The Role of the Parish Council

Parish Councils are the lowest level of elected local government. Parish Councils have a surprising number of powers, although in practice most are not used.

The following is a list of our statutory powers, and a summary of how they relate to North Huish in practice.

Remit, role and related legislation


Community centres

Power to provide and equip buildings for use of clubs having athletic, social or recreational objectives.

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 s.19


Not provided by the PC. However, a project to set up a Community Hall is being run independently of the NHPC.


Power to maintain footpaths and bridle-ways
Power to light roads and public places
Provision of litter bins
Powers to provide parking places for bicycles and motor-cycles, and other vehicles
Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening
Power to provide roadside seats and 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 highway authority as to unlawful stopping up or obstruction of highway or unlawful encroachment on roadside wastes
Power to provide traffic signs and other objects or devices warning of danger
Power to plant trees and lay out grass verges etc. and to maintain them

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


We work with the District and County Councils on road maintenance and improvement.

We have recently provided an additional bench in North Huish.


Power to deal with ponds and ditches

Public Health Act 1936, s.260



NHPC has limited funding for maintenance of roadside gullies (buddle holes) and ditches, as part of shared funding with Diptford and Rattery Parish Councils. Further TAP funding has been applied for.


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


The council does not hold any land directly. Land set aside for the playpark and a possible site for a community hall are held in trust.


Provision of receptacles

Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6


We have received requests to provide a general litter bin at or near the playpark and a dog waste bin near to the permissive path from Higher Moor to Blackhall Lane. However, we have been unable to agree on the siting or cost of such bins. We understand that SHDC will not empty a dustbin within the playpark. We are unable to place a litter bin at the entrance to the permissive path, as this is private land.

Open spaces

Power to acquire land and maintain

Public Health Act 1875, s.164 Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10


Not exercised by the PC directly. Land next to the playpark is held in trust, and was purchased as part of a Section 106 agreement by the developers of Higher Moor.

Parish documents

Powers to direct as to their custody

Local Government Act 1972, s.226


Historic records of NHPC have been transferred to the County Records Office.

Public buildings and village hall

Power to provide buildings for public meetings and assemblies

Local Government Act 1972, s.133


There are none in the parish. However, a project to set up a Community Hall is being run independently of the NHPC.

Town and country planning

Right to be notified of planning applications

Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Sched.1, para.8


We are informed of and consider planning applications accordingly. Planning applications can be viewed on South Hams District Council's website.

Traffic calming

Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes

Highways Act 1980, s.274A


We work with Devon County Council and the police on matters regarding highway safety. There have been changes made to the main Plymouth road to encourage drivers to slow down and improve the visibility at the Avon Inn. While we are aware that there are concerns about traffic through the village, there is not sufficient evidence of danger to allow further traffic calming measures at present.

Access land

Power to enforce byelaws made by another authority

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, s. 17


There is no access land within the parish.


Duty to provide allotments. Power to improve and adapt land for allotments, and to let grazing rights

Small Holdings & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, and 42


There are no allotments within the parish. The Parish Council has looked into the provision of allotments in the past, but there has not been any land that could be made available.

Baths and washhouses

Powers relating to provision of public baths, washhouses and bathing huts

Public Health Act 1936, ss. 221 - 223 and 225 - 227


There are none within the parish.

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. 214(6)


Not provided by the PC; the churches in the parish have their own arrangements, and enquiries about burials and graves at the churches should be addressed to the churches directly.

Bus shelters

Power to provide and maintain shelters

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1953, s. 4


There are no appropriate safe sites available, and only a limited bus service in the parish.


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 Conveniences

Public Health Act 1875, s. 164
Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.57(7)
Public Health Act 1936, s.223
Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.15 and 12
Public Health Act 1936, s.198
Public Health Act 1936, s. 87


Not provided by the PC.


Power to provide public clocks

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.2


Not provided within the parish.

Closed churchyards

Powers as to maintenance

Local Government Act 1972, s.215


There are no closed churchyards under PC control.


Power for parish council to contribute to expense relating to scheme for the regulation and management of a common

Commons Act 1899, s.5


There are no commons in the parish.

Common pastures

Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities

Local Government Act 1972, s.144


There are no common pastures in the parish.

Crime prevention

Powers to install and maintain equipment and establish and maintain a scheme for detection or prevention of crime

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31


Not provided by the PC, as this is an area with a low rate of crime.

Entertainment and the arts

Provision of entertainment and support of the arts

Local Government Act 1972, s.145


There are no arts facilities within the parish.

General powers

Power to incur expenditure for certain purposes

Local Government Act 1972, s. 137


This prescribes what we can and cannot spend public money on.


Power to accept

Local Government Act 1972, s.139


We have not received any gifts.


Power to participate in schemes of collective investment

Trustee Investments Act 1961, s.11


Details of our finances are available in our public accounts.


Powers to promote

Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976, s.7


Not exercised by the PC.

Mortuaries and post mortem rooms

Powers to provide mortuaries and post mortem rooms

Public Health Act 1936, s.198


Not exercised by the PC.

Public conveniences

Powers relating to provision of public conveniences

Public Health Act 1936, s.87


PCs are not provided by the PC.


Power to acquire land for or to provide 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

(see Local Government Act 1972, Sched.14 para.27)
Public Health Act 1875, s.164 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


Not provided by the PC. There are, however, many public footpaths and bridleways in the parish.


Power to encourage visitors and provide conference and other facilities

Local Government Act 1972, s.144


Not provided by the PC as tourism is supported by the county and district councils.


Powers in relation to car-sharing schemes, taxi fare concessions and information about transport
Powers to make grants for bus services

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.26, 28 and 29
Transport Act 1985, s.106A


Not currently provided by the PC.

War memorials

Power to maintain, repair, protect and alter war memorials

War Memorials (Local Authorities' Powers) Act 1923, s.1; as extended by Local Government Act 1948, s.133


There are no public war memorials in the parish.

Water supply

Power to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water from them

Public Health Act 1936, s.125


Not provided by the PC, as these are supplied by South West Water or private supplies.