WHAT CAN LOCAL COUNCILS DO? 

The powers which have been vested in Parish, Town and Community Councils be Acts of Parliament are summarised below.  Each description is brief and is intended to be a general indication.  Like all powers given to public bodies, the powers of local councils are defined in detail in legislation and these details may include a requirement to obtain the consent of another body (for example the approval of the County Council to the provision of a car park).  Local Councils must exercise their powers also subject to the provisions of the general law (for example planning permission is necessary for a sports pavilion).  Information on all these details should be in the hands of the Clerks of the Council.The powers are listed below.  Where a power is marked with an asterisk, the council may, in addition to exercising the power itself, help another body to act by giving financial assistance. 

Function

Powers & Duties

Statutory Provisions

 

 

 

Allotments

Powers to provide allotments. Duty to provide allotment gardens if demanded unsatisfied

Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, & 42

Baths and Washhouses

Power to provide public baths and washhouses

Public Health At 1936, Ss 221, 222, 223 & 227

Burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria

Power to acquire and maintain

Power to provide

Power to agree to maintain monuments and memorials

Power to contribute towards expenses of cemeteries

Open Spaces Act 1906, Ss 9 and 10; Local Government Act 1972, s. 214; Parish Councils and Burial Authorities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970, s.1 Local Government Act 1972, s. 215(6)

Bus Shelters

Power to provide and maintain shelters

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1953, s. 4

Bye Laws

Power to make bye-laws in regard to pleasure grounds

Cycle Parks

Baths and Washhouses

Open spaces and burial grounds

Mortuaries and post-mortem rooms

Public Health Act 1875, s. 164

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.57(7)

Public Health Act 1936, s.223

Open Spaces Act 1906, s.15

Public Health Act 1936, s.198

Charities

Duty to receive accounts of parochial charities

Charities Act 1960, s.32

Clocks

Power to provide public clocks

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.2

Closed Churchyards

Powers as to maintenance

Local Government Act 1972, s.215

Commons and common pastures

Powers in relation to enclosure, as to regulation and management, and as to providing common pasture

Enclosure Act 1845;
Local Government Act 1894, s.8(4);
Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, s.34

Conference facilities

Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities

Local Government Act 1972, s.144

 

 

Community centres

Power to provide and equip buildings for use of clubs having athletic, social or educational objectives

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 s.19

Crime prevention

Powers to spend money on various crime prevention measures

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31

Drainage

Power to deal with ponds and ditches

Public Health Act 1936, s.260

Education

Right to appoint school governors

Education (No.2) Act 1986, s.4

Entertainment and the arts

Provision of entertainment and support of the arts

Local Government Act 1972, s.145

Gifts

Power to accept

 

Local Government Act 1972, s.139

Highways

Power to repair and maintain public footpaths and bridle-ways. Power to light roads and public places

Provision of litter bins

Power to provide parking places for vehicles, bicycles and motor-cycles. Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening. Power to provide roadside seats and shelters, and omnibus shelters. Consent of parish council required for ending maintenance of highway at public expense, or for stopping up or diversion of highway. Power to complain to district council as to protection of rights of way and roadside wastes

Power to provide traffic signs and other notices

Power to plant trees etc. and to maintain roadside verges

Highways Act 1980, ss.43,50

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.3;
Highways Act 1980, s.301

Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, ss.57,63

Highways Act 1980, ss.30,72

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.1

Highways Act 1980, ss.47,116

Highways Act 1980, s.130

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.72

Highways Act 1980, s.96

Investments

 

Power to participate in schemes of collective investment

Trustee Investments Act 1961, s.11

Land

Power to acquire by agreement, to appropriate, to dispose of

Power to accept gifts of land

Local Government Act 1972, ss.124, 126, 127

Local government Act 1972, s.139

Litter

Provision of receptacles

Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6

Lotteries

Powers to promote

Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976, s.7

Mortuaries and post mortem rooms

Powers to provide mortuaries and post mortem rooms

Public Health Act 1936, s.198

Nuisances

Power to deal with offensive ditches

Public Health Act 1936, s.260

Open spaces

Power to acquire land and maintain

Public health Act 1875, s.164
Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10

Parish Property and documents

Powers to direct as to their custody

Local Government Act 1972, s.226

Postal and telecommunications facilities

Power to pay the Post Office, British Telecommunications or any other public telecommunications operator any loss sustained providing post or telegraph office or telecommunication facilities

Post Office Act 1953, s.51;
Telecommunications Act 1984, s.97

Public buildings and village hall

Power to provide buildings for offices and for public meetings and assemblies

Local Government Act 1972, s.133

Public Conveniences

Power to provide

Public Health Act 1936, s.87

Recreation

Power to acquire land for or to provide recreation grounds, public walks, pleasure grounds and open spaces and to manage and control them

Power to provide gymnasiums, playing fields, holiday camps

Provision of boating pools

Public Health Act 1875, s.164
Local Government Act 1972, Sched.14 para.27
Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1890 s.44
Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, s.19

Public Health Act 1961, s.54

Town and Country Planning

Right to be notified of planning applications

Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Sched.1, para.8

Tourism

Power to contribute to organisations encouraging

Local Government Act 1972, s.144

Traffic Calming

Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.30

Transport

Powers to spend money on community transport schemes

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.26-29

War memorials

Power to maintain, repairs, protect and adapt war memorials

War Memorials (Local Authorities' Powers) Act 1923, s.1; as extended by Local Government Act 1948, s.133

Water Supply

Power to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water therefrom

ublic Health Act 1936, s.125