What powers does a local Council have?

The powers which have been vested in Parish, Town and Community Councils be Acts of Parliament are summarised in this publication as a guide to Councillors and others. Each description is brief and is intended to be general indication. Like all powers given to public bodies the powers of local councils are defined in detail in legislation and these details may include a requirement to obtain the consent of another body (for example the approval of the County Council to the provision of a car park). Local Councils must exercise their powers also subject to the provisions of the general law (for example planning permission is necessary for a sports pavilion). Information on all these details should be in the hands of the Clerks of the Council.

The powers are listed below.
Powers & Duties
Statutory Provisions
Powers to provide allotments.
Duty to provide allotment gardens if demanded unsatisfied
Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, & 42
Baths and Washhouses
Power to provide public baths and washhouses
Public Health At 1936, Ss 221, 222, 223 & 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. 215(6)
Bus Shelters
Power to provide and maintain shelters
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) 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 Health Act 1875, s. 164
Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.57(7)
Public Health Act 1936, s.223
Open Spaces Act 1906, s.15
Public Health Act 1936, s.198
Duty to receive accounts of parochial charities
Charities Act 1960, s.32
Power to provide public clocks
Parish Councils Act 1957, s.2
Closed Churchyards
Powers as to maintenance
Local Government Act 1972, s.215
Commons and common pastures
Powers in relation to enclosure, as to regulation and management, and as to providing common pasture
Enclosure Act 1845;
Local Government Act 1894, s.8(4);
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 educational objectives
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 s.19
Crime prevention
Powers to spend money on various crime prevention measures
Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31
Power to deal with ponds and ditches
Public Health Act 1936, s.260
Right to appoint school governors
Education (No.2) Act 1986, s.4
Entertainment and the arts
Provision of entertainment and support of the arts
Local Government Act 1972, s.145
Power to accept
Local Government Act 1972, s.139

Power to repair and maintain public footpaths and bridle-ways. Power to light roads and public places
Provision of litter bins
Power to provide parking places for vehicles, bicycles and motor-cycles. Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening. Power to provide roadside seats and shelters, and omnibus 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 district council as to protection of rights of way and roadside wastes
Power to provide traffic signs and other notices
Power to plant trees etc. and to maintain roadside verges
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
Power to participate in schemes of collective investment
Trustee Investments Act 1961, s.11
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
Provision of receptacles
Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6
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

Power to deal with offensive ditches
Public Health Act 1936, s.260
Open spaces
Power to acquire land and maintain
Public health Act 1875, s.164
Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10
Parish Property and documents
Powers to direct as to their custody
Local Government Act 1972, s.226
Postal and telecommunications facilities
Power to pay the Post Office, British Telecommunications or any other public telecommunications operator any loss sustained providing post or telegraph office or telecommunication facilities
Post Office Act 1953, s.51;
Telecommunications Act 1984, s.97
Public buildings and village hall
Power to provide buildings for offices and for public meetings and assemblies
Local Government Act 1972, s.133
Public Conveniences
Power to provide
Public Health Act 1936, s.87
Power to acquire land for or to provide recreation grounds, 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
Public Health Act 1875, s.164
Local Government Act 1972, Sched.14 para.27
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
Power to contribute to organisations encouraging
Local Government Act 1972, s.144
Traffic Calming
Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes
Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.30

Powers to spend money on community transport schemes
Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.26-29
War memorials
Power to maintain, repairs, protect and adapt 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 therefrom
Public Health Act 1936, s.125