What is a Parish Council?

Parish Councils
Parishes are the smallest areas of civil administration in England and provide the statutory tier of local government closest to the people.
What is a Parish Council?
It is a statutory local authority set up under the Local Government Act 1972.  It operates in the area of a defined civil parish or group of parishes.  In Peterborough there are two tiers of local government –Peterborough City Council and /Parish Councils.  Parish Councils are an essential part of the structure of local democracy and have a vital role in acting on behalf of the communities they represent.  They –

  • give views, on behalf of the community, on planning applications and other proposals that affect the parish;
  • undertake projects and schemes that benefit local residents;
  • work in partnership with other bodies to achieve benefits for the parish;
  • alert relevant authorities to problems that arise or work that needs to be undertaken; and
  • help the other tiers of local government keep in touch with their local communities.

What powers do Parish Councils have?
They have a wide range of powers which essentially relate to local matters, such as looking after community buildings, open space, allotments, play areas, bus shelters, and much more.  The Council also has the power to raise money through taxation, the precept.  The precept is the parish council’s share of the council tax.  The precept demand goes to the billing authority, which collects the tax for the Parish Council.

The Government introduced the Quality Parish and Town Council Scheme in 2003 with the aim of encouraging Councils, on behalf of their communities, to have a greater say in the running and improvement of local services.  Newborough is aiming for quality status

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