General information on parish and town councils

What’s a local council?

Cornwall has 213 civil parishes, each with its own governance body.  These include a city council, 28 town councils, 168 parish councils, a community council and 15 parish meetings.  They are the first tier of local government and play a vital role in engaging with local people and helping to shape their communities. They are generally referred to as the local councils or town and parish councils sector.

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See our names of town and parish councils page for links to information about Cornwall’s local councils.

See our names of town and parish councils page for links to information about Cornwall’s local councils.

Local councils have a variety of powers and duties given to them by Acts of Parliament. However, not all local councils decide to use all these powers. 

Some focus on their representative role, campaigning on local issues and lobbying other agencies to take action.  Others carry out an enabling role, funding local projects and organisations, and some provide services and amenities ranging from allotments to bus shelters, recreational areas and play areas.  

Part of your council tax goes to your local council.  They set a precept each year, which is the total amount they raise through council tax to meet their budget needs.

The Town and Parish Council Precepts 2016/17 shows the precepts for all of Cornwall’s local councils and how much council tax a Band D property would pay towards the precept.

The Town and Parish Councils Final Taxbase 2016/17 shows the final taxbase information for Cornwall’s local councils.

Local councillors are elected by local residents, with elections taking place every four years. The last election took place in May 2013 and the next one is in May 2017.  If a vacancy arises before May 2017, for example because a local councillor resigns, a by-election may be held to fill that vacancy.

Neighbourhood plans enable communities to develop planning policies that reflect their local issues. In Cornwall neighbourhood plans are likely to be based on parish boundaries or clusters of parishes.  You can find out more about existing neighbourhood plans and how to prepare a neighbourhood plan on our neighbourhood development plans page.

Localism is about bringing Cornwall Council and its partners closer to communities.  It provides the different communities of Cornwall with the opportunity to influence decision making, ensuring public services reflect local circumstances.  Local councils are key players in being able to deliver this localism agenda.