Civil Parishes are a fundamental tier of Local Government set up in 1894, not to be confused with Ecclesiastical Parishes of the Anglican Church. Each has its own democratically elected local council in accordance with statute. These are called either Parish or Town Councils. There is no difference between parish and town councils: town councils are just parish councils which because of their population, size and impact in their area have by resolution of their Council taken the name of Town Council, and their Chairman may be called the Mayor.
Parish Councils are first-tier local authorities. Although they have very limited duties compared to principal authorities (unitary, county, district and borough councils), they have surprisingly wide powers. This means they can choose to provide a range of services, either on their own or in partnership with principal authorities. So keen and active parish councils can make a real difference to life in a village or town.
Parish Councils also have a right to be consulted on issues affecting the village: this includes the right to comment on all planning applications, proposed off licences, roads, landfill sites etc.
Parish Councils are funded through the precept (sometimes called the parish charge) which is collected as part of your Council Tax.