West Berkshire Council
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West Berkshire Council
|Founded||1 April 1974|
Chair of the Council
Rick Jones, Conservative
since 10 May 2022
Leader of the Council
Lynne Doherty, Conservative
since 24 May 2019
Deputy Leader of the Council
Graham Bridgman, Conservative
Leader of the Opposition
Lee Dillon, Liberal Democrat
since 18 October 2021
Length of term
|2 May 2019|
|Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury|
|West Berkshire Council|
West Berkshire Council is the local authority of West Berkshire in Berkshire, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. West Berkshire is divided into 30 wards, electing 52 councillors. The council was created by the Local Government Act 1972 as the Newbury District Council and replaced five local authorities: Bradfield Rural District Council, Hungerford Rural District Council, Newbury Borough Council, Newbury Rural District Council and Wantage Rural District Council. On 1 April 1998 it was renamed West Berkshire Council and since then has been a unitary authority, assuming the powers and functions of Berkshire County Council within the district. In the 2015 election the Conservatives won 48 out of 52 seats. In 2019, they won 24 out of 43 seats, losing half of their councillors.
The council was formed by the Local Government Act 1972 as the Newbury District Council. It replaced Bradfield Rural District Council, Hungerford Rural District Council, Newbury Borough Council, Newbury Rural District Council and Wantage Rural District Council. The current local authority was first elected in 1973, a year before formally coming into its powers and prior to the creation of the District of Newbury on 1 April 1974.
It was envisaged through the Local Government Act 1972 that Newbury as a non-metropolitan district council would share power with Berkshire County Council. This arrangement lasted until 1998 when Berkshire County Council was abolished and the renamed Newbury District Council, now West Berkshire Council, gained responsibility for services that had been provided by the county council.
West Berkshire Council is elected every four years, with, currently, 43 councillors being elected at each election. From the first election to the unitary authority in 1997 to the 2003 election the Liberal Democrats had a majority and they then kept control with the chairman's casting vote until 2005.
In 2005 the Conservative party gained a majority, which they have held since.
In the 2019 United Kingdom local elections the Conservatives lost councillors, though retaining their majority, whilst the Liberal Democrats made significant gains and the Green Party also made gains.
The council composition is:
|Leader of the Council
Portfolio Holder for District Strategy and Communications
|Lynne Doherty||Newbury Speen|
|Deputy Leader of the Council
Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing
|Graham Bridgman||Burghfield & Mortimer|
|Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care||Joanne Stewart||Tilehurst Birch Copse|
|Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education||Dominic Boeck||Aldermaston|
|Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transformation||Steve Ardagh-Walter||Thatcham Colthrop & Crookham|
|Portfolio Holder for Finance and Economic Development||Ross Mackinnon||Bradfield|
|Portfolio Holder for Internal Governance and Strategic Partnerships||Thomas Marino||Tilehurst & Purley|
|Portfolio Holder for Housing, Leisure and Culture||Howard Woollaston||Lambourn|
|Portfolio Holder for Planning, Transport and Countryside||Richard Somner||Tilehurst South & Holybrook|