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 has 55 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.

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

For election results, see Medway Council elections.

Medway Council
Coat of arms or logo
Founded1 April 1998
Mayor of Medway
Cllr Steve Iles, Conservative
since 16 May 2018
Leader of the Council
Cllr Alan Jarrett, Conservative
since 28 May 2016
Chief executive
Neil Davies
since 14 November 2006
Seats55 councillors
Medway Council composition
Political groups
     Conservative (34)
Other Parties
     Labour (15)
     UKIP (1)
     Independent (4)
     Vacant (1)
Length of term
4 years
First past the post
Last election
May 2015
Next election
May 2019
Meeting place
Medway Council, Gun Wharf - - 1024482
Gun Wharf, Chatham


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]


  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.

External links

2011 Medway Council election

The 2011 Medway Council unitary authority election took place on 5 May 2011. The Conservative Party won a majority on the council with 35 Councillors, The Labour Party came second with 15 councillors, and the Liberal Democrats third with 3 councillors. There are 2 independent councillors, There are a total of 55 seats on the council.

2015 Medway Council election

The 2015 Medway Council election took place on 7 May 2015, alongside the 2015 UK General Election. The elections were to elect all 55 seats across 22 wards. The Conservatives held the council, with 36 seats (a majority of 16). The Labour Party has 15 seats, and UKIP has 4.

Following the announcement of the results, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition called for a re-count in Rainham North ward after their candidate received no votes, despite claiming that he had voted for himself; however, the council's returning officer confirmed that the result was correct and no further action could be taken.

2019 Medway Council election

Elections to Medway Council will be held on 2 May 2019 as part of the 2019 United Kingdom local elections. The elections will be to elect all 55 councillors across 22 wards.

A278 road

The A278 (Hoath Way) is a road running north-south in north Kent, England. The whole length of the road is dual carriageway, within Medway Council but is a non-primary route.

Ambley Wood

Ambley Wood is a 14-hectare (35-acre) Local Nature Reserve in Gillingham in Kent. It is owned and managed by Medway Council.The site has ancient woodland with typical woodland flora.There is access from Ambley Road

Baty's Marsh

Baty's Marsh is a 10.4-hectare (26-acre) Local Nature Reserve in Rochester in Kent. It is owned and managed by Medway Council.This is one of the few remaining salt marshes in the Medway area, and it has a rich fauna, especially wading birds.There is access from Manor Lane.

Berengrave Chalk Pit

Berengrave Chalk Pit is a 9.5-hectare (23-acre) Local Nature Reserve in Rainham in Kent. It is owned and managed by Medway Council.There is a small lake in a disused chalk pit, and other habitats are scrub, woodland and reedbeds, which flood an area of willow carr.There is access from Berengrave Lane.


Chattenden is a village within the civil parish of Hoo, which is within the unitary authority of Medway (Medway Council), South East England. It was, until 1998, part of Kent and is still ceremonially associated via the Lieutenancies Act. The A228 goes through the village.

Darland Banks

Darland Banks is a 29.1-hectare (72-acre) Local Nature Reserve on the southern outskirts of Gillingham in Kent. It is owned by Medway Council and managed by Kent Wildlife Trust.This area of grassland, scrub and woodland has diverse fauna and flora, including the largest population of man orchids in Britain. There are birds such as willow warbler, yellowhammer, linnet and lesser whitethroat.There is access from Darland Avenue.

Foxburrow Wood

Foxburrow Wood is a 6.1-hectare (15-acre) Local Nature Reserve in Rainham in Kent. It is owned and managed by Medway Council.This is a remnant of a much larger historic wood, and it has flora which are indicators of ancient woodland such as herb paris and bluebells.There is access from Mierscourt Road.

Greenacre Academy

Greenacre Academy (formerly Greenacre School) is a boys' secondary school and sixth form located in Walderslade in the English county of Kent.It was previously a community school administered by Medway Council, however the school converted to academy status on 1 April 2012 and was renamed Greenacre Academy. The school continues to coordinate with Medway Council for admissions.

Schools within the academy consist of: Greenacre Academy,Walderslade Girls School, Warren Wood Primary Academy, Chantry Community Academy, Hilltop Primary Academy, Kloisters Kindergarten and Pre-School, PGW Sixth Form and Greenacre Sports Partnership.

Greenacre Academy offers GCSEs, BTECs, OCR Nationals and NVQs as programmes of study for pupils. The school also operates a sixth form provision in partnership with Walderslade Girls' School, with students having the option to study from a range of A Levels and further BTECs.

Hoo St Werburgh

Hoo St Werburgh is one of several villages on the Hoo Peninsula to bear the name Hoo, meaning 'spur of land', and is featured in the Domesday Book as Hoe. It constitutes a civil parish within the unitary authority of Medway (Medway Council) in Kent. It was, until 1998, administered by Kent County Council, but is still part of Kent with which it is ceremonially associated via the Lieutenancies Act.. Hoo had a population of 7,356 at the 2001 census, increasing to 8,945 at the 2011 Census. To the west of Hoo is Chattenden which is part of the civil parish.

Kelly Tolhurst

Kelly Jane Tolhurst (born 23 August 1978) is a British Conservative Party politician. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Rochester and Strood since the May 2015 general election. Tolhurst currently serves as Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State) at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She is a former Councillor for the Rochester West ward on Medway Council.

Levan Strice

Levan Strice is a 2.8-hectare (6.9-acre) Local Nature Reserve in Gillingham in Kent. It is owned and managed by Medway Council.This site has ancient woodland.There is access to the site from Thanet Road.


Medway is a conurbation and unitary authority in Kent in the region of South East England. It had a population in 2014 of 274,015. The unitary authority was formed in 1998 when the City of Rochester-upon-Medway amalgamated with Gillingham Borough Council and part of Kent County Council to form Medway Council, a unitary authority independent of Kent County Council.Over half of the unitary authority area is rural in nature. Because of its strategic location by the major crossing of the River Medway, it has made a wide and significant contribution to Kent, and to England, dating back thousands of years, as evident in the siting of Watling Street by the Romans and by the Norman Rochester Castle, Rochester Cathedral (the second oldest in Britain) and the Chatham naval dockyard and its associated defences.

The main towns in the conurbation are (from west to east): Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, and Rainham. These are traditionally known as the Medway Towns. Many smaller towns and villages such as Frindsbury, Brompton, Walderslade, Luton, Wigmore etc., lie within the conurbation. Outside the urban area, the villages retain parish councils. Cuxton, Halling and Wouldham are in the Medway Gap region to the south of Rochester and Strood. Hoo St Werburgh, Cliffe, High Halstow, St Mary Hoo, Allhallows, Stoke and Grain are on the Hoo Peninsula to the north. Frindsbury Extra including Upnor borders Strood.

Medway includes parts of the North Kent Marshes, an environmentally significant wetlands region with several Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Other similar areas of conservation include Ranscombe Farm on chalk grassland and woodland between Strood and Cuxton, with rare woodland flowers and orchids.

Medway is one of the boroughs included in the Thames Gateway development scheme. It is also the home of Universities at Medway, a tri-partite collaboration of the University of Greenwich, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University on a single campus in Chatham, together with the University for the Creative Arts, which has a campus in Rochester.

Medway Council elections

Medway is a unitary authority in Kent, England. It was created on 1 April 1998 replacing Gillingham and Rochester-upon-Medway.

Rochester, Kent

Rochester ( ROTCH-iss-tər) is a town and was a historic city in the unitary authority of Medway in Kent, England. It is at the lowest bridging point of the River Medway about 30 miles (50 km) from London.

Rochester was for many years a favourite of Charles Dickens, who owned nearby Gads Hill Place, Higham, basing many of his novels on the area. The Diocese of Rochester, the second oldest in England, is centred on Rochester Cathedral and was responsible for the founding of a school, now The King's School in 604 AD, which is recognised as being the second oldest continuously running school in the world. Rochester Castle, built by Bishop Gundulf of Rochester, has one of the best preserved keeps in either England or France, and during the First Barons' War (1215–1217) in King John's reign, baronial forces captured the castle from Archbishop Stephen Langton and held it against the king, who then besieged it.Rochester and its neighbours, Chatham and Gillingham, Strood and a number of outlying villages form a single large urban area known as the Medway Towns with a population of about 250,000. These places nowadays make up the Medway Unitary Authority area. It was, until 1998, under the control of Kent County Council and is still part of the ceremonial county of Kent, under the latest Lieutenancies Act.

South Wood

South Wood is a 6.6-hectare (16-acre) Local Nature Reserve in Hempstead, south of Gillingham in Kent. It is owned and managed by Medway Council.This wood was formerly used for timber, and it is now managed as a nature reserve. It has a population of dormice, which are rare in Britain and the rest of Europe.There is access from Lamplighters Close.

Walderslade Girls' School

Walderslade Girls' School is a secondary school and sixth form for girls located in Walderslade in the English county of Kent.It was previously a community school administered by Medway Council, however the school was converted to academy status on 1 April 2012. Walderslade Girls' School continues to coordinate with Medway Council for admissions.

From the summer of 2018 Walderslade Girls school joined the Greenacre Academic trust.

Schools within the academy consist of: Greenacre Academy,Walderslade Girls School, Warren Wood Primary Academy, Chantry Community Academy, Hilltop Primary Academy, Kloisters Kindergarten and Pre-School, PGW Sixth Form and Greenacre Sports Partnership.

Walderslade Girls' School offers GCSEs and BTECs as programmes of study for pupils. The school also operates a sixth form provision in partnership with Greenacre Academy, with students having the option to study from a range of A Levels and further BTECs.

Local elections
Local authorities in Kent
County council and unitary
District councils

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