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Borough of Swale
Swale shown within Kent
Swale shown within Kent
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth East England
Non-metropolitan countyKent
StatusNon-metropolitan district
Admin HQSittingbourne
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodySwale Borough Council
 • LeadershipLeader & Cabinet (Conservative)
 • MPsHelen Whately (C)
Gordon Henderson (C)
 • Total144.2 sq mi (373.4 km2)
 • Rank106th (of 309)
 • Total151,676
 • Rank138th (of 309)
 • Density1,100/sq mi (410/km2)
 • Ethnicity[1]
96.1% White
1.3% S.Asian
1.1% Black
1.0% Mixed Race
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code29UM (ONS)
E07000113 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTQ9018863720
The Kingsferry Bridge
The Kingsferry Bridge

Swale is a local government district with borough status in Kent, England and is bounded by Medway to the west, Canterbury to the east, Ashford to the south and Maidstone to the south west. Its council is based in Sittingbourne. The district is named after the narrow channel called The Swale, that separates the mainland of Kent from the Isle of Sheppey, and which occupies the central part of the district.

The district was formed in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, from the Borough of Faversham; the Borough of Queenborough-in-Sheppey, which covered the whole of Sheppey; the Sittingbourne and Milton Urban District; and Swale Rural District.

Most of the southern half of the Borough lies within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, whilst Sittingbourne and the Isle of Sheppey forms the concluding part of the Thames Gateway growth area.[2]

There are four towns in the borough: Sittingbourne and Faversham on the mainland, and Sheerness and Queenborough on Sheppey.


Swale is a mainly rural borough, containing a high proportion of the UK's apple, pear, cherry and plum orchards (the North Kent Fruit Belt[3]), as well as many of its remaining hop gardens. Faversham has the Shepherd Neame brewery.

Sheerness is a busy port and previously produced steel. Sittingbourne has a variety of smaller industrial sites.


The Roman Watling Street passed through the area, as witness the straightness of the A2 main road, now by-passed by the M2 motorway.

There are two railway lines in Swale: the Chatham Main Line and the Sheerness Line, which meet at Sittingbourne.


Swale Borough Council
Swale Borough Council Logo
Founded1 April 1974
Cllr Simon Clark, Labour
Leader of the Council
Cllr Mike Baldock, Swale Independents Alliance
Deputy Leader of the Council
Cllr Monique Bonney, Independent
Leader of the Opposition
Cllr Alan Horton, Conservative
Chief Executive
Larissa Reed
Seats47 councillors
UK Swale Borough Council 2019.svg
Political groups
Administration (27)
  Labour (9)
  Swale Independents (8)
  Independent (4)
  Liberal Democrats (4)
  Green Party (2)
Opposition (20)
  Conservative (15)
  Independent (4)
  Reform UK (1)
Length of term
4 years
Last election
Next election
Known By Their Fruits
Meeting place
Swale House, Sittingbourne



Honorary Freemen of the Borough


See also: Swale Borough Council elections

Swale Borough Council is elected every four years, with currently 47 councillors being elected at each election. After the Conservatives had a majority on the council from 1976 to 1986, no party had overall control from 1986 until the 2002 election when the Conservatives regained control. The Conservatives held their majority until the last election in 2019 when the council returned to no overall control. The council is currently composed of the following councillors:-[7]

Party Councillors
Conservative Party 15
Labour Party 9
Independent 8
Swale Independents 8
Liberal Democrats 4
Green 2
Reform UK 1


The district contains the following civil parishes:


  1. ^ Office for National Statistics: Neighbourhood Statistics: Swale
  2. ^ "Swale". Protecting Kent's Countryside. CPRE Kent. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  3. ^ Orchards
  4. ^ "Photograph of Bob Geldof Receiving the Freedom of the Borough of Swale". Shutterstock. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  5. ^ Dunt, Paul (13 October 2021). "Former Sheerness RNLI Coxswain honoured with Freedom of the Borough". The Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  6. ^ "Photograph of Robin Swale Receiving the Freedom of the Borough of Swale". Twitter. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Swale Borough Council". BBC News. Retrieved 3 February 2020.

Coordinates: 51°20′24.73″N 0°43′51.32″E / 51.3402028°N 0.7309222°E / 51.3402028; 0.7309222