The Bexhill Charter Trustees comprise of all 18 Rother District Councillors who represent the wards in Bexhill, once elected to Rother, they automatically become a Charter Trustee.
The Trustees came into existence in April 1974, when the old Bexhill Borough Council was merged with the Rye Corporation and the Battle Rural District Council to form the new Rother District Council. Some areas opted at that time to create new “Town Councils”, but the decision was taken not to do this, but to form a Charter Trustee Body.
There are currently only 12 Charter Trustee bodies in England and Wales.
The role of the Trustees is purely ceremonial, they elect a Mayor and Deputy Mayor each May, and safeguard the traditions of the former Borough of Bexhill. They maintain the civic regalia and the “Town Plate”, which is a collection of gifts and artefacts that were donated to the Town during its days as a Borough.
The Trustees meet formally on 4 occasions each year, they receive reports from the Mayor and Clerk and they set an annual budget which covers the running cost of the Trustees. They make a formal precept for funds to the Rother District Council, in the same way that Parish and Town Councils do. The cost of the Trustees is paid for solely by the residents of Bexhill, and is calculated based on the council tax property band. For a band D household in 2018 /19 the cost is 86p, across the District the annual cost works out at 66p per household.
The Mayor of Bexhill represents the Charter Trustees at numerous functions each year (sometimes as many as 250) both within, and outside of the town of Bexhill, whilst neither he/she, nor the Charter Trustees themselves have any “executive powers”, the Mayor is seen as an extremely important person within the locality, and brings a great sense of civic pride to all events which he/she attends.