Merton London Borough Council

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Merton London Borough Council
Coat of arms or logo
Coat of arms
Council logo
Mayor of Merton
Joan Henry, Labour
since 25 May 2022
Leader of the Council
Ross Garrod, Labour
since 25 May 2022
Chief executive
Hannah Doody
since 7 July 2021
Seats57 councillors
United Kingdom Merton Council Council 2022.png
Political groups
Majority Party (31)
  •   Labour (31)

Opposition (26)

First past the post
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
7 May 2026
Meeting place
Morden Civic Centre, London Road. - - 21466.jpg
Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden

Merton London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Merton in Greater London, England. It is one of the 32 councils that form Greater London.


A map showing the wards of Merton 2002-2022
A map showing the wards of Merton 2022 onwards

There were previously a number of local authorities responsible for the Merton area. The current local authority was first elected in 1964, a year before formally coming into its powers and prior to the creation of the London Borough of Merton on 1 April 1965. Merton replaced the Municipal Borough of Mitcham, the Municipal Borough of Wimbledon and the Merton and Morden Urban District, all formerly within Surrey.[1]

It was envisaged that through the London Government Act 1963 Merton as a London local authority would share power with the Greater London Council. The split of powers and functions meant that the Greater London Council was responsible for "wide area" services such as fire, ambulance, flood prevention, and refuse disposal; with the local authorities responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. This arrangement lasted until 1986 when London Borough Councils gained responsibility for some services that had been provided by the Greater London Council, such as waste disposal. Since 2000 the Greater London Authority has taken some responsibility for highways and planning control from the council, but within the English local government system the council remains a "most purpose" authority in terms of the available range of powers and functions.[2]

Powers and functions[edit]

The local authority derives its powers and functions from the London Government Act 1963 and subsequent legislation, and has the powers and functions of a London borough council. It sets council tax and as a billing authority also collects precepts for Greater London Authority functions and business rates.[3] It sets planning policies which complement Greater London Authority and national policies, and decides on almost all planning applications accordingly. It is a local education authority and is also responsible for council housing, social services, libraries, waste collection and disposal, traffic, and most roads and environmental health.[4]

Political background of the council[edit]

Merton is divided into 20 wards, seventeen of which elect three councillors, with the remaining three electing two councillors each. The political voting patterns in Merton broadly follow the geographical divide between Merton's two UK Parliament constituencies.

The eastern Mitcham and Morden constituency, which is held by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, contains ten wards and has only elected Labour councillors since 2014, with the exception of a single Conservative councillor elected in Lower Morden in 2022.

The western Wimbledon constituency, which is held by Conservative MP Stephen Hammond, contains ten wards with 27 councillors, 17 of which are currently Liberal Democrats. Since 1990, the ward of Merton Park has only ever returned councillors for Merton Park Ward Residents Association.[5] The most recent elections in 2022 saw the Liberal Democrats replace the Conservatives as the main opposition on Merton Council, winning 17 seats across the Wimbledon wards. They won all council seats in four of the wards, while another four wards were split between the Liberal Democrats and either the Conservatives or Labour. The only ward completely held by the Conservatives is Village, while Labour maintains only a single councillor in each of the Abbey and Wandle wards.[6]

Since 1964 political control of the council has been held by the following parties:[7]

Party in control Years
No overall control 1964–1968
Conservative 1968–1971
Labour 1971–1974
Conservative 1974–1989
No overall control 1989–1990
Labour 1990–2006
No overall control 2006–2014
Labour 2014–Present


The following have served as leaders of Merton Council since its formation:

  • 1965–71 Vincent Talbot (Conservative)
  • 1971–74 Dennis Hempstead (Labour)
  • 1974–75 Vincent Talbot (Conservative)
  • 1975–80 Allan Jones (Conservative)
  • 1980–88 Harry Cowd (Conservative)
  • 1988–90 John Elvidge (Conservative)
  • 1990–91 Geoff Smith (Labour)
  • 1991–97 Tony Colman (Labour)
  • 1997–99 Mike Brunt (Labour)
  • 1999–2000 Philip Jones (Labour)
  • 2000–01 Peter Holt (Labour)
  • 2001–06 Andrew Judge (Labour)
  • 2006–10 David Williams (Conservative)
  • 2010–20 Stephen Alambritis (Labour)
  • 2020-22 Mark Allison (Labour)
  • 2022 - Ross Garrod (Labour)


At the Annual Council Meeting, a mayor is elected to serve for a year. At the same time, the Council elects a deputy mayor. Since 1978, each Mayor must also be an elected councillor.

The Mayor also acts as the ceremonial and civic head of the borough during his/her year of office and the post is non-political. Each year the Mayor also chooses two charities which will benefit from a series of fundraising events throughout the mayoral year.

The following have served as Mayor since the formation of the Borough in 1965 and reflects their status on the council at the time they were elected as Mayor:[8]

  • 1965–66 Alderman Cyril Marsh
  • 1966–67 Councillor Sir Cyril Black (also MP for Wimbledon)
  • 1967–68 Alderman George Pearce
  • 1968–69 Alderman Norman Clarke
  • 1969–70 Councillor Philip Corbishley
  • 1970–71 Councillor Alf Leivers
  • 1971–72 Mr Jim Coombes
  • 1972–73 Councillor Jim Brown
  • 1973–74 Councillor Vera Bonner
  • 1974–75 Councillor Bernard Clifford
  • 1975–76 Councillor Norman Healey
  • 1976–77 Councillor John Watson
  • 1977–78 Alderman Peter Kenyon
  • 1978–79 Councillor George Watt
  • 1979–80 Councillor Ron Haddow JP
  • 1980–81 Councillor Tom Bull
  • 1981–82 Councillor Vincent Talbot
  • 1982–83 Councillor Rothesay Mackenzie
  • 1983–84 Councillor Frank Meakings
  • 1984–85 Councillor Tony Nicholson
  • 1985–86 Councillor Diana Harris
  • 1986–87 Councillor Dennis Taylor
  • 1987–88 Councillor Harold Turner
  • 1988–89 Councillor Allan Jones
  • 1989–90 Councillor Barry Edwards
  • 1990–91 Councillor Joe Abrams OBE
  • 1991–92 Councillor Peter McCabe
  • 1992–93 Councillor Slim Flegg MBE
  • 1993–94 Councillor Marie-Louise de Villiers
  • 1994–95 Councillor Malcolm Searle
  • 1995–96 Councillor Bridget Smith
  • 1996–97 Councillor Slim Flegg MBE
  • 1997–98 Councillor Sheila Knight
  • 1998–99 Councillor Linda Kirby
  • 1999–2000 Councillor Joyce Paton
  • 2000–01 Councillor Ian Munn
  • 2001–02 Councillor Stuart Pickover
  • 2002–03 Councillor Edith Macauley JP
  • 2003–04 Councillor Maxi Martin
  • 2004–05 Councillor Margaret Brierly
  • 2005–06 Councillor Judy Saunders
  • 2006–07 Councillor Geraldine Stanford
  • 2007–08 Councillor John Dehaney
  • 2008–09 Councillor Martin Whelton
  • 2009–10 Councillor Nick Draper
  • 2010–11 Councillor Oonagh Moulton
  • 2011–12 Councillor Gilli Lewis-Lavender
  • 2012–13 Councillor David Williams
  • 2013–14 Councillor Krystal Miller
  • 2014–15 Councillor Agatha Akyigyina
  • 2015–16 Councillor David Chung
  • 2016–17 Councillor Brenda Fraser
  • 2017–18 Councillor Marsie Skeete
  • 2018–19 Councillor Mary Curtin
  • 2019–20 Councillor Janice Howard
  • 2020–21 Councillor Sally Kenny
  • 2021–22 Councillor Mike Brunt
  • 2022- Councillor Joan Henry


  1. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-901050-67-9.
  2. ^ Leach, Steve (1998). Local Government Reorganisation: The Review and its Aftermath. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-0714648590.
  3. ^ "Council Tax and Business Rates Billing Authorities". Council Tax Rates. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Local Plan Responses – within and outside London". Mayor of London. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Merton Park Ward Residents Association". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  6. ^ Services, CS-Democracy (5 May 2022). "Councillors".
  7. ^ "Merton". BBC News Online. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
  8. ^ "London Borough of Merton, Past Mayors of Merton". 23 May 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011.