Parish and town councils

What are parish and town councils and how do they work?

Parish and town councillors represent smaller geographical areas such as Banbury, Chinnor, Woodstock or Buckland. All parts of the county (except certain parts of Oxford) are parished. They either have a town or parish council supported by a parish clerk or hold a parish meeting. There are 235 parish councils, 15 town councils and 68 parish meetings in Oxfordshire.

A parish or town council is democratically elected once every four years and comprises, on average, 12 councillors. Parish and town councils can raise a precept (a local rate) which is collected by the district council as part of the council tax. Parish and town councils play an important role in the local community and are a vital link to district and county councils and other agencies on local issues.

Parish boundaries

You can check local parish boundaries on the Oxfordshire Administrative Areas Map.

Parish and town council services

Parish and town councils are local authorities and have responsibilities for various local amenities, which may include:

  • bus shelters
  • public benches
  • footpaths (public footpaths are generally OCC responsibility)
  • allotments
  • playing fields
  • parish funds
  • burial grounds

A parish or town council is democratically elected once every four years and comprises between five and 22 councillors.


Number of parish councils, town councils and parish meetings in Oxfordshire
District Total
Cherwell 79
Oxford City 4
South Oxon 86
Vale of White Horse 68
West Oxon 81

Parish meetings consist not of elected councillors but of members of the public from the parish. Parish meetings meet for the purpose of discussing matters of common interest. There are 68 parish meetings in Oxfordshire.

Complaints about town and parish councils

Complaints about town and parish councils or councillors should be made to the monitoring officer at your district council.