Parish Council



About the Parish

Yarnton has an electorate of approx. 2500 and an estimated population of 3500-4000.  It is part of Gosford & Water Eaton Ward of the Cherwell District, in the Oxford West and Abingdon Parliamentary Constituency, and is in the UK South-East Region of the European Parliament.



The Parish, the oldest type of local government unit in Europe, has had its uses for civil purposes since the 8th century.  In the time of Elizabeth I it was the area used for Poor Law administration. Since that time a variety of powers and responsibilities have been imposed on it, or withdrawn from it, but civil and ecclesiastical duties were inextricably interwoven and it was not until 1894 that the tangle was sorted out. It was then that civil functions were transferred to the new Parish Council, leaving Church affairs to the ecclesiastical parish, later the Parochial Church Council. The Parish Council – there are about 9000 in England – is the local government unit most closely in touch with the electorate, for its members generally live in the parish, and its meetings are held there. As a corporate body, the Council is a focus of local opinion which other public authorities can easily consult. Our Council in Yarnton consists of nine members, this number having been decided by the County Council as being right for a parish of our size. Every four years a new Council must be elected. Candidates must be properly qualified and nominated. Yarnton Parish Council usually meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 6.15pm in the back room of the Village Hall.  A copy of the meeting’s agenda is published on the notice boards in Spencer Avenue, outside Rutten Lane playing field, outside the village hall, on the grass area between Cresswell Close and The Paddocks, and is posted on the village website. Any member of the public has a right to be present as an observer at the meetings, and can speak about an issue if he/she gives 14 days written notice to do so.  The Parish Council receives a copy of all Yarnton planning applications and views the sites of proposed developments but its powers are limited to sending observations and comments to Cherwell District Council who make the decisions. Each year in the spring the Annual Parish Meeting is held. At this meeting the Council reports on its activities, the accounts are presented and a report on parochial charities is received. In addition the Publican of the Red Lion confirms that the replica of the Ship’s Bell from HMS Yarnton is still in safe keeping, after which there is discussion on matters of general interest. Any member of the public may attend, but only electors of Yarnton may take an active part (i.e. ask question, join in discussions, vote). The date of the meeting is notified in the Yarnton Village News, on the website and on the noticeboards.


The County and District Councils provide the major services, such as Highways, Education, Housing and the Police: Thames Water is responsible for Sewerage and Water Supply. However, these authorities can easily, and in some cases must, consult parish Councils because the Parish Councils are the only local councils in close, regular touch with their electorate. The Parish Council’s duties and responsibilities are wide-ranging and diverse and cover such topics as road safety to tree surgery and street lighting to Care Committee. If you are interested in how your Parish Council works, why not come along to a meeting?