The origins of the Parish Council are in the local government reforms of the 1880s, when local parish councils, with no connection to any ecclesiastical authorities, were created. The council is a secular body and is more usefully seen as a ‘community’ council. Harewood is one of the longest-established such councils in Yorkshire.
The original area of the council was the village of Harewood and the outlying hamlets of Wike, Stanks and Wigton. However, from the 1960s onwards the suburbs of Leeds crept north and began to be built on the farmlands in the area of the old village parish. Farms called ‘High Ash’, ‘Slaid Hill’ and The Plantation’ can be seen in the maps of the 1850s and their names are still with us. Now the private estates of Wig ton Moor comprise 80% of the population of the parish and the more accurate name now should perhaps be ‘Harewood and Wigton Moor’ parish council. Seven of the nine members of the Parish Council represent Wigton Moor; the other two represent 'Harewood and Wike'.
On its formation the Parish Council took over the responsibility for the graveyard off The Avenue, near Harewood village and this has proved a valuable asset to the council for many years.