Town Council Powers and Functions

As a tier of local government Town Councils are elected bodies with discretionary powers and rights laid down by Parliament to represent their communities and provide services for them.

All councils are constituted in the same way; Councillors (or “Members”) are elected by the local government electorate and each council has a Chair, who must be one of the elected Councillors.

A council is a corporate body. A council’s lawful acts, assets and liabilities are its own and not those of its Councillors or any other council. A council must act within the law: it can spend, raise or use money only if it has a statutory power to do so, otherwise it acts ultra vires (beyond its powers).

Councils have a wide range of powers under different acts of Parliament. Most of these powers are discretionary, i.e. a council may do something, rather than it must do something.


List of Town Council Powers & Duties
(this is not an exhaustive list)
Function Powers & Duties
Allotments Duty to provide allotments
Power to improve and adapt land for allotments, and to let grazing rights
Baths and washhouses Power to provide public baths and washhouses
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
Bus shelters Power to provide and maintain shelters
Bye-laws Power to make Bye-laws in regard to pleasure grounds
Power to provide Cycle parks
Power to provide Baths and washhouses
Power to provide Open spaces and burial grounds
Power to provide Mortuaries and post-mortem rooms
Clocks Power to provide public clocks
Closed churchyards Powers as to maintenance
Common pastures Powers in relation to providing common pasture
Conference facilities Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities
Community centres Power to provide and equip buildings for use of clubs having athletic, social or recreational objectives
Crime prevention Powers to install and maintain equipment and establish and maintain a scheme for detection or prevention of crime
Power to contribute to police services e.g. PCSOs
Duty on Parish Councils to consider crime reduction in every policy and action
Drainage Power to deal with ponds and ditches
Dogs Power to make a Dog Control Order
Power to take enforcement action against those who commit an offence against a Dog Control Order
Entertainment and the arts Power to provide provision of entertainment and support of the arts
Flyposting and Graffiti Power to take enforcement action against those that flypost or graffiti
Gifts Power to accept
Highways Power to maintain footpaths and bridle-ways
Power to light roads and public places
Provision of litter bins
Powers 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 Consent to ending of 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
Land Power to acquire by agreement, to appropriate, to dispose of
Power to accept gifts of land
Litter Power to provide receptacles
Power to take enforcement action against those that litter
Lotteries Powers to promote
Mortuaries and post mortem rooms Powers to provide mortuaries and post mortem rooms
Open spaces Power to acquire land and maintain
Parish documents Powers to direct as to their custody
Telecommunications facilities Power to pay public telecommunications operators any loss sustained providing telecommunication facilities
Public buildings and village hall Power to provide buildings for public meetings and assemblies
Public conveniences Power to provide
Sustainable communities Power to provide representative on panel to be consulted on proposals that would contribute to sustainable communities
Town and country planning Right to be notified of planning applications
Tourism Power to encourage visitors and provide conference and other facilities
Traffic calming Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes
Transport Powers in relation to car-sharing schemes, taxi fare concessions and information about transport
Powers to make grants for bus services
War memorials Power to maintain, repair, protect and alter war memorials
Water supply Power to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water from them

The next tier of local government in Shropshire is the Unitary Council, in our case Shropshire Council. For enquiries relating to the responsibilities of Shropshire Council, please ring their Customer Service Helpline on 0345 678 9000.