Statutory user rights—sharing of space by councils
Statutory user rights—sharing of space by councils

The following Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Statutory user rights—sharing of space by councils
  • Statutory user rights—background
  • Enforcing statutory user rights in the 21st century

Statutory user rights—background

Statutory user rights arose to assist local councils after the 1974 reorganisation of local government. Before the reorganisation, there were many urban district (or borough) councils (UDCs) in non-metropolitan England and Wales operating from substantial town hall buildings. Under the Local Government Act 1972 (LGA 1972), all UDCs were abolished. They were very often replaced by much larger district councils operating under ongoing but substantially changed county councils. However, some functions, most notably the provision of parks, recreation grounds and allotments, were allocated to a new parish council covering exactly the same area as the former UDC. Many of these new urban parish councils acquired the status of a town council. Since most of the functions of the former UDC transferred to the new district council, the old town halls were transferred to the new district councils but the new town councils retained statutory user rights, so that, for example, the new town clerk would have an office or two in the town hall and the new town council would have the right to use the council chamber of the old UDC for town council meetings.

These statutory user rights are often still in existence and (unless given away or sold) can still be enforced by the parish council against the district council.

A typical example might be