Roles and responsibilities

Below are the general powers and responsibilities of a town council.

Duties and powers of town councils

Duty to provide facilities

  • Allotments – Duty to consider providing allotment gardens if demand unsatisfied.

Powers to provide facilities

  • 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:

  • 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 schools
  • Appointing trustees of local charities