Shipley Parish is one of the largest geographical parishes within West Sussex and incorporates the villages of Shipley and Coolham together with the hamlets of Dragons Green and Brooks Green within its borders. The parish is unusual in this part of England in that it is almost entirely rural with a population of approximately 1300 residents.
The Parish Council was initially formed on 4th December 1894 by Sir Raymond Burrell, one of the principal landowners in the parish. A parish council is the level of elected government that is closest to the community, with the district authority (Horsham District Council) above it in the hierarchy. Parish councils have no true equivalent in urban areas. Being close to the community, parish councils are very often the first place people will go with concerns or ideas. For this reason they play a vital part in village life, making decisions on behalf of the people in the parish. A parish councillor must have a passion for making a difference within their local community, recognising the needs of the young and the elderly in equal measure while taking into consideration the legal boundaries in which they work.
The number of councillors making up a parish council varies with the size of the parish – in Shipley we have eleven. They are elected to serve for a period of four years and the last election took place in May 2015. Their work is entirely voluntary; no Councillor receives any payment for attending the meetings. Councillors are entitled to be reimbursed for expenditure incurred on Council business according to scales laid down by Horsham District Council.