Parish Council Powers

Borrowing
Parish, Town and Community Councils may borrow money subject to certain limits. The Local Government Act 2003 removed the requirement for prior loan approval.
Cemeteries*
Provision and maintenance of burial grounds, cemeteries, crematoria, mortuaries and post-mortem rooms.
Church yards
Power to contribute to the costs of a churchyard in use and a duty to maintain any closed churchyard where the duty has been transferred by the Church of England.
Clocks*
Provision and maintenance of public clocks, on churches or elsewhere.
CommonPower to protect any finally registered common which has no registered owner.
Crime prevention*
Installation of equipment and establishment of schemes for the detection or prevention of crime; making grants to the police authority for these purposes.
Entertainments*Provision of any form of public entertainment and any premises for giving entertainments. (This includes maintaining bands or orchestras and providing for dancing.)
Halls*
Provision of buildings for public meetings and functions, for indoor sports or physical recreation, or for the use of clubs or societies having recreational, social or athletic objects.
Legal proceedings
Power to prosecute and defend any legal proceedings in the interests of the inhabitants. Power to take part in any public local inquiry.
LightingProvision and maintenance of any footway lighting which lights roads or pavements, provided the columns are not above specified heights.
Litter*
Provision of litter-bins in streets and support for anti-litter campaigns.
Open spaces
Provision and maintenance of public open spaces, pleasure grounds and public walks.
Parking placeProvision and management of car and cycle parks.
Planning
Local councils have a right to be notified of any planning application affecting their area and to make comments which the planning authority must take into account.
Playing fields*Provision and maintenance of land for any kind of outdoor recreation, including boating pools.
Ponds*Power to deal with ponds, pools, or other places containing filth or matter prejudicial to health.
Public lavatoriesProvision and maintenance of public lavatories.
Rights of wayMaintenance of public footpaths and bridleways.
Roadside vergesPower to plant and maintain roadside verges.
Seats*
Provision and maintenance of public seats on the highway.
Shelters*
Provision and maintenance of shelters for general public use and also particularly for bus passengers.
Signs
Power to erect signs which warn of dangers or announce a place name, or indicate a bus stop.
Swimming*
Provision of indoor or outdoor swimming pools or bathing places.
Tourism
Provision of facilities for conferences and encouragement of recreational and business tourism.
Traffic calming
Contribution towards the cost of traffic calming works provided by highway authorities.
Transport*
Establishment of car-sharing and taxi fare concession schemes; making grants for community bus services and bus services for the elderly or disabled; investigation of public transport, road and traffic provision and needs; provision of information about public transport services.
Village Green*
Powers to maintain the village or town green.
General Expenditure
In any situation not covered by one of the specific powers described above a council may spend money on any purpose which in its opinion is of direct benefit to its area or to the inhabitants. The total expenditure by the council on all the cases under this general power was originally not allowed to exceed £3.50 per local government elector in the parish or town or community in any one financial year. This is sometimes known as ‘Section 137’ expenditure because it was first authorised in Section 137 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1972. The Local Government Act 2003 raised this to £5, to be indexed annually inline with the RPI, with effect from 1 April 2003.

DCLG announced that the appropriate sum for the purposes of Local Government Act 1972 (Section 137) was to rise in accordance with the retail prices index from £6.44 to £6.80 for the financial year 2012/13.

Originally summarised from a document produced by The National Association of Local Councils (representing Parish, Town and Community Councils) 109 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LD and dated May 1997.