Parish Council Powers

A parish council is a statutory local authority in its own right, having a fairly wide variety of powers conferred by many statutes.

Although its powers are not as extensive as those of county and borough/district councils, a parish council should not be regarded as being subordinate to either of those tiers of local government.

A parish council, being at grass roots level, has an important role in the local government field, representing the community which it is elected to serve.


Power & Duties

Statutory Provisions


Duty to provide allotments. Power to improve and adapt land for allotments, and to let grazing rights.

Small Holdings & Allotments Act 1908, ss23,26 and 42

Baths & Washhouses

Power to provide public baths and washhouses

Public Health Act 1936
ss.221, 222, 223 and 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.214(6)

Bus shelters

Power to provide and maintain shelters

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


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


Power to provide public clocks

Parish Council Act 1957 s.2

Closed churchyards

Powers as to maintenance

Local Government Act 1972 s.215

Common pastures

Powers in relation to providing common pasture

Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, s.34

Community centres

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

Local Government (Miscellaneous provisions) Act 1976 s.19

Conference facilities

Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities

Local Government Act 1972, s.144

Crime prevention

Powers to install and maintain equipment and establish and maintain a scheme for detection of prevention of crime

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31


Power to deal with ponds and ditches

Public Health Act 1936, s.260

Entertainment and the arts

Provision of the entertainments and support of the arts

Local Government Act 1972 s.145


Power to accept

Local Government Act 1972 s.139


Power to maintain footpaths and bridleways.
Power to provide parking places for bicycles and motor-cycles and other vehicles.
Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening.
Power to provide roadside seats and shelters.
Power to light roads and public places.
Provision of litter bins.
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 highway authority as to unlawful stopping up or obstruction of highway or unlawful encroachment on roadside wastes.
Power to provide traffic signs and other objects or devices warning of danger.
Power to plant trees and lay out grass verges etc and to maintain them.
Investments Power to participate in schemes of collective investment.

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
Trustee Investments Act 1961 s.11


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


Provision of receptacles

Litter Act 1983 ss.5,6


Power 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

Open spaces

Power to acquire land and maintain

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

Parish documents

Powers to direct as to their custody

Local Government Act 1972 s.226

Public buildings and village halls

Power to provide buildings for public meetings and assemblies

Local Government Act 1972 s.133

Public conveniences

Power to provide

Public Health Act 1936, s.87

Telecommunications facilities

Power to pay public telecommunications operators any loss sustained providing telecommunications facilities

Telecommunications Act 1984 s.97

Town and country planning

Right to be notified of planning applications

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


Power to encourage visitors and provide conference and other facilities

Local Government Act 1972, s.144

Traffic calming

Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes

Highways Act 1980, s.274a


Powers in relation to car-sharing schemes, taxi fare concessions and information about transport.
Powers to make grants for bus services

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.26, 28 and 29.
Transport Act 1985, s106a

War memorials

Power to maintain, repair, protect and alter 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 from them

Public Health Act 1936, s.125