Parish and town councils

Details on how many parish and town councils there are, what their role is and how to contact or find out who your councillor is plus access to parish and town councillor's register of interests,

What is the role of parish and town councils?

In England alone, there are over 9,000 parish councils and town councils. They are the tier of Local Government which are closest to the people.

Parish and town councils are executive bodies which have statutory powers and duties. Each is expected to (and often asked to) voice the views of the community that they represent on planning applications, local plans and other issues. They also nominate members to represent the view of the parish on outside bodies and, in turn, report back on the business of the body concerned.

They are frequently expected to lead on projects that will benefit the local community because it is often the only body with access to information and with the resources to take an initiative.

Parish and town council councillors are also required to sign up to their council's Code of Conduct and, in doing so, pledge to observe the requirements contained within it.

Parish and town councils can be responsible for a range of services and each parish council has a different combination of powers and duties. If you contact East Riding of Yorkshire Council or a parish or town council in relation to local issues, please be aware that you may be referred from one to the other depending on which council is responsible. East Riding of Yorkshire Council and parish and town councils are committed to working together and, while there are many services that they deliver together, responsibility for some services does vary in different areas of the East Riding.

If you would like to find out whether East Riding of Yorkshire Council or a parish council is responsible for the issue you would like to discuss before you contact them, you can:

  • search East Riding of Yorkshire Council's website using the search bar at the top of this webpage, or
  • check for details on your parish council's website using the 'Find my parish council' link in the section below.

How do I contact or find out who my parish or town councillor is?

Please use our parish finder to find out the contact details for your parish or town clerk. The clerk will then be able to put you in touch with the relevant councillor.

Find my parish council

Where can I obtain further information about the powers of a town or parish council, the role of the Clerk and governance arrangements, etc?

The table below shows the general powers and duties that parish and town councils may have.

Powers and duties of parish councils

FunctionPowers & DutiesStatutory Provisions
Access land Power to enforce bye-laws made by another authority Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, s. 17
Allotments Duty to provide allotments. Power to improve and adapt land for allotments, and to let grazing rights Small Holdings & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, and 42
Baths and washhouses Powers relating to the provision of public baths, washhouses and bathing huts Public Health Act 1936, ss. 221 - 223 and 225 - 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 Provisions) Act 1953, s. 4
Bye-laws 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 Conveniences Public Health Act 1875, s. 164 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.57(7) Public Health Act 1936, s.223 Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.15 and 12 Public Health Act 1936, s.198 Public Health Act 1936, s. 87
Clocks Power to provide public clocks Parish Councils Act 1957, s.2
Closed churchyards Powers as to maintenance Local Government Act 1972, s.215
Commons Power for parish council to contribute to expense relating to scheme for the regulation and management of a common Commons Act 1899, s.5
Common pastures Powers in relation to providing common pasture Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, s.34
Conference facilities Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities Local Government Act 1972, s.144
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
Crime prevention Powers to install and maintain equipment and establish and maintain a scheme for detection or prevention of crime Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31
Drainage Power to deal with ponds and ditches Public Health Act 1936, s.260
Entertainment and the arts Provision of entertainment and support of the arts Local Government Act 1972, s.145
Financial assistance Duty to require information Local Government Act 1972, s.137A
General powers Power to incur expenditure for certain purposes Local Government Act 1972, s. 137
Gifts Power to accept Local Government Act 1972, s.139
Highways Power to maintain footpaths and bridleways Power to light roads and public places Provision of litter bins Powers to provide parking places for bicycles and motorcycles, and other vehicles Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening Power to provide roadside seats and shelters 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 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
Investments Power to participate in schemes of collective investment Trustee Investments Act 1961, s.11
Land 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
Litter Provision of receptacles Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6
Lotteries Powers 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 hall Power to provide buildings for public meetings and assemblies Local Government Act 1972, s.133
Public conveniences Powers relating to provision of public conveniences Public Health Act 1936, s.87
Recreation Power to acquire land for or to provide public walks, pleasure grounds and open spaces and to manage and control them Power to provide gymnasiums, playing fields, holiday camps Provision of boating pools (see Local Government Act 1972, Sched.14 para.27) Public Health Act 1875, s.164 Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1890 s.44 Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, s.19 Public Health Act 1961, s.54
Town and country planning Right to be notified of planning applications Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Sched.1, para.8
Tourism 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
Transport 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, s.106A
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

This list is intended as a summary of the principal functions of local council. It is not intended to be a definitive list of such functions.

More information about parish and town councils and the role of the clerk can be found on the National Association of Local Councils (external website).

How many parish and town councils are there in the East Riding?

In the East Riding of Yorkshire, there are 168 parish and town councils, each of which is made up, on average, of 11 councillors.

Parish and Town Councils Map (pdf 589kb)

How can I contact or find out who my parish or town councillor is?

We don't hold the contact details of individual parish or town councillors. You will need to contact your parish or town clerk to find out who your councillor is.

You can use our Parish Finder to get the contact details for your parish or town clerk. The clerk will then be able to put you in touch with the relevant councillor.

What is the role of parish councils in the planning process?

The role of town and parish councils in the planning system is enshrined in legislation, with any parish council being able to request to be consulted on planning applications in your area. East Riding of Yorkshire Council assumes that all parish and town councils will wish to be consulted and therefore we do not require you to make a formal request. We will consult you on:

  • any relevant planning application; and

  • any significant alteration to that application accepted by the authority.

A 'relevant planning application' means an application which relates to land in the parish and is an application for either planning permission or approval of a matter reserved under an outline planning permission. We will also consult on applications for Listed Building Consent, Advertisement Consent and applications under the new Permission in Principle/Technical Approval process. However please note that we will not consult parish councils on applications to discharge conditions attached to a planning application, or applications for the Prior Approval of the council to specified works. This is because the principle of development has already been established, and the council is only considering technical matters.

In the case of a planning application on, or close to, a parish council boundary we will notify the neighbouring parish council(s). We will also notify adjoining parish councils when a 'major' application could have implications over a wider area.

How the planning authority will notify the town or parish council of a planning application

We will notify you directly when an application is validated. We will also re-notify you if amended plans are received that require re-consultation.

Responses should be provided within 21 days of the notification to the parish council of the application, or within 14 days in respect of any alteration to that application.

The legislation requires that we must not determine the application unless:

  • you have notified us that no representations are to be made;

  • we have received your representation, or;

  • the 21/14 day period has expired. If you have concerns that you will not be able to respond within the specified time periods (for example because the next Parish Council meeting is after this date) you should contact the case officer, as it may be possible to agree to a later date.

How the local planning authority will consider comments and objections from town and parish councils

The local planning authority must take into account the representations received from the parish council. However, that does not mean that we will necessarily decide an application as the parish council have indicated they feel it should be decided. This is for several reasons:

  • we can only take into account planning matters. The comments of parish councils are sometimes not on planning issues (see guidance below on material planning considerations);

  • we may receive professional advice from technical bodies responsible for a particular matter, which may differ from the views of the parish council (for example on drainage or highway safety matters).

  • we have to determine applications in accordance with planning policy at a national and local level, even if the parish council disagree with this

  • we have to take into account the representations of others apart from the parish council, especially the observations of the consultees, both the statutory consultees and other officers of the council as well as neighbours of the developments, the applicant, etc.

Whilst the representations of the parish councils are important, and their views are appreciated, their comments must be considered in the context of the receipt of other observations and against the provisions of development plan policies and material planning considerations.

Responding to consultations

Parish and Town councils are registered as consultees and are required to submit their comments by logging in to the Council's "Public Access" website and navigating to their Consultee Access account. Guidance on using Consultee access can be accessed here. Consultee Access guidance.

Log in to Public Access in order to view your Consultee Access account

Parish councils will be able to express their views via this system, keep track of all consultations and prioritise responses based on target deadlines for each individual application.

In order for parish councils' representations to be fully considered, the local planning authority has produced guidance which assists the Parish Council to clearly illustrate their observations.

As a town or parish council, you may wish to reply in the following way(s):

  • Indicate any observations you wish to make upon the application

  • Recommend that the application should be approved and, if so, why

  • Recommend that, if approved, conditions should be imposed and state what the conditions are

  • Recommend that the application should be refused giving reasons why

  • Should you feel strongly about the application you must request that, if the planning officer is recommending a different decision, it should be referred to the appropriate Committee/Sub-Committee

  • If you have no particular comments to make, you should still reply via Consultee Access with "no observations" in order that the consultation is moved from your outstanding consultations list.

The National Planning Policy Framework advises that the purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable development and places a presumption in favour of such development. It emphasises the need for this to be a collective exercise, including local residents and their communities as part of the decision-making process.

Planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The National Planning Policy Framework is a material consideration in planning decisions, however, there is a wide range of material planning considerations.

How do I make a complaint about a councillor?

You can make a complaint about a councillor online using an online form or in writing.

Details of how you can do both can be viewed on the standards committee page.

How do I request an ID badge for a parish or town councillor?

For information on the procedures and relevant information required when requesting the purchase of an ID badge please view the document below.

Purchase ID Badge Protocols (pdf 189kb)

To purchase a parish or town councillor ID badge the Clerk must complete an ID badge request form for each councillor.

Alternatively, you can contact the council's Document and Data Processing Team:

Email: idbadges.ddpc@eastriding.gov.uk

Tel: (01482) 393520

As a parish or town clerk facing difficulties in determining the appropriate contact for a specific issue, where should I seek guidance?

If you are having trouble determining the right contact for a query, you can contact the Parish Open Door for guidance and advice at: parishopendoor@eastriding.gov.uk.

You can also contact the team if you are a parish or town clerk and:

  • you are unsure how to report an issue
  • your issue has been reported but not resolved in an agreed/expected timely manner
  • your case is complex and needs closer management and liaison with services
  • your issue needs to be escalated.

How can I change my contact details as a parish or town clerk?

If you are a parish or town clerk and need to notify the council of a change in contact details, please email the details to parishopendoor@eastriding.gov.uk.

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