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, 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 government, each with different responsibilities (sometimes called powers and duties in Council speak). The bullets below set out who has traditionally done what in Norfolk.

Norfolk County Council

  • Education and schools
  • Fire Service
  • Highways, including potholes, tourism signs, gritting
  • Libraries, recreation, arts and museums
  • Public rights of way
  • Social Services and Youth Services
  • Strategic planning and some planning applications (mainly mineral extraction and waste disposal sites)
  • Trading Standards
  • Transport
  • Waste Recycling Centres

Broadland District Council

  • Car Parks owned by the District Council
  • Community advice and support
  • Council Tax and Government benefits
  • Electoral Services
  • Environmental Services, e.g. noise, pest control
  • Help and support for businesses
  • Housing Services
  • Information about local services
  • Planning Services
  • Recycling, food waste and residual waste collections
  • Restaurant and takeaway inspections
  • Sports and leisure
  • Street cleaning and dealing with fly tipping
  • Tourist Information

Sprowston Town Council

  • Allotments at Church Lane
  • Bus shelters
  • Cemetery at Church Lane
  • Planning application observations
  • Grants to local organisations
  • Hire and use of Sprowston Diamond Centre and Sprowston Pavilion
  • Publications including Sprowston Matters Newsletter
  • Recreation and play areas at Halls Wood, Chopyngs Dole, Sparhawk Park, Sprowston Recreation Ground, Wilks Farm Drive and Windsor Park Gardens areas
  • Open spaces and Woodland at Barkers Lane and Church Lane
  • Verge cutting under contract
  • Planning and Local Authority consultations
  • Street Lighting

Town Councillors know the area and can  (and increasingly do) represent their views to other authorities like the District and County Council, Health Authorities and 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.


Money to fund parish and town councils is mainly raised through the Council Tax. This funding is called a Precept. Each year the parish or town council will set a budget and decide how much they need to continue providing services, and consider whether to expand their provision of service including support for the community. This dictates what level of precept is set.

The budget is managed by the parish or town council, supported by the Town Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer.