Your Town Council
The Town Hall and Market Square
Residents of the civil parish of Towcester, which includes the hamlets of Caldecote and Wood Burcote, are represented by Towcester Town Council, which is the first tier of local government, and makes many decisions on behalf of people in the town.
(The town's parish boundary was extended in May 2021, to include Towcester Racecourse, the Watermeadows, and the whole of the area being developed for the town's new housing, some of which was previously part of Paulerspury Parish).
The parish council was formed in 1865 and became a Town Council in 1986. The Town Council raises money from its residents in the form of a 'precept', set annually, which is added to the amounts of Council Tax levied by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC), the Police and Fire Authority. Council Tax is collected by WNC. The Town Council sets its budget each year based on the services it runs and the needs of the town. At present, unlike WNC, the Town Council's level of Council Tax isn't capped by central government. There are, however, limits on what the Town Council can spend money.
The council has limited powers but does have a degree of influence on other authorities. Whilst its powers might be limited, the council does have responsibility for many services that are important to local people's quality of life. Here are a couple of examples of where the council has a statutory right to be consulted by other authorities:
The planning authority is West Northamptonshire Council, but it must notify the Town Council weekly, and request comments on all planning applications within the parish, and sometimes other applications that could affect our town. WNC must take into account the Town Council's views when coming to a planning decision but is under no obligation to support the views of the council.
West Northamptonshire Council is also the highway authority, but it has a duty to consult the Town Council when it is considering any road scheme, for example placing double yellow lines or introducing speed restrictions. The A43 and A5 are managed by National Highways (formerly Highways England), a government agency, and not locally by WNC.
Towcester Town Council directly provides the following services to the town:
- Adopted play areas throughout the town for all ages – including the provision, regular inspection, and maintenance of play equipment and regular litter picking.
- Maintenance, including regular litter picking, of parcels of land around the town, including the Recreation Ground, St Lawrence Churchyard, Belle Baulk open area, Tove Wetlands Pocket Park, Saxon Fields (open area by Northampton Road and River Tove below The Shires), Nicholas Hawksmoor Pocket Park, the Riverside Walk, and several small green spaces within residential areas, including Sawpits Green in Richmond Road.
- Towcester Town Hall, built in 1866 as a Corn Exchange, is the venue for Council meetings and home to the Town Clerk's office. It also provides offices let to several business tenants. The Town Hall was purchased by the Town Council from the former South Northamptonshire Council in 2021.
- The Sawpits Centre, originally a Victorian school, the council offices, then library, is now a community centre off Richmond Road, which serves as a venue for a variety of local clubs and organisations.
- The council is a trustee of the Towcester Youth & Community Centre in Islington Road, which is occupied by the Northamptonshire Children's Trust during the week and available to hire during the evening and at weekends.
- The council has a long-term lease for land behind Malthouse Court for the provision of allotments which parishioners can rent. There is currently a considerably long waiting list, however there is land earmarked within the southern urban development for additional cemetery/allotment space and this will be transferred to the Town Council at a future date.
- Bus shelters, some benches and some non-highway street lighting, and currently financially supports the no.87 bus service.
- Several pedestrian footbridges, including those over the Tove and Silverstone Brook.
- Litter bins in the council's open areas and all dog litter bins, except those on land owned by developers.
- Maintaining some highway grass verges in the town on behalf of WNC.
- Brackley Road Cemetery, chapel, war memorial and Lodge, which is rented out as private accommodation.
- The refurbished public toilets in Richmond Road.
- Small grants for local organisations.
- Vehicle Activated Speed Signs (mobile traffic safety signs deployed and managed by volunteers from Neighbourhood Watch).
- In partnership with others, the council funds and organises flower displays and union flags in the town centre in summer, and festive trees and lights at Christmas.
- Towcester Town Crier – a community magazine published five times a year, which includes advertisements and articles from local community groups, voluntary organisations, and charities as well as news from the council and details of upcoming events. It is distributed to over 5,000 Towcester households by volunteers. Back issues are available to read on our website. The publication is largely self-funded through advertising.
- The Town Council also produces the Town Guide, this booklet provides helpful information about Towcester, the history of the town, a map of the area and a useful list of local services. Follow the links to view online or pick up a copy from the Town Council offices, Towcester Museum, library or estate agents.
- The Town Council is represented on other local bodies, including, Towcester Combined Charities, the Sponne & Bickerstaffe Charity, Northamptonshire ACRE, South Northants Youth Engagement, The Midsummer Music Festival, and currently, the Towcester Medical Centre Development Group.
- The Town Council is also a member of the Northamptonshire Association of Local Councils.
The Town Council employs a full-time Town Clerk, Assistant Clerk, Administrative Assistant, two caretakers and a litter picker. to carry out its range of powers and duties, and the Clerk's office, located at the Town Hall, is often able to assist with local issues.
The Town Council has adopted WNC's Code of Conduct, and a register of councillors' interests is maintained.
The Council takes the lead in getting many things done in the town. It works in partnership with West Northants Council, National Highways, Neighbourhood Watch, Safer Towcester, Northamptonshire Police and others.
The Town Council meets in Towcester Town Hall or the Sawpits Centre and consists of sixteen elected councillors, covering two Wards: Mill Ward and Brook Ward. Unlike councillors on higher authorities, like WNC, Town and Parish Councillors do not receive a paid allowance.
Town Council meetings take place on a Monday evening. The full council meets at 7:30pm on the second Monday of every month except August. There are also four committees comprising Resources & Planning, Recreation & Leisure, Premises, and Cemetery & Allotments. The dates, times, agenda and previous minutes for all meetings can be found on the council's meetings calendar.
All meetings are open to the public. There is 15 minutes set aside at the start of all meetings for members of the public to speak or ask a question relating to any item on the agenda. The public do not have the right to speak after this time but may continue to observe the meeting.
In March, the council hosts the Annual Meeting of the Town, at which reports are given by the Mayor, and chairs of the committees, on their activities throughout the year. Local organisations are also invited to report on their work. Questions and local issues can be raised by the public at this meeting.
Each May, at the Annual Meeting of the Town Council, councillors choose a Town Mayor, who chairs full council meetings and represents the town as its civic head. Unlike a fully elected Mayor, as for example in a Metropolitan area, Towcester's Town Mayor has no additional powers to that of another councillor. If they chose to do so, the Mayor uses their year of office to raise funds for charity. The Mayor represents our town at local, county and sometimes regional events and functions. All invitations are welcomed, particularly those from local groups, schools, and charities.
Contact the Council via the Town Clerk's office (details at the top of the website) or by completing the online contact form.
If you are interested in standing as a Town Councillor or would like to find out more about what they do, then please click here.
Towcester Town Council Standing Orders
Standing Orders Adopted 24th May 2021 (PDF, 483 Kb)
Towcester Town Council Standing Orders as adopted at the Annual Meeting of the Town Council held on Monday, 24th May 2021
Towcester Town Council - Member's Code of Conduct
Towcester Town Council - Members' Code of Conduct (Word Document, 56 Kb)
Towcester Town Council - Members' Code of Conduct