Cheshire West and Chester is a unitary authority with borough status in the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It was established on 1 April 2009 as part of the 2009 local government changes, by virtue of an order under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. It superseded the boroughs of Ellesmere Port and Neston and Vale Royal and the City of Chester; its council assumed the functions and responsibilities of the former Cheshire County Council within its area. The remainder of ceremonial Cheshire is composed of Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington.
The decision to create the Cheshire West and Chester unitary authority was announced on 25 July 2007 following a consultation period, in which a proposal to create a single Cheshire unitary authority was rejected.
Cheshire West and Chester
Cheshire West and Chester shown within Cheshire
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||North West England|
|Established||1 April 2009|
|Administrative locations||Chester |
|• Type||Unitary authority|
|• Body||Cheshire West and Chester Council|
|• Governance||Leader and cabinet|
|• Chief Executive||Andrew Lewis|
|• Total||353.9 sq mi (916.7 km2)|
|Elevation||745 ft (227 m)|
|• Density||950/sq mi (368/km2)|
|• No religion||22.0%|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (British Summer Time)|
|Dialling codes||01244 (Chester)|
01477 (Holmes Chapel)
|ISO 3166 code||GB-CHW|
|Vehicle registration prefix||D|
|NUTS 3 code||UKD63|
|Motorways||M6, M53, M56|
|Primary routes||A41, A49, A51, A54, A55, A56, A483, A494, A530, A533, A534, A550, A556, A5115, A5116, A5117, A5268|
|Major railway stations||Chester (B)|
|GVA (2013)||£7.567bn (56th) 2.25%|
|- Per capita||£22,860 (37th) 1.99%|
|MPs||Chris Matheson (L)|
Antoinette Sandbach (C)
Justin Madders (L)
Esther McVey (C)
Mike Amesbury (L)
|European Parliament||North West England|
|Ambulance service||North West|
In line with every other district in Cheshire, the cabinet (formerly 'the executive' between 2009 and 2015) is composed of elected councillors. From its establishment in 2009, Cheshire West and Chester was governed by the Conservative Party, with Mike Jones as leader. Since the 2015 elections it has been governed by the Labour Party, with Samantha Dixon becoming the first female leader of the council upon taking office.
The leader presently oversees a cabinet of eight, with each member holding a specific portfolio. Opposition parties can also elect to appoint shadow cabinet members, though they have no executive power.
All councillors vote to appoint a chairman for the following municipal year (May) at the council AGM. Traditionally, this role was combined with that of the apolitical and ceremonial Lord Mayor of Chester, but in 2015 these roles were separated and the role of chairman was politicised.
The cabinet is scrutinised by one general committee and four district committees made up of councillors, which replaced six dedicated scrutiny committees for different topics in May 2015.
Upon its establishment in 2009, Cheshire West and Chester Council inherited a number of buildings from the local authorities it replaced in every town in the borough. However, despite Cheshire County Council vacating its headquarters (County Hall, Chester), the new authority spent £21 million purchasing and furbishing a new headquarters, also in Chester. The former County Hall was later sold to the University of Chester, who now use it as a campus, for £10 million.
The annual meeting of the council takes place at Chester Town Hall, on the same night as the investiture of the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Chester. Other meetings of the full council are held at Wyvern House in Winsford, where the council chamber formerly used by Vale Royal Borough Council was changed to increase the seating capacity for councillors. Other than district or area meetings, most committee meetings, including the Cabinet and Planning, take place at the HQ building in Chester.
The first elections to the authority took place on 1 May 2008, with the electoral wards being the same as those used in the former Cheshire County Council elections, each ward electing three councillors. There were twenty-four wards in total, meaning that seventy-two councillors were elected.
An electoral review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England was put into effect prior to the 2011 elections, meaning that three additional councillors were created, making a total of seventy-five in the borough. The ward boundaries were also comprehensively re-drawn, with their number being increased by twenty-two to forty-six. The new wards were mostly single-member wards, with two and three-member wards for the more populous areas.
|Last election||By-elections||Next election|
|2019 (all-out)||2023 (all-out)|
There are ninety-seven parish councils in the borough, despite there being a total of 166 civil parishes before a community governance review was undertaken by the borough council in 2014 under section 82 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.
|Constituency||Member of Parliament||Political party||Year first elected||Notes||Website||Parliamentary profile|
|City of Chester||Chris Matheson||Labour Party||2015||Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)||Website||Profile|
|Eddisbury||Antoinette Sandbach||Conservative Party||2015||Website||Profile|
|Ellesmere Port and Neston||Justin Madders||Labour Party||2015||Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), (Health and Social Care)||Website||Profile|
|Tatton||The Rt Hon. Esther McVey||Conservative Party||2017
|Weaver Vale||Mike Amesbury||Labour Party||2017||Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions), (Employment)||Website||Profile|
|Election||2005[Note 5]||2010[Note 6]||2015||2017|
|City of Chester||Christine Russell||Stephen Mosley||Chris Matheson|
|Eddisbury||The Rt Hon. Stephen O'Brien||Antoinette Sandbach|
|Ellesmere Port and Neston||Andrew Miller||Justin Madders|
|Tatton||The Rt Hon. George Osborne CH||The Rt Hon. Esther McVey|
|Weaver Vale||Mike Hall||Graham Evans||Mike Amesbury|
Current MPs are highlighted in bold.
|Last election||By-elections||Next election|
|2017||2022 (or earlier)|
Cheshire West and Chester forms part of the North West England constituency, which elects eight members to the European Parliament using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation. The remaining length of their mandate is unclear after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in the membership referendum held in June 2016.
|Constituency||Member of the European Parliament||National political party||European political party||European Parliament group||Year first elected[Note 2]||Website||Parliamentary profile|
|North West England||Jane Brophy||Liberal Democrats||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party||Renew Europe||2019||Website||Profile|
|David Bull||Brexit Party||None||Non-Inscrits||2019||Website||Profile|
|Chris Davies||Liberal Democrats||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party||Renew Europe||1999
|Gina Dowding||Green Party of England and Wales||European Green Party||The Greens - European Free Alliance||2019||Profile|
|Claire Fox||Brexit Party||None||Non-Inscrits||2019||Profile|
|Theresa Griffin||Labour Party||Party of European Socialists||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats||2014||Website||Profile|
|Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen||Brexit Party||None||Non-Inscrits||2019||Profile|
|Julie Ward||Labour Party||Party of European Socialists||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats||2014||Website||Profile|
|Last election||Next election|
In line with nearly every local government district in England and Wales, the majority of the population describe themselves as 'white'. The exact figure - 97.5% - is comparable with metropolitan counties such as Merseyside, non-metropolitan counties such as Cumbria and principal areas throughout Wales. This would suggest that the figure is not a significant outlier nationwide.
The next largest ethnic group in the borough is Asian, who along with other ethnic minorities are supported by the Cheshire Asian & Minority Communities Council, a registered charity headquartered in Chester.
|2011 United Kingdom Census|
|Country of birth||Population|
The majority of the population of Cheshire West and Chester is British-born, with the percentage standing at 95.1% (2011), a figure significantly above that of the UK as a whole (88.7%, 2010). The largest overseas nationality is Polish, which is significant because of the World War II U.S. military base and subsequent Polish refugee camp in Cuddington.
The overwhelming main religion in Cheshire West and Chester is Christianity, with a percentage figure above the average for England and Wales (59.3%, 2011). The single largest church is the Church of England, with the borough being served by the Chester Archdeaconry, with six deaneries and an average of twenty parish churches in each deanery. Roman Catholicism also has a significant presence across the borough, with all its churches located in the Diocese of Shrewsbury.
Methodist churches in the borough form groups averaging ten, known as 'circuits' (the four in Cheshire West and Chester are all part of the Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District). More marginal churches include Assemblies of God, Baptist Union, Elim Pentecostal, United Reformed and the English Presbyterian Church of Wales in Chester.
Aside from churches, there are two mosques in Cheshire West and Chester - one each in Chester and Ellesmere Port - which were subjected to property theft and racially aggravated disorder respectively in 2014.
There are no passenger airports in the borough (a grass airfield exists in Little Budworth), with the nearest being Liverpool and Manchester which licensed vehicles provide transport to. Airbus' fleet of A300-600ST Beluga transporter aircraft are based at Hawarden Airport in neighbouring Flintshire, adjacent to their wing manufacturing facility.
Three disused railways in the borough have been converted to off-road cycleways, including:
The Shropshire Union Canal towpath between Waverton and the National Waterways Museum is paved with asphalt and is a shared-use route between cyclists and pedestrians, for a distance of 12.5 miles. Between Tarvin Bridge and Blacon Avenue, it is also lit.
In 2009, Chester was awarded the status of 'Cycling Town' by Cycling England. To reflect this, a series of colour-coded signposted routes around the city were devised in 2012. The total length of new signposted routes created by the project was thirty-eight miles, bringing the overall total in the borough to 312.5. The total funding received from the cycling town project, which ended in 2011 when Cycling England was disbanded, was £4.4 million. A similar network of over thirty miles of cycle routes branded the Ellesmere Port Grenway has been proposed by the town's development board.
Chester has four park and ride sites located adjacent to radial routes on the city's outskirts (Boughton Heath, Sealand Road, Upton and Wrexham Road) running on two lines which intersect at Chester Bus Interchange. A fifth site is proposed near Hoole Village.
|Chester Park and Ride services|
|Route||Terminus||Intermediate stop||Chester city centre||Intermediate stop||Terminus|
|Blue (PR1)||Upton (Zoo)||Countess of Chester Hospital||Delamere Street||Chester Bus Interchange||Foregate Street||Pepper Street||Grosvenor Road||Wrexham Road|
|Green (PR2)||Sealand Road||Sealand Road (Greyhound Park)||Canal Street||Boughton||Boughton Heath|
Chester is the hub of the railway network in the borough, with around 4.7 million passengers annually. Passenger numbers doubled to this figure in the ten years to 2015, making the station the eighth-busiest in North West England. Railway lines (and their associated franchise(s)) in the borough - not necessarily connecting to Chester - include:
Direct services between Chester and Liverpool Lime Street are proposed to run via the Halton Curve once it is upgraded to allow trains to run in both directions and therefore allow regular services to run in 2018. Work began on the upgrade in July 2017.
The Crewe North Rolling Stock Depot serving High Speed Two is proposed to be built in the civil parish of Stanthorne and Wimboldsley. The line itself enters the borough in that location and leaves it again near the A556/A559 junction at Lostock Gralam.
Motorways and primary routes in the borough which are maintained by Highways England (trunk roads de jure) include the M6, M53, M56, A55, A483, A494, A550 and a short section of the A41 in Hooton. Other primary routes which are maintained by the council (principal roads de jure) include the A41, A49, A51, A54, A56, A483, A530, A533, A534, A556, A5115, A5116, A5117 and A5268.
Chester and Ellesmere Port - both primary route destinations - form the hub of the road network in Cheshire West and Chester, with routes of national importance carrying traffic in all directions to locations including Flintshire, Halton, Wirral and Wrexham.
European Route E05 is routed via the M6, carrying international traffic between Scotland, North West England, the West Midlands and France via Southampton. European route E22 is routed via the A494 and M56, carrying international traffic between Ireland (the route in fact begins at the Port of Holyhead), North Wales, North West England, Yorkshire and the Netherlands. Both routes meet at Lymm Interchange, which lies in neighbouring Cheshire East.
Three Roman roads exist in Cheshire West and Chester, Two originating in Chester (Deva Victrix) and running to Northwich (Condate) and Whitchurch (Mediolanum) respectively. The Roman road of kings street in Northwich which runs from Middlewich to Warrington.
Three local MPs - Graham Evans, Justin Madders and Chris Matheson - raised safety concerns about the M56 between J12 and J14 in parliament after more than one hundred-and-sixty incidents were recorded since 2011. In response, Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, confirmed that an upgrade to smart motorway will only take place after 2020.
Navigable waterways in the borough include the Manchester Ship Canal, Shropshire Union Canal, Trent and Mersey Canal and the Weaver Navigation, the latter two being connected together by the Anderton Boat Lift near Northwich, the only caisson lift lock in the United Kingdom.
|Accessible open space|
|Museum (free/not free)|
There is only one full-time professional football club in the borough - Chester FC - who play in the National League. Northwich has four semi-professional teams - Barnton, Northwich Victoria, Witton Albion and 1874 Northwich - all of whom play in regional leagues. Winsford is also represented in the non-league pyramid by Winsford United.
Below level ten of the English football league system are county-wide amateur leagues, with two covering the geographic area of the borough - the Cheshire Association Football League and West Cheshire Association Football League. Although several clubs are members of the former, many more compete in the latter - most notably Vauxhall Motors, who de-professionalised themselves in 2014. Below that is the Chester & Wirral Football League, and also the Mid-Cheshire district leagues who cater for the areas of knutsford, Northwich, Middlewich and Winsford where teams representing neighbourhoods/villages and/or pubs/social clubs ('pub teams') compete.
Whilst the borough per se does not have any twinning agreements, several of its settlements have agreements predating its creation in 2009, listed below:
|Upton by Chester||Arradon|
The 2011 elections to Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council were the first elections to this Council after it had been re-warded into a mixture of single-, two- and three-member wards. They took place on 5th May alongside the 2011 United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum. The previous election held for 2008 were based on the old Cheshire County Council electoral divisions each of which returned 3 members. The 2008 elections elected 72 members to serve first on the shadow authority and then, with effect from 1 April 2009, the new Council when it took over responsibility for the delivery of local government services.
Given the re-warding that took place in time for the 2011 elections, direct comparisons between the 2008 and 2011 results are problematic. Superficially the 2011 results give the impression of a dramatic swing to Labour when compared with the 2008 results—however, this is misleading. In 2008 the Labour Party was particularly unpopular, with the local government elections taking place shortly after the '10p tax rate' had been abolished, plunging Labour support to a particular low. This unpopularity, coupled with the then large electoral wards electing 3 councillors per ward, and the first-past-the-post system, very much favoured the then leading party in the opinion polls—the Conservatives—who, in 2008, won a much greater majority than had otherwise been predicted.
The 2011 elections with the re-warding took place one year into the national Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition at a time when support for the Liberal Democrats was at a particular low. Nationally Labour's support had rallied considerably when compared with 2008.
Before the elections in 2011 the majority Conservative party suffered a small number of defections principally almost certainly associated with existing councillors failing to be selected by the party to fight the seat of their choice.
As noted above the Conservatives had reduced in number from 55 to 50 through resignations, defections and withdrawal of the party whip associated with the processes for selection of candidates to fight the 2011 election.
Four political groups that had unsuccessfully put forward candidates in 2008, did not do so in 2011. Several deselected Conservatives stood without the party whip, but there were no other independent candidates.Agden, Cheshire West and Chester
Agden is a small civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It is the site of Agden Hall. The parish has a parish meeting rather than a parish council. It has a population of 42.Buerton, Cheshire West and Chester
Buerton is a former civil parish, now in the parish of Aldford and Saighton, in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 22. The civil parish was abolished in 2015 to form Aldford and Saighton.Cheshire West and Chester Council
Cheshire West and Chester Council is the local authority of Cheshire West and Chester. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. It provides a full range of local government services including Council Tax billing, libraries, social services, processing planning applications, waste collection and disposal, and it is a local education authority. The council was first elected on 1 May 2008, a year before coming into its legal powers on 1 April 2009. After an election in May 2019, no party holds overall control.Cheshire West and Chester Council elections
Cheshire West and Chester is a unitary authority in Cheshire, England. It was created on 1 April 2009 replacing Chester, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Vale Royal and Cheshire County Council.Chorlton, Cheshire West and Chester
Chorlton is a civil parish in the Borough of Cheshire West and Chester and ceremonial county of Cheshire in England. It has a population of 68, increasing to 124 at the 2011 census. The main settlement in the parish is Chorlton Lane.Churton, Cheshire
Churton is a village and civil parish in the Cheshire West and Chester district, in the county of Cheshire, England. The civil parish was formed from the parishes of Churton by Aldford, Churton by Farndon and Edgerley in 2015.Eaton, Cheshire West and Chester
Eaton is a former civil parish, now in the parishes of Eaton and Eccleston and Poulton and Pulford, within the borough of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire in England. It had a population of 51 in 2001.It is most notable for containing Eaton Hall, home of the Duke of Westminster.
In 2015 the parish was merged with the adjacent parish Eccleston to form a new combined parish, Eaton and Eccleston, part also went to Poulton and Pulford.Hatton, Cheshire West and Chester
Hatton is a former civil parish, now in the parishes of Hargrave and Huxley, Golborne David and Tattenhall and District, in the Cheshire West and Chester district, and ceremonial county of Cheshire in England. In 2001 it had a population of 120, increasing to 198 at the 2011 Census. The parish included most of the village of Hatton Heath. The civil parish was abolished in 2015 and became part of Hargrave and Huxley, Golborne David and Tattenhall and District.Hatton Hall moated site is an ancient monument and dates to c.1200. The moat surrounds an island of approximately 60m x 55m upon which stood the hall, a quadrangular structure of timber. The hall was replaced by the present farm house c.1830 and a sandstone revetted causeway was constructed in the early 19th century. These are both Grade II Listed Buildings.Lea Newbold
Lea Newbold is a former civil parish, now in the parish of Aldford and Saighton, in the Borough of Cheshire West and Chester and ceremonial county of Cheshire in England. In 2001 it has a population of 8. The civil parish was abolished in 2015 to form Aldford and Saighton.List of Cheshire settlements by population
This is a list of settlements in Cheshire by population based on the results of the 2011 census. The next United Kingdom census will take place in 2021. In 2011, there were 25 built-up area subdivisions with 5,000 or more inhabitants in Cheshire, shown in the table below.List of schools in Cheshire West and Chester
This is a list of schools in Cheshire West and Chester, a unitary authority in Cheshire, England.Moston, Cheshire West and Chester
Moston is a small village and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It is situated in the north east of Chester, close to the Shropshire Union Canal and the A41 trunk road between Chester and Birkenhead. At the 2001 Census, Moston had a population of 680, falling to 642 at the 2011 Census.Including the hamlet of The Dale, Moston was a township in St. Mary on the Hill Parish of the Broxton Hundred. The population was 14 in 1801, 14 in 1851, 51 in 1901 and 850 in 1951.Moston combines with Upton-by-Chester and Bache ('The Bache') to form a joint parish council.Newton by Malpas
Newton by Malpas is a former civil parish, now in the parish of Malpas, in the Cheshire West and Chester district and ceremonial county of Cheshire in England. In 2001 it had a population of 11. The civil parish was abolished in 2015 and merged into Malpas.Oldcastle, Cheshire
Oldcastle is a former civil parish, now in the parishes of Malpas and Threapwood, in the Cheshire West and Chester district and ceremonial county of Cheshire in England. In 2001 it had a population of 54. The civil parish was abolished in 2015 and merged into Malpas and Threapwood.Stoak
Stoak is a small village and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester; and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England.
Within the parish, to the west of the village is the intersection of the M53 and M56 Motorways, and to its east the Shropshire Union Canal.
The population of the parish as taken at the 2011 census was 171.
The name of the parish was changed from the previous Stoke after a review of town and parish councils in the Cheshire West and Chester unitary authority. The parish should not be confused with a different Cheshire parish called Stoke, in Cheshire East.
The parish church in the village, St Lawrence's Church, is a Grade II* listed building.Stockton, Cheshire
Stockton is a former civil parish, now in the parish of Malpas, in the Cheshire West and Chester district and ceremonial county of Cheshire in England. In 2001 it had a population of 21. The civil parish was abolished in 2015 and merged into Malpas.Stretton, Cheshire West and Chester
Stretton is a civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. The small, rural parish includes the hamlets of Stretton and Wetreins Green (pronounced Wetrens or Wet-er-ans). The parish also includes Stretton Hall, Stretton Lower Hall, Stretton Old Hall, and also the working museum Stretton Watermill.Stretton means "settlement on a Roman Road" (from the Old English stræt and tun). In this case the road ran Whitchurch (Shropshire) to Chester.Sutton Weaver (civil parish)
Sutton Weaver (formerly just Sutton) is a civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, in the north west of England. The population taken at the 2011 census was 495.It lies to the north east of Frodsham and contains the village of Sutton Weaver.
The parish was renamed in April 2015 after a review of town and parish councils in the Cheshire West and Chester unitary authority. At the same time a small amount of land in the west of the parish was given up to Frodsham. The parish should not be confused with a different Cheshire parish called Sutton, in Cheshire East.
|Ward||Civil parishes[Note 3] and unparished areas||House of Commons constituency||Map (Ward)|
|Blacon||Chester||City of Chester|
|Guilden Sutton||City of Chester|
|Mickle Trafford and District||Ellesmere Port and Neston|
|Davenham and Moulton||Bostock|
|Dodleston and Huntington||Dodleston||City of Chester|
|Eaton and Eccleston|
|Poulton and Pulford|
|Ellesmere Port Town||Ellesmere Port||Ellesmere Port and Neston|
|Aldford and Saighton||City of Chester|
|Aldford and Saighton||Eddisbury|
|Shocklach Oviatt and District|
|Garden Quarter||Chester||City of Chester|
|Ashton Hayes and Horton-cum-Peel||Eddisbury|
|Dunham-on-the-Hill and Hapsford|
|Grange||Ellesmere Port||Ellesmere Port and Neston|
|Great Boughton||Great Boughton||City of Chester|
|Hartford and Greenbank||Hartford||Weaver Vale|
|Hoole||Chester||City of Chester|
|Lache||Chester||City of Chester|
|Ledsham and Manor||Ellesmere Port||Ellesmere Port and Neston|
|Little Neston and Burton||Neston|
|Puddington||City of Chester|
|No Man's Heath and District|
|Tushingham-cum-Grindley, Macefen and Bradley|
|Marbury||Anderton with Marbury||Tatton|
|Neston||Neston||Ellesmere Port and Neston|
|Newton||Chester||City of Chester|
|Parkgate||Neston||Ellesmere Port and Neston|
|Saughall and Mollington||Backford||City of Chester|
|Saughall and Shotwick Park|
|St Paul's||Ellesmere Port||Ellesmere Port and Neston|
|Tarvin and Kelsall||Clotton Hoofield|
|Delamere and Oakmere|
|Duddon and Burton|
|Hargrave and Huxley|
|Tattenhall and District|
|Tiverton and Tilstone Fearnall|
|Upton||Bache||City of Chester|
|Weaver and Cuddington||Acton Bridge||Weaver Vale|
|Whitby||Ellesmere Port||Ellesmere Port and Neston|
|Willaston and Thornton||Ellesmere Port|
|Winnington and Castle||Northwich||Weaver Vale|
|Winsford Over and Verdin||Whitegate and Marton|
|Winsford Swanlow and Dene||Darnhall|
|Winsford Wharton||Stanthorne and Wimboldsley|
|Witton and Rudheath||Northwich||Weaver Vale|
|Motorways||A roads||B roads|
Neighbouring ceremonial/preserved counties and principal areas