Parish and town councils in England are the first-tier of local Government with Durham County Council being the second in a two-tier system. The town council is the voice of the community, representing its needs and working to deliver the services it requires.
Parish and town councils have a large range of powers with the activities and services they are involved in covering a wide and varied range. For further information about the ‘Services’ and ‘Other Responsibilities’ carried out by Barnard Castle Town Council please select the relevant link.
When The Baliols gave charters to the town and encouraged self-government, this led to the Borough Court, the Vestry, the Board of Health and, in 1894, the Urban District Council. In 1974, the management of the Town had largely been taken away from the townspeople and it was also at this point that Mr J C Walker, the Clerk to the Urban District Council and Mr E Dixon, who held the combined post of Public Health Inspector and Surveyor, retired. The two gentlemen had been on the council staff for 46 years and 29 years respectively and their knowledge of the town and its people had been invaluable. The newly created town council had the status of a parish council with its chairman holding the title of Town Mayor. After some initial uncertainty regarding duties and responsibilities, the town council took over the responsibility for Christmas lights, floral displays and children’s playingfields, all of which are still services carried out today.
The town clerk originally worked from home but, as the responsibilities grew, the town council moved into its first office in Barnard Castle on 29th November, 2004. The single-storey offices were located within the centre of Barnard Castle at 44B Galgate, although the entrance door was actually on Marshall Street.
In 2015, the town council successfully bid to take over the lease of Woodleigh on Scar Top, which had been offices for Barnard Castle UDC and Teesdale District Council from 1949 to 2009. The town council made a business case to lease the building for 15 years, with its partner organisations County Durham Citizens Advice Bureau and the Association of Teesdale Day Clubs. The town council moved to Woodleigh in March 2016.
Barnard Castle Town Council is a statutory body funded principally by an annual Precept. Income and Expenditure is estimated for the next financial year and the net amount (The Precept) is added to Council Tax which is collected at County level. Town Councils do not receive funding direct from central government but they can apply for other means of funding such as grants.
There are 12 Councillors with a Town Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Details of current Membership can be found on the Mayor and Councillors section of our website. Town Councillors, unlike County Councillors and the former Teesdale District Councillors, are unpaid and receive no allowances – they work on an entirely voluntary basis.
The council is administered and its services managed and delivered by four members of staff: the Clerk, Deputy Clerk and two part-time Service Administrators. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.