hall with play areas and a perfumery with botanical gardens and cafe at Tarrant Keyneston Mill. There is a farm shop at Tarrant Rawston and the Airfield Memorial at Tarrant Rushton. There are three active churches and a private church within the parish, which is part of the Chase Benefice.

In addition there are 2 small campsites within Tarrant Keyneston run by other local businesses.

There is a lively community spirit within the Parish including, The Tarrant Valley Players, Tarrant Ladies Group and a Toddler Group

Principle Authority:
Dorset Council

Parish Group:
South Tarrant Valley Parish Council

Grouped Parishes: 
Tarrant Crawford
Tarrant Keyneston
Tarrant Rawston
Tarrant Rushton

County Councillor:
Cllr Piers Brown

Parish Councillors:
James Cossins (Chairman)
Christopher Garland (Deputy Chairman)
Nick Harding
Stuart Thomson
Nick Parker
Mark Deketelaere
Pam Eaton
Tim Munford
Andy Sweetland
Debbie Beale
Maggie Topliss
Kate Huck (Parish Clerk)

The parish council Clerk is the ‘engine’ of an effective parish council.   He or she is its principal executive and adviser and, for the majority of smaller parish councils, is the officer responsible for the administration of its financial affairs. 

The Clerk is sometimes a councils only employee. 

The Clerk is required to give clear guidance to Councillors, including the Chair, before decisions are reached, even when that guidance may be unpalatable. 

The Clerk has a key role in advising the council, and Councillors, on governance, ethical and procedural matters.  They must also liaise with the Monitoring Officer at the district/unitary council on ethical issues and the Councillors’ Register of Interests.

The Clerk may also carry out the role of the Finance Officer.

The Clerk is an independent and objective servant of the council who takes instructions from the corporate body and must recognise that the council is responsible for all decisions.