According to The Hutchinson Family Encyclopaedia a Parish Council is a unit of local government in England and Wales, based on church parishes. They developed as units for local government with the introduction of the Poor Law in the 17th century. In Wales and Scotland they are commonly called community councils. In England approximately 8,200 out of the 10,000 parishes have elected councils. There are 730 community councils in Wales and about 1,000 in Scotland, which, unlike their English and Welsh counterparts, do not have statutory powers.

Parish Councils provide and maintain community centre's, monuments, playing fields, footpaths, street lighting, and churchyards. They administer local charities, may impose a limited local rate, are elected every four years, and function in parishes of 200 or more electors. Parish Councils were established by the Local Government Act 1894, but most of their legal powers were abolished by the 1972 Local Government Act.

A Parish Council has formed the ‘grass roots’ tier of civil government since 1894. It acts as the voice of its local community, passing parishioners’ opinions and views on to higher levels of government and other bodies. Its powers are defined and granted by acts of Parliament.

A Parish Council’s expenditure must be made in accordance with the acts of Parliament. Its accounts must be made public to parishioners and they are strictly audited by government appointed auditors. A Parish Council may be concerned with ‘parochial charities’ - charities ‘the benefits of which are ... confined to the inhabitants of the parish’. Parish Councils may spend additional money on other items and initiatives for ‘any purpose which in its opinion is of direct benefit to its area or to the inhabitants’.

Parish Councils have limited tax raising powers and have the ‘general power to make byelaws for the good rule and government of its area' (see full list below).

The next level of local government above Parish Councils is the district authority or council - in our case this is Aylesbury Vale District Council. The district council has responsibility for areas such as local planning, education, highways, environmental services, and housing.

The next tier of local governance (the last before national government) is the County Council – Buckinghamshire County Council in our case. County Council’s responsibilities include education, highways, and waste disposal.


Function Powers & Duties Statutory Provisions
Allotments Powers to provide allotments. Duty to provide allotment gardens if demanded unsatisfied Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, and 42
Baths and Washhouses Power to provide public baths and washhouses Public Health At 1936, Ss 221, 222, 223 and 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

Charities Duty to receive accounts of parochial charities Charities Act 1960, s.32
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 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 centre's 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
Drainage Power to deal with ponds and ditches Public Health Act 1936, s.260
Education 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
Gifts 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

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
Nuisances 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
Tourism Power to contribute to organizations 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

Transport 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 utilize well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water there from Public Health Act 1936, s/125


The Parish of Charndon encompasses the communities of Charndon, School Hill and 'Old' Calvert. Our council has close relationships with 

  • Buckingham County Council

  • Aylesbury Vale District Council

  • The local Police force

  • The Calvert landfill operators

  • Adjacent Parish Councils

  • Our local and district councillors

  • Our Member of Parliament

Charndon Parish has been recognized as being a very active council and community have been involved in a number of initiatives associated with major local issues. Our involvement has lead to changes in local authority policies to the benefit of our community. We continue to provide and maintain local amenities including our community centre's, public areas and play facilities.