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What Does a Parish Council Do?

Parish councils have the power to precept (tax) their residents to support their operations and to carry out local projects. The money can only be raised for a limited number of purposes, defined in the 1894 Act and subsequent legislation. Parish councils have powers to provide some facilities themselves, or they can contribute towards their provision by others. Services provided include the following:

• Allotments
• Support and encouragement of arts and crafts
• Provision of village halls
• Recreation grounds, parks, children’s play areas, playing fields and swimming baths
• Cemeteries and crematoria
• Maintenance of closed churchyards
• Cleaning and drainage of ponds etc.
• Control of litter
• Creation and maintenance of footpaths and bridleways
• Provision of cycle and motorcycle parking
• Acquisition and maintenance of rights of way
• Public clocks
• War memorials
• Encouragement of tourism
• 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 possess the following powers:
• Withholding of consent to stop up unclassified highways and footpaths
• Consultation on appointment of managers of primary schools
• Trustees or appointing trustees of charities

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