Parish and town councils

Parish and town councils are the most local form of government and can represent areas ranging from a handful of electors to those with over 40,000 electors. The general rule is that parish and town councils are based on an area that reflects community identity and interests.  The community interests of the residents of the parish are represented by elected local councillors.  Parish and town councils represent your local community's interests to Calderdale Council on things like planning applications.  They can also choose to deliver services that can improve the local area (e.g. public toilets, allotments, Christmas lighting, floral arrangements, bus shelters, litter bins, tourism etc).  They can develop a community plan and can comment on all planning applications in their area as a consultee.

The Localism Act 2012 gives greater powers to parish and town councils as they offer democratic representation and accountability, the ability to influence decision making by other bodies and the ability to deliver existing services or provide additional services.

These include the preparation of a neighbourhood development plan or order which when completed becomes part of the local development plan for the area and has to be used as a basis for making decisions on planning.

Is there a difference between a parish and town council?

No, they both have the same statutory powers and can provide the same services. The only differences are that a town council has decided that it should be called a town council instead of a parish council and a town council usually has a Mayor. 

What does a parish or town council do?

Parish and town councils are democratically elected bodies that have the power to do a number of things, including providing allotments, bus shelters, supporting local crime initiatives and local highway matters such as street lighting and maintenance of roadside verges.  They can be involved in provision of community transport schemes, sport and recreation facilities and tourism. A parish or town council does not replace the district council.  It provides an additional layer of government.

How are parish and town councils funded?

Parish, town and community councils are funded through a sum of money called a 'precept'.  This is a separate charge which is added to, and collected along with, your existing council tax. The parish, town or community council will decide what it will need for the coming year and that depends on what services and facilities are needed by the local community.  Parish and town councils can also apply for grants and loans. 

Are parish or town councillors paid an allowance?

Parish and town councillors are not usually paid an allowance, but may incur costs, which can be reimbursed.

Copyright 2020 Todmorden Town Council