Of the 314 local authorities in England, less than a third are fully parished and over 80 have no town or parish at all. Lack of representation at the town level can create wide disparities in democratic representation. For example, in the Stratford and New Town ward in the London Borough of Newham, where there is no town or parish council, there are more than 12,500 residents for every councillor, compared to just 25 residents per parish councillor in the village of Weeford in Staffordshire.
Of those local authorities that are parished, there is huge variation both in the coverage, size and population represented. Figure 2 above shows a breakdown of local authorities by the population share of the parishes within them. Just under 90% of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole is unparished, leaving only 13% of the local authority’s population with hyperlocal representation. However, being fully parished is no guarantee of more equity in representation or size.