Chelmsford City Council

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Parish council review

In Chelmsford, we have three tiers of local government:

  • Tier 3: Essex County Council (ECC)
  • Tier 2: Chelmsford City Council (CCC)
  • Tier 1: parish councils

Tier 1 includes 25 parish councils, one town council and one parish meeting.

Each tier looks after different public services and represents the concerns of residents.

Over the next year, we plan to carry out a Community Governance Review. This involves looking at how the governance arrangements for Tier 1 are working, to see if they need to be changed. 

You may live in a part of the city that currently does not have a parish council. If so, then we would like to find out whether you feel your local community would benefit from one being set up.

We are asking everyone who lives, works or serves people in Chelmsford for their views. We want to make sure that our parish councils are effectively representing the views, interests and concerns of the local communities they serve. 

The results of the consultation will help inform the Community Governance Review.

The review will consider if local people want to:

  • create one or more new parish council(s), either where one does not currently exist or out of part of one or more existing parish
  • make changes to the parish areas by:
    • changing where the boundaries are between parishes;
    • merging two or more parishes;
  • make changes to parish arrangements by:
    • changing the number of parish councillors
    • changing the name of a parish

As part of the review, we consulted with local people, employees, businesses and officials from July to September 2020. The findings will go to Full Council (a meeting of all the City Councillors) in December 2020. We will carry out any resulting formal legal processes out during 2021.

Many people don’t know all the details of how local governance arrangements work. Therefore, we want to make sure you have the right information available before responding to the consultation.


Tier 1

Tier 1 councils are responsible for helping with local issues within their parish boundaries, such as:

  • some allotments
  • public clocks
  • bus shelters
  • community centres
  • some play areas and play equipment
  • grants to help local organisations
  • consultation on neighbourhood planning

They also have the power to issue fixed penalty fines for things like:

  • litter
  • graffiti
  • fly posting
  • dog offences


Tier 2

We are responsible for services within the boundaries of the whole Chelmsford district (not just the city centre), including:

  • rubbish collection
  • recycling
  • community safety
  • Council Tax collections
  • housing and homelessness advice
  • planning applications
  • local parks and play areas
  • pest control
  • environmental health
  • theatres and museums
  • leisure centres
  • car parks and parking enforcement
  • the cemetery and crematorium
  • support for local businesses


Tier 3

ECC are responsible for services across the whole county (except Southend and Thurrock which are unitary authorities), including:

  • education
  • roads and footpaths
  • transport
  • planning
  • social care
  • libraries
  • waste management
  • trading standards
  • country parks
  • streetlights

There are currently 27 parishes in Chelmsford, varying in size and the area they cover.

Civil parishes are based around local rural and urban communities, such as a village area like Broomfield. However, there are two exceptions to this, including Mashbury, which simply holds an annual meeting. In addition, South Woodham Ferrers has a town council rather than a parish council, although a town and parish councils have the same powers.

For the purposes of this consultation, we have included South Woodham Ferrers Town Council and Mashbury within the definition of parish councils.

You can view a map of the current parished areas.

You can also look up the parish for a property on myhome.

Parish councils

Parish councils are made up of councillors who are elected to serve and represent the residents of that parish only. We allocate their funding, which comes from Council Tax paid by the residents of that parish.

By law, parish councils must have at least five councillors, with most made up of between six and 12 councillors. These councillors are local people interested in representing their parish and are not necessarily tied to a political party.

Parish councillors are chosen by local residents in parish elections and serve for four years terms. If only one candidate stands for a seat, then they are appointed to the seat.

These councillors make decisions collectively and by majority, and are accountable to the local community.

Parish councils and their councillors are entirely separate from Chelmsford City Council.


City council

The city council is made up of 57 elected Councillors, who form the ‘Full Council’. Each of them represents different political parties. In Chelmsford, the Liberal Democrat Party have the majority, followed by Conservative Party and the Chelmsford Independent Group.

However, it is impractical for Full Council to make day-to-day decisions, therefore we use a ‘Leader and Cabinet’ model.

The Cabinet is formed of up to nine other councillors from the majority leading political party. They are responsible for making day-to-day decisions within the budgets and policies that the Full Council has agreed.

In addition to the Cabinet, there are several other committees that take decisions for specific areas of council business. For example, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee makes sure the council is using taxpayers’ money wisely and well. Different councillors sit on each of these committees.

We also employ local government officers to carry out the decisions made by councillors. They ensure that council policies are put in place and council services are being delivered well. Officers are strictly non-political and don’t make any political decisions. This can only be done by elected councillors.

The consultation has now closed. We would like to thank everyone for their contributions. 

The Chelmsford Policy Board will consider this issue in November, ahead of the Full Council meeting in December.

More information

If you have any comments or queries, you can contact the Electoral Services Team.

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Last updated: 23 September 2020

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