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What is a Town Council?

A Town Council is a statutory body and is the most local level of government. It has an important role in promoting the town, representing its interests and supporting the work of different groups in the community.

What does a Town Council do?

Town Councils have a number of formal powers. Many provide allotments, cemeteries and look after playing fields, village greens and other types of leisure facilities. They have a hand in maintaining or guarding rights of way, bus shelters, public seats and smaller scale street lighting. Councils are often concerned with the provision of halls and community buildings.

The Town Council can do these things by actually providing them itself or by funding other organisations, such as a charity, to do them through grants or contracts.

There are three tiers of local government, each with different responsibilities (sometimes called powers and duties in Council speak). The document below set out who has traditionally done what in Devon. This is changing because of the Government’s Localism policy, which encourages local councils to provide more services.

Town Councillors know the area and can (and increasingly often do) represent their views to other authorities like the District and County Council, Health Authorities, Police and Fire Authorities. We are entitled to be consulted on planning applications, which include work to Listed Buildings and are often consulted on such things as schools and roads. We put the town’s case at public inquiries.

Ottery St Mary Town Council Responsibilities

30 July 2021
Last Updated
24 April 2023