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Parish and town powers


Town and parish councils have historically had a wide range of powers that enable them to provide extensive services to their communities, if they so wish.

Some of the services that can be delivered by town and parish councils include:

  • Provide allotments.
  • Acquire, maintain and provide burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria.
  • Maintain monuments and memorials and contribute towards the expenses of cemeteries.
  • Provide and maintain bus shelters.
  • Make laws for public regulation which apply in a certain area, known as byelaws. These byelaws could cover pleasure grounds, cycle parks, open spaces and burial grounds.
  • Enclose, regulate and manage commons (land that people have traditional rights to use in certain ways) and provide common pasture.
  • Provide and equip buildings for use by athletic, social or educational clubs.
  • Spend money on various crime-prevention measures.
  • Provide entertainment and support for the arts.
  • Repair and maintain public footpaths and bridleways.
  • Provide lighting for roads and public places.
  • Provide litter bins, parking places for vehicles, bicycles and motor-cycles, roadside seats and shelters, bus shelters, traffic signs and other notices.
  • Plant trees and maintain roadside verges.
  • Provide litter bins.
  • Provide mortuaries and post-mortem rooms.
  • Deal with problems such as blocked ditches, ponds, pools and gutters where stagnant water can collect.
  • Acquire and maintain land to be used as open space.
  • Provide public toilets.
  • Acquire land for and provide recreation grounds, public walks and pleasure grounds, and manage and control them.
  • Provide gyms, playing fields, holiday camps and boating pools.
  • Be told about planning applications in the parish and submit comments on them to the district or borough council.
  • Make financial contributions to organisations encouraging tourism.
  • Help pay for traffic-calming schemes.
  • Spend money on community transport schemes.
Contact us
Local Councils Team
Our address is:
  • Room 4/126
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
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