Merton London Borough Council
Merton London Borough Council
Coat of arms
Mayor of Merton
Cllr Sally Kenny, Labour
since September 2020
Leader of the Council
Cllr Mark Allison, Labour
since November 2020
since March 2004
|Majority Party (34)
|First past the post|
|3 May 2018|
|5 May 2022|
|Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden|
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.
It was envisaged, in accordance with the London Government Act 1963, that 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.
Powers and functions
The local authority derives its powers and functions from the London Government Act 1963 and subsequent legislation. Merton has the powers and functions of a London borough council. It is a billing authority collecting Council Tax and business rates, it processes local planning applications, and it is responsible for housing, waste collection and environmental health. It is a local education authority, responsible for social services, libraries and waste disposal. The council shares responsibility with the Greater London Authority for strategic policies including housing, planning and the environment.
Merton London Borough Council is the billing authority for Council Tax, and collects precepts on behalf of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority the Greater London Authority and Transport for London.
Political background of the council
Merton is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors. The political voting patterns in Merton broadly follow the geographical divide between Merton's two UK Parliament constituencies.
The western Wimbledon constituency, which is held by Conservative MP Stephen Hammond, contains ten wards and generally elects Conservative councillors, of which there are presently 17. Since 1990, the ward of Merton Park has only ever returned councillors for Merton Park Ward Residents Association. Since 1994, the ward of West Barnes, which contains Merton's half of the town of Motspur Park, has swung between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats; the latter presently hold all three seats in the ward. In the local elections in 2018, Liberal Democrat councillors were elected in the wards of Trinity and Dundonald for the first time in the borough's history, bringing the party's seat numbers to a record of six seats. Furthermore, the wards of Abbey and Cannon Hill routinely return Labour councillors.
Since 1964 political control of the council has been held by the following parties:
|Party in control||Years|
|No overall control||1964–1968|
|No overall control||1989–1990|
|No overall control||2006–2014|
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- Mark Allison (Labour)
Stephen Alambritis announced his intention to stand down as Leader of Merton Council on 18th November 2020 during the Full Council meeting of 16th September 2020. His successor has been named as current Deputy leader Mark Allison.
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:
- 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- Councillor Sally Kenny
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- Leach, Steve (1998). Local Government Reorganisation: The Review and its Aftermath. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-0714648590.
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