Town and parish councils are the first level of local government. They provide communities with a democratic voice and a structure for taking community action.
More than a third of people in England currently have a town or parish council, and the government is making it easier to set one up.
Town and parish councils vary in size from those with a population of around 200 to those with a population of over 30,000. Annual expenditure can vary greatly, depending on the circumstances of the individual council.
Local councils play a vital role in representing the interests of their communities and improving the quality of life and the local environment. They can also influence other decision makers and can deliver services to meet local needs. Their powers and duties range from maintaining allotments and open spaces to crime prevention and providing recreation facilities.
Local councils have the right to become statutory consultees at both borough and county level and, although the decision remains with the planning authorities, local councils can influence the decision-making process by making informed comments and recommendations.
Here's a group of people talking about the benefits of Town Councils, and they know what they're talking about because they set one up...
What can a Town Council do for Wickford? Click an image below to read full details of the powers a Town Council has:
Did you know:
Town councils are funded by levying a "precept" collected with the council tax paid by the residents of the town
There are just under 300 town and parish councils within Essex.
Parish and town councils have the same powers and duties, but a town council may elect a Town Mayor, rather than a Chairman. Wickford would be a Town Council because that is most fitting to its size.