Parishes are the smallest areas of civil administration in England and their Town and Parish Councils provide the statutory tier of local government closest to the people.
Town and 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.
- Help the other tiers of local government keep in touch with their local communities.
Town and Parish Councils have a wide range of legal duties and powers, such as the maintenance of community buildings and land and much more. They have the power to raise money through a ‘precept’ which is collected with the local council tax.
The Localism Act 2011 introduced additional powers for Town and Parish Councils including a new ‘general power of competence’ which enables eligible local councils to do anything that individuals generally may do. Keswick Town Council passed a resolution confirming eligibility to use this power in November 2012.