Banwell shown within Somerset
|Unitary authority||North Somerset|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Avon and Somerset|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|List of places: UK • England • Somerset|
The parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch groups on matters of crime, security, and traffic. The parish council's role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, such as the village hall or community centre, playing fields and playgrounds, as well as consulting with the district council on the maintenance, repair, and improvement of highways, drainage, footpaths, public transport, and street cleaning. Conservation matters (including trees and listed buildings) and environmental issues are also of interest to the council.
The parish falls within the unitary authority of North Somerset which was created in 1996, as established by the Local Government Act 1992. It provides a single tier of local government with responsibility for almost all local government functions within their area including local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection, recycling, cemeteries, crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism. They are also responsible for education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning, although fire, police and ambulance services are provided jointly with other authorities through the Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the Great Western Ambulance Service.
North Somerset's area covers part of the ceremonial county of Somerset but it is administered independently of the non-metropolitan county. Its administrative headquarters are in the town hall in Weston-super-Mare. Between April 1 1974 and April 1 1996, it was the Woodspring district of the county of Avon. Before 1974 that the parish was part of the Axbridge Rural District.
The parish is represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom as part of the Weston-super-Mare constituency. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. It is also part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament which elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
Banwell is located 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Weston-super-Mare on the A371 road and is where the western end of the A368 road begins. The village is at the west end of the northern side of the Mendip hills.
The village is located between the M5 motorway and the A38, and is used by traffic travelling from the motorway to Bristol International Airport. This traffic, together with other users of the A371 and A368, often causes the narrow streets of Banwell to become jammed. There has been a campaign to bypass Banwell for many years but other villages in the area have objected as increasing the traffic capacity on the roads would create problem on their roads. The Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study in 2006 recommended that a road be built from Junction 21 of the M5 directly to Bristol International Airport, bypassing Banwell and all the other local villages, thus alleviating their concerns. However, this would not benefit local traffic passing through Banwell to and from Weston-super-Mare, Wells and Bath so some traffic problems would still exist.
Banwell Caves are a 1.7 hectares (4.2 acres) geological and biological Site of Special Scientific Interest at the western end of Banwell Hill.
The mainly 15th-century parish church of St Andrew is a Grade I listed building. The body of the church has a nave with a clerestory, north and south aisles and a rather short chancel, considering the proportions of the rest of the church. The font dates from the 12th century and there is a carved stone pulpit from the 15th century and a carved rood screen built and set up in 1552, which escaped the Reformation. The 100 ft (30 m) high tower that contains ten bells dates from the 18th to 20th century and the clock is dated 1884. Bells dating from 1734 and 1742 were made by Thomas Bilbie, of the Bilbie family.