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City of Winchester

Coordinates: 51°03′43″N 1°19′01″W / 51.062°N 1.317°W / 51.062; -1.317
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Winchester skyline
Winchester skyline
Coat of arms of Winchester
Winchester shown within Hampshire
Winchester shown within Hampshire
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
RegionSouth East England
Non-metropolitan countyHampshire
StatusNon-metropolitan district, Borough, City time immemorial
Admin HQWinchester
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyWinchester City Council
 • MPsSteve Brine
Flick Drummond
 • Total255.20 sq mi (660.97 km2)
 • Rank51st (of 296)
 • Total130,268
 • Rank182nd (of 296)
 • Density510/sq mi (200/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code24UP (ONS)
E07000094 (GSS)
OS grid referenceSU485295

Winchester (/ˈwɪnɪstər/),[2] or the City of Winchester, is a local government district with city status in Hampshire, England.

The district is named after its main settlement of Winchester, which is where the council is based and is also the county town of Hampshire. The city boundaries also encompass a large surrounding rural area, including the towns of New Alresford and Whiteley and numerous villages.

Parts of the district lie within the South Downs National Park. The neighbouring districts are Basingstoke and Deane, East Hampshire, Havant, Portsmouth, Fareham, Eastleigh and Test Valley.


Winchester was an ancient borough, which had additionally held city status from time immemorial. The city traces its history to the Roman Era, developing from the town of Venta Belgarum. It saw historic significance from its reconstruction under Alfred the Great in the 9th century, and grew in prominence until London replaced it as capital. The office of Mayor of Winchester was created sometime between 1190 and 1200, making it the second oldest mayoralty in England, after London.[3] Winchester saw a decline after plague swept the country, but began to recover from the 19th century.

The borough was reformed to become a municipal borough in 1836 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, which reformed most boroughs across the country. It had its territory enlarged at the same time to bring developing suburbs within the city boundary.[4][5] The borough was significantly enlarged in 1932, absorbing Weeke and gaining territory from several other surrounding parishes.[6]

The modern district was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the whole area of two former districts and parts of a third, which were all abolished at the same time:[7]

The new district was named Winchester after its largest settlement.[8] Winchester's borough status passed to the enlarged district from its creation, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor, continuing Winchester's series of mayors dating back to the twelfth century.[9] The city status formerly held by the municipal borough of Winchester was also transferred to the whole of the new district from its creation, allowing the council to call itself Winchester City Council.[10]


Winchester City Council
Angela Clear,
Liberal Democrat
since 23 February 2023[11][12]
Martin Tod,
Liberal Democrat
since 18 May 2022
Laura Taylor
since January 2017
Seats45 councillors
Political groups
Administration (33)
  Liberal Democrat (33)
Other parties (12)
  Conservative (8)
  Green (3)
  Independent (1)
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
2 May 2024
Meeting place
Guildhall, The Broadway, High Street, Winchester, SO23 9GH
The City Council's coat of arms, displayed in Winchester Guildhall

Winchester City Council provides district-level services. County-level services are provided by Hampshire County Council. Much of the district is covered by civil parishes, which form a third tier of local government.[13][14]

In the parts of the district within the South Downs National Park, town planning is the responsibility of the South Downs National Park Authority. The district council appoints one of its councillors to serve on the 27-person National Park Authority.[15]

Political control[edit]

Political control of the council since the 1974 reforms has been as follows:[16][17][18]

Party in control Years
Independent 1974–1976
No overall control 1976–1979
Conservative 1979–1987
No overall control 1987–1995
Liberal Democrats 1995–2004
No overall control 2004–2006
Conservative 2006–2010
Liberal Democrats 2010–2011
No overall control 2011–2012
Conservative 2012–2014
No overall control 2014–2015
Conservative 2015–2019
Liberal Democrats 2019–present


The role of mayor of Winchester is now largely ceremonial, with political leadership instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1994 have been:[19]

Councillor Party From To
Ken Penman[20] Conservative 1979 May 1987
Georgie Busher[21][22] Conservative May 1987 May 1990
Allan Mitchell Liberal Democrats May 1994 May 1998
John Steel Liberal Democrats May 1998 May 2001
Rodney Sabine Liberal Democrats May 2001 5 May 2002
Sheila Campbell Liberal Democrats May 2002 7 May 2006
George Beckett Conservative 17 May 2006 19 May 2010
Kelsey Learney Liberal Democrats 19 May 2010 18 May 2011
George Beckett Conservative 18 May 2011 6 May 2012
Keith Wood Conservative 16 May 2012 25 May 2014
Rob Humby Conservative 4 Jun 2014 17 Feb 2015
Frank Pearson Conservative 19 Feb 2015 20 May 2015
Stephen Godfrey Conservative 20 May 2015 11 Jan 2017
Caroline Horrill Conservative 11 Jan 2017 May 2019
Lucille Thompson Liberal Democrats 15 May 2019 May 2022
Martin Tod Liberal Democrats 18 May 2022


Following the 2023 election, the composition of the council was:[23]

Party Councillors
Liberal Democrats 30
Conservative 12
Green 2
Independent 1
Total 45

The next election is due in 2024.


Since the last boundary changes in 2016 the council has comprised 45 councillors representing 16 wards, with each ward electing two or three councillors. Elections are held three years out of every four, with roughly a third of the council elected each time for a four year term of office. Hampshire County Council elections are held in the fourth year of the cycle when there are no city council elections.[24]

Ward Party Member Election
Alresford & Itchen Valley Liberal Democrat Russell Gordon-Smith 2023
Liberal Democrat Margot Power 2022
Liberal Democrat Clare Pinniger 2024
Badger Farm & Oliver's Battery Liberal Democrat Adrian Brophy 2023
Liberal Democrat Brian Laming 2022
Conservative Jan Warwick 2024
Bishops Waltham Liberal Democrat Jonathan Williams 2023
Conservative Steve Miller 2022
Conservative Ritchie Latham 2024
Central Meon Valley Green Danny Lee 2023
Green Malcolm Wallace 2022
Green Suzanne White 2024
Colden Common and Twyford Liberal Democrat Hannah Greenberg 2023
Independent[25][n 1] Sue Cook 2022
Denmead Conservative Paula Langford-Smith 2023
Conservative Caroline Brook 2022
Liberal Democrat Michael Bennett 2024
Southwick and Wickham Liberal Democrat Chris Chamberlain 2023
Liberal Democrat Neil Cutler 2022
Liberal Democrat Angela Clear 2024
St Barnabas Liberal Democrat Jonny Morris 2023
Liberal Democrat James Batho 2022
Liberal Democrat Kelsie Learney 2024
St Bartholomew Liberal Democrat Nathan Eve 2023
Liberal Democrat Kathleen Becker 2022
Liberal Democrat John Tippett-Cooper 2024
St Luke Liberal Democrat Charlie Wise 2023
Liberal Democrat Jamie Scott 2024
St Michael Liberal Democrat George Prest 2023
Liberal Democrat Mark Reach 2022
Liberal Democrat Rachel Aron 2024
St Paul Liberal Democrat Martin Tod 2023
Liberal Democrat Lucille Thompson 2022
Liberal Democrat Chris Westwood 2024
The Worthys Liberal Democrat Jane Rutter 2023
Liberal Democrat Jackie Porter 2022
Liberal Democrats Steve Cramoysan 2024
Upper Meon Valley Liberal Democrat Jerry Pett 2023
Conservative Neil Bolton 2022
Whiteley & Shedfield Liberal Democrats Sudhakar Achwal 2023
Liberal Democrats Anne Small 2022
Liberal Democrats Vivian Achwal 2024
Wonston & Micheldever Conservative Caroline Horrill 2023
Conservative Partrick Cunningham 2022
Conservative Stephen Godfrey 2024

The City of Winchester straddles two parliamentary constituencies. Winchester constituency covers the north-western part of the district, as well as Chandler's Ford, which is part of Eastleigh. The remainder is within the Meon Valley constituency, which also covers part of East Hampshire and Havant.[26] Winchester constituency has been represented by Steve Brine since 2010, whilst Meon Valley has been represented by Flick Drummond since the 2019 general election.


The council meets at Winchester Guildhall, on the section of High Street known as The Broadway. The main building was built between 1871 and 1875.[27] The council's main offices are in an adjoining modern building called City Offices, to the rear of the Guildhall on Colebrook Street.[28]


Population pyramid of the City of Winchester

A Legatum Prosperity Index published by the Legatum Institute in October 2016 showed the City of Winchester as the third most prosperous council area in the United Kingdom, after the Borough of Waverley and Mole Valley.[29]


Ethnic Group 1991[30] 2001[31] 2011[32]
Number % Number % Number %
White: Total 95,427 99% 104,907 97.8% 111,577 95.7%
White: British 101,689 94.8% 107,070 91.8%
White: Irish 750 733
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 263
White: Other 2,468 3,511
Asian or Asian British: Total 563 0.6% 1,063 1% 2,639 2.3%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 144 382 665
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 31 44 92
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 80 180 222
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 142 324 745
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 166 133 915
Black or Black British: Total 147 0.2% 270 0.3% 457 0.4%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 54 118 147
Black or Black British: African 41 126 250
Black or Black British: Other Black 52 26 60
Mixed or British Mixed: Total 708 0.7% 1,626 1.4%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 142 321
Mixed: White and Black African 86 180
Mixed: White and Asian 283 684
Mixed: Other Mixed 197 441
Other: Total 249 0.3% 274 0.3% 296 0.3%
Other: Arab 110
Other: Any other ethnic group 249 0.3% 274 0.3% 186
Total 96,386 100% 107,222 100% 116,595 100%


Whiteley, the district's second largest settlement, being a new town developed from the 1980s that partly straddles the neighbouring borough of Fareham.
New Alresford, the district's other town.

Much of the borough is covered by civil parishes. The main part of the Winchester urban area, roughly corresponding to the pre-1974 borough, is an unparished area.[26] The council runs a "Winchester Town Forum" for this area to discuss local matters in that area in the absence of a parish council.[33] The parish councils for New Alresford and Whiteley have declared their parishes to be towns, allowing them to take the style "town council". Some of the smaller parishes have a parish meeting rather than a parish council.[34]

The parishes are:


  1. ^ Elected as a Conservative


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Winchester Local Authority (E07000094)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ "Local Authority Districts, Counties and Unitary Authorities (April 2021) Map in United Kingdom". Office for National Statistics: Open Geography Portal. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  3. ^ "History of the Mayor". Winchester City Council. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  4. ^ Municipal Corporations Act. 1835. p. 459. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  5. ^ Parliamentary Boundaries Act 1832. 1832. p. 344. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  6. ^ "Winchester Municipal Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  7. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan District (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 17 November 2023
  8. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 31 May 2023
  9. ^ "District Councils and Boroughs". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 28 March 1974. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  10. ^ "No. 46255". The London Gazette. 4 April 1974. p. 4401.
  11. ^ "Council minutes, 23 February 2023". Winchester City Council. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  12. ^ "Council minutes, 17 May 2023". Winchester City Council. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  13. ^ "Local Government Act 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  14. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  15. ^ "Members". South Downs National Park Authority. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  16. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  17. ^ "Winchester". BBC News Online. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  18. ^ "Winchester Lib Dems win by-election in Oliver's Battery and Badger Farm". Hampshire Chronicle. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  19. ^ "Council minutes". Winchester City Council. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  20. ^ "Cabinet, Wednesday, 11th February, 2004 9.00 am - Minutes" (PDF). Winchester City Council. Winchester City Council. 11 February 2004. Retrieved 22 December 2023. Mr Penman had been a Member of the Council from 1962 to 1987 and Leader from 1979 to 1987
  21. ^ Macdonald, Jock (2022). Gibbon's Years. Part 2 Section 45: Matador Books. ISBN 9781805146940.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  22. ^ Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher (13 August 2013). "Winchester City Council Election Results 1973-2012" (PDF). The Elections Centre. The Elections Centre. Retrieved 23 December 2023.
  23. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  24. ^ "The Winchester (Electoral Changes) Order 2015", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2015/2063, retrieved 17 November 2023
  25. ^ "City councillor resigns from the Conservatives to better represent residents". Hampshire Chronicle. 27 January 2023. Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  26. ^ a b "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  27. ^ Historic England. "Guildhall, Winchester (Grade II) (1095464)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  28. ^ "Contact us". Winchester City Council. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  29. ^ Braiden, Gerry (13 October 2016). "Scots authority named amongst UK's top 10 most prosperous – as neighbouring city props up table". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  30. ^ Data is taken from United Kingdom Casweb Data services of the United Kingdom 1991 Census on Ethnic Data for England, Scotland and Wales (Table 6)
  31. ^ "Office of National Statistics; 2001 Census Key Statistics". webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  32. ^ "2011 Census: Ethnic Group, local authorities in England and Wales". webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  33. ^ "Winchester Town Forum". Winchester City Council. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  34. ^ "Parish council contact details". Winchester City Council. Retrieved 17 November 2023.

51°03′43″N 1°19′01″W / 51.062°N 1.317°W / 51.062; -1.317