Parish councils

What is a Parish or Town Council?

Your Parish Council is the first tier of local government closest to the people it represents. They are independent of other levels of local government but maintain a close working relationship with them. The elected members in each of Bracknell Forest’s six parishes work closely with community groups and Bracknell Forest Council to provide services relevant in each area.

Parishes vary in size and population but each tailors its services and spending to its community – some being predominately urban, and others more rural.

Parish and town councils are essentially different names for the same thing as they have the same powers and can provide the same services. The only difference is that town councils occur in those places where the parish has declared itself to be a town and while parish councils have a chairman town councils have a mayor.

In Bracknell Forest there are six parish and town councils who:

  • Give views, on behalf of their local community, on proposals that affect the parish for example planning applications
  • Work in partnership with other organisations to achieve benefits for the area
  • Take on and develop schemes that will be of benefit to local residents
  • Alert relevant authorities to problems or work that needs to be carried out

How are Parish and Town Councils funded?

The funding for parish and town councils comes from the ‘precept’ a sum of money collected each year through your council tax. They can also get additional funding by applying for grants and loans and through income derived from the rents and leases of any properties or land that they own.

What services do they provide?

Parish and Town Councils have powers to provide some facilities themselves or they can contribute towards their provision by others. The services provided by parish councils vary from area to area and you should contact them to find out what they do for you but their work often includes local environmental work in parks and play areas, provision of sports pitches and open spaces, play equipment and allotments. Some run community halls and services for young people and all give grants to help local groups.

All of them have an office and staff equipped to help you and a focal point for information on many local groups and Borough-wide services.

See below for how to contact your Parish Council and learn more about its services.