< The Role of a Local Council

Powers to provide facilities

Parish councils have powers to provide some facilities themselves, or they can contribute towards their provision by others. There are large variations in the services provided by parishes, but they can include the following:

  • Support and encouragement of arts and crafts
  • Provision of village halls
  • Provision and maintenance of recreation grounds, parks, children’s play areas, playing fields and swimming baths
  • Provision and maintenance of cemeteries and crematoria
  • Maintenance of closed churchyards
  • Cleaning and drainage of ponds, watercourses and ditches
  • Control of litter
  • Provision and maintenance of public toilets
  • Creation and maintenance of footpaths and bridleways
  • Provision of cycle and motorcycle parking
  • Acquisition and maintenance of rights of way
  • Provision and maintenance of public clocks
  • Maintenance of war memorials
  • Encouragement of tourism

They may also provide the following, subject to the consent of the county council or unitary authority of the area in which they lie:

  • Bus shelters
  • Signposting of footpaths
  • Lighting of footpaths
  • Off-street car parks
  • Provision, maintenance and protection of roadside verges
Representative powers

Parish councils must be notified by the district or county council of:

  • All planning applications in their areas
  • Intention to provide a burial ground in the parish
  • Proposals to carry out sewerage works
  • Footpath and bridleway (more generally, ‘rights of way’) surveys
  • Intention to make byelaws in relation to hackney carriages, music and dancing, promenades, sea shore and street naming
Miscellaneous powers

In some cases parish councils exercise the following powers:

  • Creation of a neighbourhood plan
  • Guardianship of common land
  • Withholding of consent to stop up unclassified highways and footpaths
  • Consultation on appointment of governors of primary schools
  • Appointing trustees of local charities

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