Wiltshire Council

Wiltshire Council is a council for the unitary authority of Wiltshire (excluding the separate UA of Swindon) in South West England, created in 2009. It is the successor authority to Wiltshire County Council (1889–2009) and the four district councils of Kennet, North Wiltshire, Salisbury, and West Wiltshire, all of which were created in 1974 and abolished in 2009.

Wiltshire Council
Wiltshire Council logo
Type
Type
History
Founded1 April 2009[a]
Preceded byWiltshire County Council
Leadership
Chair of the Council
Cllr James Sheppard
since 21 May 2019
Leader of the Council
Structure
Seats98 councillors
Wiltshire Council composition
Political groups
Administration
     Conservative (65)
Other parties
     Liberal Democrat (20)
     Independent (9)
     Labour (3)
     Vacant (1)
Length of term
4 years
Elections
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2017
Next election
6 May 2021
Meeting place
County Hall at Trowbridge
County Hall, Trowbridge
Website
wiltshire.gov.uk

Establishment of the unitary authority

The ceremonial county of Wiltshire consists of two unitary authority areas, Wiltshire and Swindon, administered respectively by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council. Before 2009, Wiltshire was administered as a non-metropolitan county by Wiltshire County Council, with four districts, Kennet, North Wiltshire, Salisbury, and West Wiltshire. Swindon, in the north of the county, had been a separate unitary authority since 1997, and on 5 December 2007 the Government announced that the rest of Wiltshire would move to unitary status. This was later put into effect by a statutory instrument as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England.

With the abolition of the District of Salisbury, a new Salisbury City Council was created at the same time to carry out several citywide functions and to hold the City's charter.

Functions

The unitary authority provides local government services to 435,000 Wiltshire residents and is also the biggest employer in Wiltshire, being responsible for schools, social services, rubbish collection and disposal, county roads, planning, and leisure services.

Most executive decisions are taken by the authority's cabinet, each member of which has a particular area of responsibility. Development control is undertaken by five planning committees, the powers of which cannot be exercised by the cabinet. Members of the authority are appointed to a wide range of outside bodies, providing them with some element of democratic accountability, such as the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, the Wiltshire Victoria County History, and the Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust.

Political balance

As a result of the first elections to the new authority, plus two by-elections held in September 2009 and December 2010, an Independent joining UKIP while remaining in the Independent group,[1] a defection in May 2012 by a Liberal Democrat councillor to the Conservatives,[2] and in November 2012 by another Lib Dem and a Conservative to the Independents,[3] by the beginning of 2013 Wiltshire Council consisted of 61 Conservatives, 22 Liberal Democrats, ten Independents including one UKIP member, three Devizes Guardians, and two Labour members.

The elections of 2013 produced an unexpected swing to the Liberal Democrats, who made a net gain of five seats, while all three Devizes Guardians lost their seats to the Conservatives and the Labour group increased from two to four. The overall result was 58 Conservatives, 27 Liberals, eight Independents, four Labour, and one UKIP member.[4] However, during the following year four Liberal Democrats defected from their political group: one to the Conservatives and three to the Independents. In a by-election in May 2015 at Chippenham Hardenhuish the Conservatives gained a seat from the Liberal Democrats, and in November they gained another at Salisbury St Edmund, then at a by-election in May 2016 the Liberal Democrats gained Amesbury East from the Conservatives.

The 2017 election resulted in the Conservatives increasing their share of seats at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, Independents, Labour and UKIP.

Political group Councillors
2009 2013 2017 Current[5]
Conservative 62 58 68 65
Liberal Democrat 24 27 20 20
Independent 7 8 7 9
Labour 2 4 3 3
Devizes Guardians 3 0 0 0
UK Independence Party 0 1 0 0
Total 98 98 98 97
1 vacancy

County Hall

Wiltshire Council operates from the same Trowbridge base as the old Wiltshire County Council. In 2012 the County Hall building was renovated and developed at a cost of about £24 million. The remodelled New County Hall includes benefits services and housing advice, the Trowbridge library, the town's Register Office, and a cafe.[6][7][8]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ County council gained unitary authority functions.
  2. ^ Leader of Wiltshire County Council from 2003.

References

  1. ^ Explanation by Cllr Cuthbert Murray at westburytownforums.co.uk that he is both a UKIP member and an Independent
  2. ^ "Wiltshire councillor joins Conservatives". ConservativeHome. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  3. ^ Gerald Isaaman, Councillor Peggy Dow quits the Lib-Dems as they suffer election humiliation at the polls (marlboroughnewsonline.co.uk)
  4. ^ Election results at Wiltshire Council website
  5. ^ "Your Councillors". Wiltshire Council. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Wiltshire Council's £22 million HQ is officially opened". Wiltshire Times. 1 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Peek at £24m Wiltshire County Hall revamp (From Wiltshire Times)". Wiltshiretimes.co.uk. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Trowbridge County Hall Redevelopment – Integral". Integral-engineering.co.uk. Retrieved 30 September 2013.

External links

Coordinates: 51°19′01″N 2°12′36″W / 51.317°N 2.210°W

1989 Wiltshire County Council election

Elections to Wiltshire County Council were held on 4 May 1989. The whole council was up for election and the result was no overall control.

1997 Wiltshire County Council election

Elections to Wiltshire County Council were held on 1 May 1997. The whole council was up for election and the result was no overall control, with the Conservatives as the largest party.

As with other county elections in England, these local elections in Wiltshire took place on the same day as the 1997 United Kingdom general election.

1999 West Wiltshire District Council election

Elections to West Wiltshire District Council were held on 6 May 1999. The whole council was up for election and the Liberal Democrats held their overall control, winning twenty-seven seats while the Conservatives took ten, Independents four and the Labour Party two.

Three single-member wards, Ethandune, Melksham Roundpond, and Westbrook, had only one candidate in each case and thus were uncontested.

2001 Wiltshire County Council election

Elections to Wiltshire County Council were held on 7 June 2001. The whole council was up for election and the Conservatives held onto control.As with other county elections in England, these local elections in Wiltshire took place on the same day as the 2001 United Kingdom general election.

2003 West Wiltshire District Council election

Elections to West Wiltshire District Council were held on 1 May 2003. The whole council was up for election and the Liberal Democrats lost their majority, leaving the council with no overall control.

Many wards had boundary changes, and some were new. None were uncontested.

2005 Wiltshire County Council election

Elections to Wiltshire County Council were held on 5 May 2005, with the whole council up for election. They proved to be the last to the original county council, as the elections four years later were the first to its successor, the new Wiltshire Council unitary authority.

Most electoral divisions had boundary changes, and several were new, including three new two-member divisions, in Salisbury and Trowbridge.

As with other county elections in England, these local elections in Wiltshire took place on the same day as the 2005 United Kingdom general election. The previous 2001 Wiltshire Council election, had also coincided with the 2001 general election.

The result was that the Conservatives held onto control.

2007 North Wiltshire District Council election

Elections to North Wiltshire District Council were held on 3 May 2007. The whole council was up for election, and the Conservatives gained overall control, winning thirty-nine of the fifty-four seats available.This was the last election of district councillors to take place in North Wiltshire. The following year, a government review of local government determined that the four district councils of Wiltshire were to be merged with Wiltshire County Council to form a new unitary authority with effect from 1 April 2009, when North Wiltshire would be abolished and its councillors' term of office would end two years early.

Elections to the new unitary authority, Wiltshire Council, took place in June 2009.

2007 West Wiltshire District Council election

Elections to West Wiltshire District Council were held on 3 May 2007. The whole council was up for election and the Conservatives took control.

Most wards had boundary changes or were new. One ward, Shearwater, was uncontested.

Of the 44 new members, 21 were not members of the outgoing council.

The district councillors were elected on 3 May 2007 for a four-year term of office, but a review of local government determined in 2008 that the four district councils of Wiltshire should be merged with Wiltshire County Council to form a new unitary authority for Wiltshire with effect from 1 April 2009, when the district councillors' term of office would end. The county council was treated as a "continuing authority", and elections to the new Wiltshire Council unitary council took place in June 2009.

2009 Wiltshire Council election

Elections to Wiltshire Council, a new unitary authority, were held on 4 June 2009.

The whole council of ninety-eight members was up for election, with each member to be elected in a single-member electoral division. None of the new electoral divisions was identical to any of the divisions or wards of the council's predecessors, Wiltshire County Council and the four district councils within its area, Kennet, North Wiltshire, Salisbury and West Wiltshire.

As with other county elections in England, these local elections in Wiltshire took place on the same day as the European elections of 2009. The 2005 Wiltshire County Council election, the last to the old county council, coincided with the general election of 2005, and the county elections of 1997 and 2001 had also coincided with general elections.

2013 Wiltshire Council election

Elections to the Wiltshire Council unitary authority took place on 2 May 2013. All ninety-eight seats were up for election, with each councillor being elected in a single-member electoral division, although in six of the divisions only one candidate was nominated and was thus declared the winner without elections taking place.

The previous elections were held in June 2009 and resulted in the Conservatives taking overall control of the newly formed council, the successor to Wiltshire County Council and four recently abolished district councils, with the Liberal Democrats forming the largest of four opposition political groups. At the 2013 election, the Conservatives were the only political party to contest every division. They needed to avoid a net loss of thirteen seats to maintain overall control, while the Liberal Democrats needed a net gain of twenty-six to take control. In the event, the Conservatives gained five seats and lost nine, a net loss of four, retaining control of the council with fifty-eight members. The Liberal Democrats remained the largest other group, with twenty-seven councillors, followed by eight Independents, four from the Labour Party, and one from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the first time a seat in Wiltshire Council had been won by UKIP.

2017 Wiltshire Council election

The 2017 Wiltshire Council election took place on 4 May 2017 as part of the 2017 local elections in the United Kingdom. All 98 councillors were elected from electoral divisions which returned one councillor each by first-past-the-post voting for a four-year term of office.

Chippenham

Chippenham is a large historic market town in northwest Wiltshire, England. It lies 20 miles (32 km) east of Bristol, 86 miles (138 km) west of London and 4 miles (6 km) west of The Cotswolds AONB. The town was established on a crossing of the River Avon and some form of settlement is believed to have existed there since before Roman times. It was a royal vill, and probably a royal hunting lodge, under Alfred the Great. The town continued to grow when the Great Western Railway arrived in 1841; it is now a major commuter town.

Chippenham is twinned with La Flèche in France and Friedberg in Germany. The town's motto is Unity and Loyalty.

Corsham

Corsham is a historic market town and civil parish in west Wiltshire, England. It is at the south-western edge of the Cotswolds, just off the A4 national route, which was formerly the main turnpike road from London to Bristol, 28 miles (45 km) southwest of Swindon, 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Bristol, 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Bath and 4 miles (6 km) southwest of Chippenham. Corsham is close to the county borders with Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Corsham was historically a centre for agriculture and later, the wool industry, and remains a focus for quarrying Bath Stone. It contains several notable historic buildings, such as the stately home of Corsham Court. During the Second World War and the Cold War, it became a major administrative and manufacturing centre for the Ministry of Defence, with numerous establishments both above ground and in the old quarry tunnels. The early 21st century saw growth in Corsham's role in the film industry.

The parish includes the villages of Gastard and Neston, which is at the gates of the Neston Park estate.

Flag of Wiltshire

There are three flag designs associated with the English county of Wiltshire. Like the proposed flags of many other counties, two of the three have no official status as they were not designed by the College of Arms. One of the designs, the "Bustard Flag", was approved by a full meeting of the Wiltshire Council on 1 December 2009, as a county flag and subsequently registered with the Flag Institute.

List of settlements in Wiltshire by population

This is a list of settlements in Wiltshire by population based on the results of the 2011 census. The next United Kingdom census will take place in 2021. In 2011, there were 19 built-up area subdivisions with 5,000 or more inhabitants in Wiltshire. These are shown in the table below along with some less populous settlements.

Mere, Wiltshire

Mere is a small town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. It lies at the extreme southwestern tip of Salisbury Plain, close to the borders of Somerset and Dorset. The parish includes the hamlets of Barrow Street, Burton, Charnage, Limpers Hill, Rook Street and Southbrook.

The A303 trunk road passed through Mere until a bypass was built on the northern edge of the town in 1976.There is an old market square (although markets have not been held for several years), a chiming town clock and a large 15th-century parish church. The steep slope of Castle Hill rises from the northwestern side of Mere. Local industry and commerce includes the Hill Brush company, large wholesale plant nurseries and Yapp's wine merchants.

Rowdeford School

Rowdeford School is a special needs community school, near Rowde, Wiltshire, England, for young people with complex needs and autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) aged between 11 and 16. The school caters for 130 pupils. In 2008 the school was awarded specialist status in communication and interaction.

The school is run by Wiltshire Council with additional support from Rowdeford Charity Trust, an independent charity that is focused on the advancement of education for young people with disabilities and special needs.

Weekday boarding places were provided for 16 children, but Wiltshire Council withdrew funding for these in March 2018. The school's residential unit was then shut down in July 2018.

Wiltshire

Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a county in South West England with an area of 3,485 km2 (1,346 square miles). It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The county town was originally Wilton, after which the county is named, but Wiltshire Council is now based in the county town of Trowbridge.

Wiltshire is characterised by its high downland and wide valleys. Salisbury Plain is noted for being the location of the Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles and other ancient landmarks, and as a training area for the British Army. The city of Salisbury is notable for its medieval cathedral. Important country houses open to the public include Longleat, near Warminster, and the National Trust's Stourhead, near Mere.

Wiltshire Council elections

Wiltshire Council elections date from 2009, when the new Wiltshire Council was created, although a shadow authority had been in existence since 2008.

As a result of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, the former Wiltshire County Council and the four districts within its geographical area were replaced by Wiltshire Council, a unitary authority covering the same area, with elections continuing to be held every four years, beginning on 4 June 2009, when they coincided with an election to the European Parliament.

Previously, Wiltshire County Council had been elected between 1889 and 2005, initially every three years, later every four years.

Local authorities in Wiltshire
Districts
Councils
Local elections
Unitary authorities
Major settlements
Rivers
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