Peterborough City Council

Peterborough City Council
Coat of arms or logo
John Holdich OBE, Conservative
Since 2015
Deputy Leader
Wayne Fitzgerald, Conservative
Since 2015
David Sanders, Conservative
Since 2016
Deputy Mayor
Keith Sharp, Liberal
Since 2016
Seats 60
Joint committees
East of England Local Government Association
First past the post (elected in thirds)
Last election
5 May 2016
Meeting place
Town Hall, Bridge Street, Peterborough

Peterborough City Council is the local authority of Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. The City of Peterborough in the East of England[1] was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1874; from 1888 it fell within the jurisdiction of the Soke of Peterborough county council and from 1965 Huntingdon and Peterborough county council. In 1974 it was replaced by a wholly new non-metropolitan district, broadly corresponding to the Soke, in the new enlarged Cambridgeshire. In 1998 Peterborough became independent of Cambridgeshire as a unitary authority, but the city continues to form part of that county for ceremonial purposes as defined by the Lieutenancies Act 1997.

The leader and cabinet model of decision-making was adopted by the city council in 2001. The Conservative Party held control of the council from 2002 until 2014 when it became no overall control. It is a member of the East of England Local Government Association.


Peterborough Town Hall


A public enquiry was held in 1873 to determine whether it would be advantageous for the city to be administered by a municipal corporation. The result being in the affirmative, the city council, sometimes archaically called the corporation, was founded by a Charter of Incorporation dated 17 March 1874, under the government of a mayor, six aldermen and 18 councillors.[2] Something of an anomaly, the Parliamentary Boundary Commission of 1868 had decided that the urban parts of Fletton and Woodston were so involved in Peterborough that they ought to be in the borough and added the newly built-up portions of these parishes to the parliamentary constituency. In local matters they were still in Huntingdonshire and, as the City of Peterborough did not extend south of the River Nene, the full title of the new municipality was the City and Borough of Peterborough and its inhabitants, citizens and burgesses.[3]

Watch committee

The new corporation was required to appoint a Watch Committee and constabulary under the provisions of the County and Borough Police Act 1856. In 1947, the City of Peterborough Constabulary amalgamated with the Liberty of Peterborough Constabulary, which had shared its chief constable with Northamptonshire until 1931 and the City of Peterborough thereafter, to form the Peterborough Combined Police force. This, in turn, merged into Mid-Anglia Constabulary in 1965 and was renamed Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1974.[4] The Fire Brigades Act 1938 made it a requirement for the corporation to maintain a fire brigade; under the Fire Services Act 1947 this function passed to the councils of counties.

Sunken relief at Bridge House, formerly Mitchell Engineering Limited, now in use by the city council.



In 1927 the city council submitted a memorial to the Minister of Health for permission to extend the borough boundary to include Gunthorpe, Longthorpe, Paston, Walton, Werrington and the area north-east of Fengate; this became effective from 1929.[5] Until this point the council were using the Guildhall and a large number of subsidiary offices, but the need to widen Narrow Bridge Street and the need for a new Town Hall came together in a combined scheme, resulting in the building of the present Town Hall. It was opened in 1933 and accommodated both Peterborough city council and the former Soke of Peterborough county council.[6][7]

Administrative county

Under the Local Government Act 1888, the ancient Soke of Peterborough formed an administrative county in its own right, with boundaries similar, although not identical, to the current unitary authority. Nonetheless, it remained geographically part of Northamptonshire until 1965, when the Soke of Peterborough was merged with Huntingdonshire to form the county of Huntingdon and Peterborough.[8] The municipal borough covered the urban area only; under the Local Government Act 1972, Huntingdon and Peterborough was abolished and the current district created, including the outlying rural areas.[9] However, as a result of intervening development and a new town project, this has a much larger population than the Soke had.[10] Having petitioned for borough status under Section 245 of the Act, letters patent were granted continuing the style of the city over the wider area, which became part of the non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire.[11]

Unitary authority

In 1998, the city gained autonomy from county council control as a unitary authority area, but it continues to form part of Cambridgeshire for ceremonial purposes.[12] Policing in the city remains the responsibility of Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The police authority comprises 17 members, including nine councillors, of which seven are nominated by Cambridgeshire county council and two are nominated by Peterborough city council.[13] Firefighting remains the responsibility of Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. The joint fire authority comprises 17 elected councillors, 13 from Cambridgeshire county council and four from Peterborough city council.[14] Nowadays the Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade, one of few of its kind, effectively functions as a retained fire station, responding to calls as directed by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.[15]


Executive model

The leader and cabinet model of decision-making, adopted by the city council under the Local Government Act 2000, is similar to national government. The council appoints the Leader (usually a member of the group with the political majority) and he or she appoints up to nine other councillors to serve on the cabinet. The cabinet members, one of whom is appointed Deputy Leader, assume responsibility for different key areas of local governance.[16] The full council meets around ten times a year. There are decisions that only full council can make, these include setting budgets and spending programmes, setting council tax levels and approving major policies and priorities. In addition to the Leader of the Council, the council also appoints the Mayor of Peterborough, the Deputy Mayor, committee chairmen and the chief executive. The cabinet and committees report to, and are accountable to, council.


The council's budget for the financial year 2015/16 is £437.2m (down from £444.8m in 2014/15).[17] The main source of non-school funding is the formula grant, which is paid by government to local authorities based on the services they provide. The remainder, to which the police and fire authorities (and parish council where this exists) set a precept, is raised from council tax and business rates. Following the 2010 Spending Review, the council announced that 11.1% could be cut from departmental budgets to save £65m over a five-year period and up to 181 posts could be lost.[18]


The city council elects a Mayor to serve for a term of one year. The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City of Peterborough, Cllr David Sanders (Con. Eye, Thorney and Newborough) was elected 130th Mayor of Peterborough on 23 May 2016 and will remain in office until 22 May 2017. The Deputy Mayor is Cllr Keith Sharp (Lib. Dogsthorpe), who replaces Cllr Nazim Khan MBE (Lab. Central). Although the powers of the Mayor have diminished over time, the role has retained its importance. The Mayor has social and legal precedence in all places within the city unless HM the Queen or her personal representative, a close member of the Royal Family or the Lord Lieutenant is present. The Mayor also has a key democratic role to play, acting as a politically impartial chairman of the council and making sure that proper conduct takes place in the chamber during its meetings.[19] Mayoralty of the unitary authority has been held by the following councillors:

Arms of the Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Peterborough, used 1874–1960.
1998–1999 Mary Beatrice Rainey BEd (Hons)
1999–2000 John Ernest Graham Bartlett
2000–2002 Raymond Arthur Pobgee MBE, DL
2002–2003 Clifford Stanley Horace Sneesby
2003–2004 David Raines
2004–2005 Raja Akhtar
2005 died John Ray Horrell CBE
2006 David Thorpe
2006–2007 Michael Burton OBE, FRIN
2007–2008 Marion Yvonne Todd
2008–2009 Patricia Nash MBE
2009–2010 Irene Walsh
2010–2011 Keith Sharp
2011–2012 Paula Thacker MBE
2012–2013 George Simons
2013–2014 June Stokes
2014–2015 David Over
2015–2016 John Peach[20]

Joint committees

The East of England Regional Assembly was based at Flempton, near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. The assembly was created as a voluntary regional chamber by the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 and the first meeting was held in March 1999. Following criticism of the regional assemblies, it was proposed in 2007 that they would be axed, losing their role by 2010.[21] It has since been replaced by the East of England Local Government Association who have established a Regional Strategy Board to act as Local Authority Leaders' Board under the provisions of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.

GO East, the Government Office for the East of England, co-ordinated the functions of national government in the region until 2011. The abolition of the Government Office network was announced in the 2010 Spending Review.

Political control

Political control of the unitary authority has been held by the following groups:

The City of Peterborough (6) shown within Cambridgeshire.
ElectionPartySeats  +/-  
1997 Labour 25
1999[22] No overall control
Lab largest single party
(25) 0
2000[23][24] No overall control
Con largest single party
(27) +3
2001[25][26] No overall control
Con largest single party
(26) −1
2002[27][28] Conservative 29 +2
2004[29][30] Conservative 33 +9
2006[31][32] Conservative 35 +3
2007[33][34] Conservative 40 +5
2008[35][36] Conservative 43 +3
2010[37][38] Conservative 39 −4
2011[39][40] Conservative 38 −1
2012[41][42] Conservative 32 −6
2014[43][44][45] No overall control
Con largest single party
(28) +2
2015 No overall control
Con largest single party
(27) −1
2016 Conservative 31 +4

In 2016, every councillor was up for re-election following changes made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.[46] 2017 is a fallow year and therefore there will be no elections held.[47]


The council comprises 60 councillors who represent the city and surrounding villages. Each councillor typically serves for a four-year term, representing an electoral ward. Wards are divided so that each councillor serves an average of around 2,000 electors.[48]

These are (in alphabetical order): Barnack, Bretton North, Bretton South, Dogsthorpe, Fletton, Glinton and Wittering, Newborough, Northborough, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville, Orton with Hampton, Park, Paston, Peterborough Central, Peterborough East, Peterborough North, Peterborough West, Ravensthorpe, Stanground Central, Stanground East, Eye and Thorney, Walton, Werrington North, and Werrington South.[49] 15 wards comprise the Peterborough constituency for elections to the House of Commons, while the remaining nine fall within the North West Cambridgeshire constituency.[50]


Each ward elects up to three councillors by the first past the post system of election. Barnack, Bretton South, Newborough, Northborough, and Stanground East each elect one councillor; Eye and Thorney, Glinton and Wittering, North ward, Ravensthorpe, and Walton each elect two. The current composition of the city council, following the 2016 election, is:[51]

PartySeats  +/-  
Conservative 31 +4
Labour 14 +2
UKIP 2 −2
Liberal Democrat 7 +3
Liberal 3 0
Independent 3 −4
Conservative gain from no overall control

Labour and Co-operative candidates stand on behalf of both the Labour Party and its sister Co-operative Party. The Green Party of England and Wales also contests elections. In 2010, Peterborough Independents was registered with the Electoral Commission for the "single purpose" of creating, protecting and using a mark or logo.[52]


Cllr John Holdich OBE (Glinton and Wittering), Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and University and former mayor (1995-1996) was appointed Leader of the Council in 2015, replacing Cllr Marco Cereste OMRI (Stanground Central), who had served in the role since 2009[53] but lost his seat in 2015. The Deputy Leader is currently Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald (West), Cabinet Member for Integrated Adult Social Care and Health, replacing Holdich, who had served in that role since 2013.

District elections


One third of the council is elected each year, followed by one year without elections. At the 2008 election, for example, there were 70 candidates contesting 20 seats. In 2007, turnout at the polling stations ranged from 26% in Orton Longueville to 55% in Central ward.[54] At the previous election, voters were required to provide a signature before being issued with a ballot paper.[55] This pilot scheme trialled new procedures which are now included in the Electoral Administration Act 2006.[56]

Electoral fraud

In April 2008 a former Mayor, Mohammed Choudhary, was convicted for making a false instrument, namely a poll card, in connection with vote-rigging allegations during the 2004 election.[57][58] In May 2008 chief executive, Gillian Beasley, said "People can have confidence in this result because measures that have been put in place have ensured that the vote was carried out within the law." Beasley also revealed the city council was to write a report on tackling election fraud, after the Electoral Commission said it could be adopted as best practice. As part of the drive to reduce election fraud, the council sent out blank registration forms, resulting in more than 8,000 people falling off the electoral roll.[59]

Civil parishes

Civil parishes do not cover the whole of England and mostly exist in rural areas. They are usually administered by parish councils which have various local responsibilities. Parish councillors, like city councillors, are elected to represent the views of local people. Ailsworth, Bainton, Barnack, Borough Fen, Bretton, Castor, Deeping Gate, Etton, Eye, Glinton, Helpston, Marholm, Maxey, Newborough, Northborough, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville, Peakirk, St. Martin's Without (Parish Meeting), Southorpe, Sutton, Thorney, Thornhaugh, Ufford, Upton (Parish Meeting), Wansford, Wittering, and Wothorpe each have a parish council. Newborough and Borough Fen merged on 1 April 2012. The city council also works closely with Werrington neighbourhood association which operates on a similar basis to a parish council.[60] Parish elections are held simultaneously on the ordinary day of election of councillors for the district.

By-election results

West Ward By-Election: 10 December 2009[61]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Nick Arculus 1,252 58.4 +4.1
Labour John Knowles 341 15.9 +0.9
Liberal Democrat Ginny McDermid 224 10.4 +7.4
UKIP Frances Fox 177 8.3 +8.3
English Democrats Jane Cage 93 4.3 -20.1
Green Fiona Radic 58 2.7 -0.5
Majority 911 42.5
Turnout 2,145 34.0
Conservative hold Swing
Northborough By-Election: 13 July 2006[62]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Peter Hiller 393 44.6 -16.5
Independent Simon Potter 388 44.0 +18.3
Liberal Democrat Peter Stead-Davis 64 7.3 +7.3
Labour Mark Duckworth 36 4.0 -9.2
Majority 5 0.6
Turnout 881 41.0
Conservative hold Swing
West Ward By-Election: 18 September 2003[63]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Matthew Dalton 1,405 69.5 +1.6
Liberal Democrat Jessica Story 393 19.4 +8.1
Labour Michael Langford 224 11.1 -5.2
Majority 1,012 50.1
Turnout 2,022 33.2
Conservative hold Swing
Walton By-Election: 13 February 2003[64]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat Christopher Spencer 640 52.8 +1.1
Conservative Brian Hutchinson 355 29.3 +4.5
Labour Mary Rainey 218 18.0 -5.5
Majority 285 23.5
Turnout 1,213 30.5
Liberal Democrat hold Swing
North Bretton By-Election: 22 March 2001[65]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Angus Ellis 805 53.7 -7.4
Conservative Sheila Scott 591 39.5 +0.6
Liberal Democrat Rohan Wilson 102 6.8 +6.8
Majority 214 14.2
Turnout 1,498 26.8
Labour hold Swing

2016 EU Referendum

On Thursday 23 June 2016 Peterborough voted in the 2016 EU Referendum. The result produced a large "Leave" majority by 61% of voters on a turnout of 72%[66] with only the wards of Peterborough Central, Barnack and late postal votes in the city council area returning "Remain" votes with all other wards returning "Leave" majority votes. Both local MPs Stewart Jackson and Shailesh Vara campaigned for a "Leave" vote.

United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016 (Peterborough)
Choice Votes %
Leave 53,216 60.89
Remain 34,176 39.11
Valid votes 87,392 99.91
Invalid or blank votes 77 00.9
Total votes 87,469 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 120,892 72.35

Results by Council Wards

Council Wards Votes
Remain Leave
Barnack 1,010 955
Bretton 1,387 2,798
Central 1,728 1,617
Dogsthorpe 1,273 2,622
East 1,384 2,186
Eye - Thorney & Newborough 1,846 3,568
Fletton & Stanground 1,612 2,949
Fletton & Woodston 2,170 2,669
Glinton & Castor 1,774 2,275
Gunthorpe 1,438 2,670
Hampton Vale 1,262 1,400
Hargate & Hempsted 1,320 1,439
North 1,178 2,127
Orton Langueville 1,555 3,124
Orton Waterville 2,144 3,129
Park 1,770 1,975
Paston & Walton 1,442 3,226
Ravensthorpe 1,686 2,746
Stanground South 1,430 2,762
Werrington 2,173 3,647
West 1,482 1,904
Wittering 649 1,094
Late Postal 422 344

See also


  1. The nine Government Office regions formed in 1994, were adopted in place of the eight standard statistical regions in 1999. East Anglia is now defined as Level 2 Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. See Hierarchical list of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics and the statistical regions of Europe The European Commission, Statistical Office of the European Communities. Retrieved 6 January 2008
  2. Incorporation of Peterborough: Report of the enquiry held at the New Hall by Major Donnelly J.S. Clarke, Peterborough, 1873
  3. Tebbs, Herbert F. Peterborough: A History (p.54) The Oleander Press, Cambridge, 1979
  4. The Soke of Peterborough and the Liberty Quarter Sessions Commemorating 100 years of service of the Peterborough Police 1857–1957 (pp.6–8) Peterborough Combined Police Force, 23 May 1957
  5. Mellows, William Thomas Peterborough's Municipal Jubilee: a record of 50 years of Local Government 1874–1924 Peterborough Standard, 1924. See 17 & 18 Geo. V c.xciv ext. (mods.) — Min. of Health Provnl.O.Confn. (Peterborough Extn.) 1928 (c.xix), art.27(1)(a), sch.2 pt.I of O. ss.5–9, 20, 23, 24 appl. — Soke and City of Peterborough 1929 (c.lviii), s.33
  6. The Municipal Buildings Peterborough Standard for Peterborough City Council, 26 October 1933
  7. Mellows, William Thomas An outline of the history of Peterborough's public buildings Peterborough Citizen and Advertiser, 1934
  8. The Huntingdon and Peterborough Order 1964 (SI 1964/367), see Local Government Commission for England, Report and Proposals for the East Midlands General Review Area (Report No.3), 31 July 1961 and Report and Proposals for the Lincolnshire and East Anglia General Review Area (Report No.9), 7 May 1965
  9. The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972 (SI 1972/2039) Part 5: County of Cambridgeshire
  10. The Peterborough New Town (Designation) Order 1967 under section 1 of the New Towns Act 1965, see the London Gazette (Issue 44377) published 1 August 1967
  11. Issued under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 25 June 1974, see the London Gazette (Issue 46334) published 28 June 1974
  12. The Cambridgeshire (City of Peterborough) (Structural, Boundary and Electoral Changes) Order 1996 (SI 1996/1878), see Local Government Commission for England, Final Recommendations for the Future Local Government of Cambridgeshire, October 1994 and Final Recommendations on the Future Local Government of Basildon & Thurrock, Blackburn & Blackpool, Broxtowe, Gedling & Rushcliffe, Dartford & Gravesham, Gillingham & Rochester upon Medway, Exeter, Gloucester, Halton & Warrington, Huntingdonshire & Peterborough, Northampton, Norwich, Spelthorne and the Wrekin, December 1995
  13. About the Authority Cambridgeshire Police Authority. Retrieved 9 December 2007
  14. The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. Retrieved 9 December 2007
  15. Walton, Jemma Meet Peterborough's Volunteer Fire Brigade team Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 26 July 2007
  16. Modular constitutions for English local authorities Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions, February 2001
  17. Council Tax Summary and A–Z Guide Peterborough City Council, 1 April 2015
  18. Spending Review: Peterborough council jobs cut talks BBC News, 29 October 2010
  19. Mayoralty of Peterborough Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 6 May 2007 includes a complete list of previous incumbents
  20. Former Conservative council leader is new Mayor of Peterborough Peterborough Telegraph, 20 May 2015
  21. New Assembly Chairman calls on Government to let communities shape their own future East of England Regional Assembly, 30 July 2007
  22. Vote 99 Locals BBC News. Retrieved 28 December 2007
  23. Peterborough Election Results Peterborough City Council, 5 May 2000
  24. Vote 2000 BBC News. Retrieved 10 May 2008
  25. Peterborough Election Results Peterborough City Council, 8 June 2001
  26. Vote 2001 BBC News. Retrieved 10 May 2008
  27. Local Election Results 2002 Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 4 May 2007
  28. Vote 2002 BBC News. Retrieved 10 May 2008
  29. Local Election Results 2004 Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 4 May 2007
  30. Vote 2004 BBC News, 12 June 2004
  31. Local Election Results 2006 Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 4 May 2007
  32. Election 2006 BBC News, 5 May 2006
  33. Local Election Results 2007 Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 4 May 2007
  34. Election 2007 BBC News, 4 May 2007
  35. Local Election Results 2008 Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 10 May 2008
  36. Elections 2008 BBC News, 2 May 2008
  37. Declaration of Result of Poll Peterborough City Council, 7 May 2010
  38. Election 2010 BBC News, 7 May 2008
  39. Declaration of Result of Poll Peterborough City Council, 13 May 2011
  40. Election 2011 BBC News, 10 May 2011
  41. Declaration of Result of Poll Peterborough City Council, 11 May 2012
  42. Vote 2012 BBC News, 4 May 2012
  43. Declaration of Result of Poll Peterborough City Council, 23 May 2014
  44. Vote 2014 BBC News, 28 May 2014
  45. McErlain, Ken Full list of Peterborough City Council 2014 election results Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 22 May 2014
  46. Peterborough City Council leader Marco Cereste loses Stanground election Peterborough Telegraph, 8 May 2015
  47. Elections 2016: Peterborough City Council results Peterborough Telegraph, 6 May 2016
  48. Councillors by Name, Ward and Group Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 6 May 2007
  49. The City of Peterborough (Electoral Changes) Order 2003 (SI 2003/161) and The City of Peterborough (Electoral Changes) (Amendment) Order 2004 (SI 2004/721), see Boundary Committee for England report to the Electoral Commission Final Recommendations on the Future Electoral Arrangements for Peterborough, July 2002
  50. Clegg, William General Review of Parliamentary Constituency boundaries in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Assistant Commissioner's report to the chairman and Members of the Boundary Commission for England, 18 March 2004 and Final Recommendations for Parliamentary Constituencies in the Counties of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Boundary Commission for England, 19 January 2005
  51. Local Elections 2016 - Results Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 16 June 2016
  52. Reinis, Nick Independents form new Peterborough City Council alliance Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 21 December 2010
  53. Baker, Marie Marco Cereste: Vision for a brighter, more secure future Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 14 May 2009
  54. Elections 07 Photo slideshow: Tories tighten their grip on city Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 4 May 2007
  55. Peterborough City Council (Election Security Measures) Pilot Order 2006. See Electoral pilot scheme evaluation The Electoral Commission, 4 August 2006
  56. Mellows–Facer, Adam Local elections 2006 House of Commons Research Paper 06/26, 10 May 2006
  57. Former mayor is charged following vote rigging probe Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 30 August 2007
  58. Three jailed over rigged election BBC News, 7 April 2008
  59. Muir, Jonny Election 2008: A fair poll free of any irregularities Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 2 May 2008
  60. Parish Councils and Councillors Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 28 December 2007
  61. Following the death of Cllr Michael Burton; Reinis, Nick By-election: New Tory Arculus takes West Ward Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 11 December 2009
  62. Following the death of Cllr Benjamin Franklin; Conservative wins Northborough by-election by five vote margin Peterborough City Council, Ref. 06/07/ML, 13 July 2006
  63. Following the death of Cllr Rex Perkins; By-Election Result 2003 Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 4 May 2007
  64. Following the death of Cllr Phillip Sharp; Walton By-Election Result Peterborough City Council, 14 February 2003
  65. Following the resignation of former Cllr John Johnson; North Bretton By-Election Result Peterborough City Council, 23 March 2001
  66. "EU Referendum results". Peterborough City Council. Retrieved 19 October 2016.

External links

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