|City of Chester|
|• 1974||110,729 acres (448.10 km2)|
|• Origin||Chester County Borough|
Chester Rural District
Tarvin Rural District
|• Created||1 April 1974|
|• Abolished||31 March 2009|
|• Succeeded by||Cheshire West and Chester|
|Status||Non-metropolitan district, city|
|Government||Chester City Council|
|• Motto||Antiqui Colant Antiquum Dierum (Let the Ancients worship the Ancient of Days)|
|• Type||Civil parishes|
Chester was a non-metropolitan local government district of Cheshire, England from 1974 to 2009. It had the status of a city and a borough, and the local authority was called Chester City Council.
Apart from Chester itself, which was the principal settlement, the district covered a large rural area. Other settlements included Malpas and Tarvin.
The district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, by the merger of the existing city and county borough of Chester with the Chester Rural District and Tarvin Rural District. It was a non-metropolitan district, with county-level services for the area provided by Cheshire County Council.
The new district was awarded borough status from its creation, allowing the chairman of the council to take the title of mayor. The city status which had previously attached to the old county borough of Chester was extended to cover the enlarged district on 28 May 1974, a few weeks after the changes came into effect, allowing the council to call itself Chester City Council.
In 2006 the Department for Communities and Local Government considered reorganising Cheshire's administrative structure as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England. The decision to merge Vale Royal with the districts of Chester and Ellesmere Port and Neston to create a single 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.
The Chester district was abolished on 31 March 2009, with the area becoming part of the new unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester from 1 April 2009. Chester's city charter is retained through the appointment of charter trustees.
The office of mayor of Chester was continued in 1974 by virtue of the charter, the title being borne by the chairman of the council. The mayor of Chester had, since at least 1528, enjoyed the additional honorific title of "Admiral of the Dee". The title was confirmed by letters patent dated 15 May 1974. In 1992, as part of celebrations of the fortieth anniversary of the accession of Elizabeth II, the mayor's title was raised to Lord Mayor of Chester by letters patent dated 10 March 1992.
Under the charter granted in 1974 the new council was permitted to continue to appoint any traditional "officers of dignity" that the predecessor city and county borough had been entitled to appoint. Accordingly, in June 1974 it was decided to continue the office of Sheriff of Chester that dated from the early twelfth century.
The offices of lord mayor and sheriff of Chester were held by serving councillors, and there was an annual rotation of the posts between the three main parties.
In 1977 the city council was regranted a "differenced" version of the sixteenth century arms of the predecessor Corporation of the City and County Borough of Chester. The historic arms of Chester was based on the Royal Arms of England (three golden lions on a red shield) combined with three gold wheatsheaves on blue of the Earldom of Chester. A gold border bearing acorns was added to the arms to represent the rural areas added in 1974. The crest of the corporation was a depiction of the city sword. To this was added two branches of oak for the two rural districts combined with the county borough. The supporters of the city arms were a gold lion representing England and a white wolf for Hugh Lupus, 1st Earl of Chester. In 1977 they were altered slightly by the addition of red castles hanging about their necks. The Latin motto was Antiqui Colant Antiquum Dierum or Let the ancients worship the ancient of days.
Chester district contained a comparatively large number of civil parishes. There were 46 parish councils operating in the district in 2008, some of which were grouped parish councils covering more than one civil parish. Some smaller parishes were not covered any parish council, leaving parish level representation to be administered through a parish meeting.
The main built-up part of Chester was an unparished area, corresponding to the area of the former county borough. One anomaly was that there was a small civil parish just covering the area around Chester Castle, which was surrounded by the unparished area. This was the civil parish of Chester Castle, which had not been part of the pre-1974 Chester County Borough, but had been a detached part of the Chester Rural District.
The city of Chester had been a county borough, independent from any county council, from 1889 to 1974. The first elections to the enlarged district created under the Local Government Act 1972 were held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council from 1974 until its abolition in 2009 was held by the following parties:
|Party in control||Years|
|No overall control||1986–2007|
The leaders of the council were:
|Cecil Eimerl||Conservative||1 Apr 1974||9 May 1976|
|Hugh Jones||Conservative||19 May 1976||May 1979|
|Derek Owens-Kaye||Conservative||May 1979||May 1985|
|Cecil Eimerl||Conservative||May 1985||21 May 1986|
|John Bramall||Conservative||21 May 1986||May 1989|
|Richard Short||Conservative||May 1989||May 1990|
|John Price||Labour||21 May 1990||May 1991|
|Richard Short||Conservative||May 1991||20 May 1992|
|No leader||20 May 1992||Jan 1993|
|Richard Short||Conservative||Jan 1993||May 1993|
|No leader||May 1993||May 1995|
|John Price||Labour||May 1995||14 May 2003|
|David Evans||Liberal Democrats||14 May 2003||2006|
|Paul Roberts||Liberal Democrats||2006||2007|
The council had its main offices at The Forum on Northgate Street, Chester, being offices above a shopping centre. The offices at The Forum had been opened on 4 April 1973 for the old city council when it was a county borough, but in anticipation of the reforms due to come into effect in 1974. The offices immediately adjoined Chester Town Hall, where council and committee meetings were held.
The Conservative Party gained 5 seats in Lache, Newton St. Michael's, Handbridge, Elton and Upton Grange. Labour lost three seats to the Conservatives, and avoided losing Boughton and City to the Conservatives, and College to the Liberal Democrats. The Liberal Democrats lost two seats to the Conservatives, and only avoided losing a safe seat, Vicars Cross, to the Conservatives. In addition, a Liberal Democrat Councillor (Jeff Clarke, Waverton) defected to the Conservatives. The Conservatives also won a by-election in Autumn 2006, taking another seat from the Liberal Democrats.
The Conservative party gained 7 seats in Lache, Newton Brook, Huntington, Tattenhall, Upton Grange, Kelsall and Boughton Heath. They also regained Christleton after the seat had been vacant for four months. The Liberal Democrats were defeated in five seats, Labour in one, and one long-serving Independent (Doug Haynes, Tattenhall) was beaten. Labour were beaten into fourth place in one ward (Malpas) by the English Democrats. The Liberal Democrats narrowly avoided finishing in fourth place in Blacon Hall and Blacon Lodge. Labour held College by just 7 votes, with the Liberal Democrats in second place.
The 2008 elections were cancelled due to local government re-organisation. Elections to a shadow Cheshire West and Chester (CWC) unitary authority were instead held. This meant that councillors elected in 2004 served for an additional year before the city council was disbanded. Therefore, the Conservatives remained the governing party until April 2009, when the new CWC Council replaced the city council.
|Liberal Democrats||Kenneth Holding||1,466||42.5||-8.3|
|Liberal Democrats hold||Swing|
|Liberal Democrats||Robert Jordan?||572||55.1||+11.2|
|Liberal Democrats hold||Swing|
|Labour gain from Liberal Democrats||Swing|
|Conservative gain from Independent||Swing|
|Liberal Democrats||Joanne Crotty (?)||147||15.5||+4.5|
|Conservative||John Burke ?||243||30.3||+6.2|
|Liberal Democrats||Barry Sullivan||765||51.2||-8.6|
|Liberal Democrats hold||Swing|
|Liberal Democrats||Allan Stobie||258||18.8||+1.9|
|Liberal Democrats||Molly Hale||497||40.2||+8.1|
|Conservative gain from Liberal Democrats||Swing|