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A town or parish council represents the interests of the people in the parish. In more urban areas a parish council may choose to be called a town council.

Town and parish councillors are elected once every 4 years. The next election for all councillors will be Thursday 4 May 2023.

What town and parish councils do

Town and parish councils discuss issues of interest to the town or parish.

Town and parish councils have powers linked to planning, recreational facilities, halls, crime prevention, community transport, public toilets, tourism, allotments, footpaths and commons.

How we work with town and parish councils

We consult with parish councils on matters which affect the people in the parish.

The views of the town or parish council must be considered when making decisions.

Parish charter

As part of our commitment to working in partnership with town and parish councils we have a parish charter.

The charter sets out how we agree to work in partnership whilst respecting each other’s rights as separate democratic bodies.

There are 44 town and parish councils and 3 community groups that are signed up to the charter. Many of those are part of the Town and Parish Council Forum.

This group meets quarterly to monitor progress and to raise issues that need to be addressed.

Membership

A town and parish council is made up of on average 9 councillors and a parish clerk. This depends on the population of the area the parish serves.

The clerk is usually the only paid member of staff unless there are other staff such as caretakers or grounds people.

Funding

Town and parish councils are not funded by central or local government. A charge is made against all households in the parish and collected through council tax.

The level of the charge is set by the parish council and reflects the funding it will need for the coming year.

Consultation

Consultations are used to improve planning and to make better use of resources. These are shared at parish council meetings for discussion and decision making.

We allow at least 6 weeks for consultation (except on planning applications), unless there are very special circumstances. All departments who consult with town and parish councils should keep to this commitment.

We provide summary reports with key points for consultations that are over 4 pages in length.

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