What the Council does

The present day powers and functions of parish councils spring from over 100 years of legislation. In addition, the 1972 Local Government Act gave councils greater powers, which includes support of activities that are “beneficial to the community”.

A good example of joint co-co-operation to improve road safety. 

The Pow Beck pedestrian bridge came about in the 1980’s as a result of the Parish Council initiative to improve road safety at Pow Beck bridge. The galvanised steel bridge was donated, and the council was instrumental in organising funding and logistics in a joint project with St. Bees School and the County Council.

Pow Beck bridge

Management of the council

The following are currently specific activities of the Parish Council:

Play areas

Beach play area and thge Village School field equipment is owned and maintained by the PC.

Traffic calming and pedestrian safety

Ongoing schemes under way with the County Council; this has been actively pusued for over 25 years, and is being gradually implemented. Narrow or non-existent pavements is part of the problem, and part of PC policy is to improve the village streets for pedestrian and disabled access.


The Beck Edge Garden and Brownrigg lonning at the Station, and the car parking area at Seamill Foreshore are owned and maintained by the PC.


The PC has representatives on the Village School Governors, the Adams Recreation Ground committee, the Shepherd’s and Whitehead Charity, the Cumbria Association of Local Councils, and sends an official observer to the Sellafield Local Liaison Committee

The Council is a member of FLAG (Furness Line Action Group) and is active in supporting the maintenance and improvement of public transport links both bus and rail.


The PC supports charitable giving to recognised bodies benefiting the Village (applications considered September each year)

Planning and development

Under the 1972 T&CP Act the PC has registered the right to be consulted on all development planning applications submitted to Copeland BC within the Parish Boundaries. These are discussed monthly, and site meetings are held for some applications. The PC does not have decision-making powers on applications, but their view has to be taken into account. The PC has long taken an active interest in planned development of the village, and contributed to the first village development plan in 1976.

General amenities

Allotments – provision of allotments at Seamill Lane

Seats -The many seats around the village are owned and maintained by the PC.

Parish Paths. The PC keeps the all the paths clear of encroaching undergrowth and reports any problems with fencing or access to the statutory body, the County Council. The PC has published a series of illustrated guides to the parish paths, and actively pursues the establishment of new paths and bridleways.

Common land – The PC Looks after the the Common lands at Outrigg and Rottington. These are the residual areas left after the great enclosures of the 1800’s, and are public property

Street lighting – This is the responsibility of Copeland BC. The PC 

reports defective lights and monitors the response.

General highways condition – This is the responsibility of Cumbria CC, and again the PC lobbies for prompt and effective response on drains, subsidence, potholes, signing, dangerous features, etc.

Web site – The domain names stbees.org.uk and original web site were donated to the village by Ian McAndrew and are now owned by the Parish Council. The domains stbees.org and stbees.info are also owned by the Parish Council.

General matters

Apart from the specific issues above the council is routinely involved in discussions on many matters with the County and Borough Councils, the Police, and other bodies. Here is a recent sample……

  • Public order in Main Street
  • Coastal defenses,
  • Dog fouling,
  • Library provision,
  • Management of beach toilets,
  • Improved sewerage disposal,
  • Bus schedules,
  • Beck erosion,
  • St. Bees cycleway
  • Tree preservation,
  • Derelict and dangerous property,
  • Play area repairs,
  • Village Hall heating,
  • English Heritage on preservation areas,
  • Refuse collection dates,
  • Common land access,
  • Street naming,
  • Car park provision.
  • Neighbourhood Forums

List of National Parish Council powers

(this is not an exhaustive list)



Powers & Duties

Statutory Provisions





Duty to provide allotments.

Power to improve and adapt land for allotments, and to let grazing rights

Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, and 42




Baths and washhouses

Power to provide public baths and washhouses

Public Health Act 1936, ss. 221, 222, 223 and 227




Burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria

Power to acquire and maintain

Power to provide

Power to agree to maintain monuments and memorials

Power to contribute towards expenses of cemeteries

Open Spaces Act 1906, Ss 9 and 10; Local Government Act 1972, s. 214; Parish Councils and Burial Authorities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970, s. 1

Local Government Act 1972, s. 214(6)




Bus shelters

Power to provide and maintain shelters

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1953, s. 4


Power to make bye-laws in regard to pleasure grounds

Cycle parks

Baths and washhouses

Open spaces and burial grounds

Mortuaries and post-mortem rooms

Public Health Act 1875, s. 164

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.57(7)

Public Health Act 1936, s.223

Open Spaces Act 1906, s.15

Public Health Act 1936, s.198





Power to provide public clocks

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.2




Closed churchyards

Powers as to maintenance

Local Government Act 1972, s.215




Common pastures

Powers in relation to providing common pasture

Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, s.34




Conference facilities

Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities

Local Government Act 1972, s.144




Community centres

Power to provide and equip buildings for use of clubs having athletic, social or recreational objectives

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 s.19




Crime prevention

Powers to install and maintain equipment and establish and maintain a scheme for detection or prevention of crime

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31


Power to contribute to police services e.g. PCSOs

Police Act 1996, s.92


Duty on Parish Councils to consider crime reduction in every policy and action

s17 Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended)





Power to deal with ponds and ditches

Public Health Act 1936, s.260





Power to make a Dog Control Order

Power to take enforcement action against those who commit an offence against a Dog Control Order

Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005




Entertainment and the arts

Provision of entertainment and support of the arts

Local Government Act 1972, s.145




Flyposting and Graffiti

Power to take enforcement action against those that flypost or graffiti

Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005





Power to accept

Local Government Act 1972, s.139


Hierarchy of Local Government Funding

This shows the funding relationships of the three tiers of local government.

The funding diagram does not represent the hierachy of decision making or power. St Bees parish council is a corporate body set up by satute which is responsible only to the electrorate of St Bees Civil parish.

The Parish Council is funded by the “Parish Precept”, which is taken out of the Council Tax levied by Copeland Borough Council. The Parish Council has the same status and powers as the “Town Councils” of larger towns.

Matters for County and District Councils

Roads are are looked after by Cumbria County Council

For quick attention to problems, ring the 24 hour hotline:

Highways hotline 0845 609 6609

For, Potholes, road defects, road signs, street lighting, pavements, and any road matter. For street sweeping, litter or dog fouling, contact: Copeland Council 01946 852585

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