Medway Council

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Medway Council
Coat of arms or logo
Council logo
Founded1 April 1998 (1998-04-01)
Preceded byRochester-upon-Medway City Council and Gillingham Borough Council
Nina Gurung,
since 24 May 2023
Vince Maple,
since 24 May 2023
Richard Hicks
since 1 August 2023
Seats59 councillors
Medway Council Composition
Political groups
  Labour (33)
Other Parties
  Conservative (22)
  Independent (4)
Length of term
4 years
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Forward Together
Meeting place
Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, ME4 4TR
Constitution of Medway Council

Medway Council is the local authority of Medway in Kent, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined.

The council was created on 1 April 1998 and replaced Rochester-upon-Medway City Council and Gillingham Borough Council.

Formation and city status[edit]

Throughout the 19th century there had been proposals to join the Medway towns under a single authority. By 1903 moves began to take place: that year saw the creation of the Borough of Gillingham, to which, in 1928, the adjoining parish of Rainham was added.

In 1944, a Medway Towns Joint Amalgamation Committee was formed by the borough corporations of Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester, to discuss the possibility of the towns forming a single county borough. In 1948 the Local Government Boundary Commission recommended that the area become a "most purposes" county borough, but the recommendation was not carried out. In 1956 the Joint Amalgamation Committee decided in favour of the amalgamation and invited representatives from Strood Rural District Council to join the committee.[1] In 1960, a proposal was made by Rochester Council that the merger be effected by the city absorbing the two other towns, in order to safeguard its ancient charters and city status. This led to Gillingham Council voting to leave the committee, as it believed the three towns should go forward as equal partners.[2] On 9 March, the committee held its last meeting, with the Chatham representatives voting to dissolve the body and those from Rochester voting against. The motion to disband was passed on the casting vote of the chairman, Alderman Semple from Chatham.[3]

Under the Local Government Act 1972, on 1 April 1974 the City of Rochester, the Borough of Chatham and part of Strood Rural District were amalgamated to form the Borough of Medway, a local government district in the county of Kent. Gillingham chose to remain separate. Under letters patent the former city council area was to continue to be styled the "City of Rochester" to "perpetuate the ancient name" and to recall "the long history and proud heritage of the said city".[4] The city was unique, as it had no council or charter trustees and no mayor or civic head. In 1979, the Borough of Medway was renamed as Rochester-upon-Medway, and in 1982 further letters patent transferred the city status to the entire borough.[5]

On 1 April 1998, the existing local government districts of Rochester-upon-Medway and Gillingham were abolished under the local government review and merged to become the new unitary authority of Medway, administratively independent from Kent County Council; though, under the earlier Lieutenancies Act, Medway was placed with Kent,[6] and as this has not been amended,[7] Medway is still listed with Kent purely as a ceremonial county. Since it was the local government district of Rochester-upon-Medway that officially held city status under the 1982 letters patent, when it was abolished, it also ceased to be a city. The other local government districts with city status that were abolished around this time (Bath and Hereford) appointed charter trustees to maintain the existence of the city and the mayoralty. However, Rochester-upon-Medway City Council had decided not to and as a result their city status was rescinded. Medway Council apparently only became aware of this when they discovered that Rochester was not on the Lord Chancellor's Office's list of cities.[8][9] Medway applied for city status in the 2000 and 2002 competitions, but was unsuccessful. In 2010, it started to refer to the "City of Medway" in promotional material, but it was rebuked and instructed not to do so in future by the Advertising Standards Authority.[10] Medway Council made a further bid for city status in 2012, when three cities were afforded the honour as part of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee civic honours competition.[11] Ultimately Medway was unsuccessful with the eventual winners being Chelmsford (Essex), Perth (Perthshire), and St Asaph (Denbighshire).[12]


Medway Council is led by the Leader of the Council, and a cabinet appointed by the Leader. The Council Leader is currently Vince Maple, after the Labour and Co-Operative Party won the 2023 Medway Council election.


The current composition of Medway Council's Cabinet is as follows:[13]

Party key Labour and Co-operative Party
Post Member
Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
Leader of the Council Vince Maple
Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Portfolio Holder for Health and Adults Services

Teresa Murray
Portfolio Holders
Portfolio Holder for Business Management Zoe Van Dyke
Portfolio Holder for Children's Services Adam Price
Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Strategic Regeneration Simon Curry
Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Enforcement Tristan Osborne
Portfolio Holder for Economic and Social Regeneration and Inward Investment Lauren Edwards
Portfolio Holder for Education Tracy Coombs
Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and Leisure Harinder Mahil
Portfolio Holder for Housing and Property Naushabah Khan

Opposition Spokespeople[edit]

The Conservatives as the main opposition group appoints spokespeople to represent the party.[14]

Party key Conservative
Post Member
Leader of the Conservative Group and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group
Leader of the Opposition Adrian Gulvin
Deputy Leader of the Opposition George Perfect
Spokesperson for Planning Gary Etheridge
Spokesperson for Children and Young People George Perfect
Spokesperson for Health and Adult Social Care David Wildey
Spokesperson for Regeneration, Culture and Environment Phil Filmer


The council has 59 councillors, elected every four years under the first-past-the-post system. The council chooses one of its members to act as mayor in an annual election. At the annual meeting of Medway Council, Cllr Nina Gurung was elected as the new Mayor of Medway. She is Medway’s first Buddhist Mayor. Cllr Marian Nestorov was appointed Deputy Mayor.


Affiliation Councillors
Labour Party 33
Conservative Party 22
Independent 4


  1. ^ "Medway Towns Amalgamation — Favoured by three councils", The Times, 6 November 1956
  2. ^ "Gillingham leaving merger scheme", The Times, 3 February 1960
  3. ^ "Medway Towns split over merger — Committee disbands", The Times, 10 March 1960
  4. ^ "No. 46243". The London Gazette. 21 March 1974. p. 3651. Letters Patent dated 18 March 1974, text also available from Medway Council archives website
  5. ^ "No. 48875". The London Gazette. 28 January 1982. p. 1173.Publishing Letters Patent dated 25 January 1982, text also available from Medway Council archives website
  6. ^ "Lieutenancies Act 1997". 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  7. ^ "The Local Government (Structural Changes) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Other Provision) Order 2009". 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Error costs Rochester city status", BBC news, Thursday, 16 May 2002.
  9. ^ Medway Council – Regeneration and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Report on Rochester City Status, 4 March 2003. Archived 18 February 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "ASA Adjudication on Medway Council". 16 March 2011. Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Medway City Status Bid 2012". Medway Council. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  12. ^ "Civic Honours competition results announced". Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  13. ^ Witherow, Tim. "Who's in the cabinet". Retrieved 26 August 2023.
  14. ^ Selby, Jade. "Political groups in Medway". Retrieved 26 August 2023.

External links[edit]

Media related to Medway Council at Wikimedia Commons