City of Chester
Chester shown within Cheshire

Area
 • 1974110,729 acres (448.10 km2)[1]
Population
 • 1973116,820[1]
 • 1992119,500[2]
 • 2001118,210
History
 • OriginChester County Borough
Chester Rural District
Tarvin Rural District
 • Created1 April 1974
 • Abolished31 March 2009
 • Succeeded byCheshire West and Chester
StatusNon-metropolitan district, city
ONS code13UB
GovernmentChester City Council
 • HQChester
 • MottoAntiqui Colant Antiquum Dierum (Let the Ancients worship the Ancient of Days)
Subdivisions
 • TypeCivil 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.

History

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.[3][4]

The new district was awarded borough status from its creation, allowing the chairman of the council to take the title of mayor.[5] 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.[6][7]

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.[8]

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.[9] Chester's city charter is retained through the appointment of charter trustees.[10]

Lord mayoralty and shrievalty

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[11]

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.

Coat of arms

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.[13]

Civil parishes

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.[14]

Map of civil parishes within the former City of Chester district
Map of civil parishes within the former City of Chester district

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.[16]

Political control

The city of Chester had been a county borough, independent from any county council, from 1889 to 1974.[17] 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:[18]

Party in control Years
Conservative 1974–1986
No overall control 1986–2007
Conservative 2007–2009

Leadership

The leaders of the council were:

Councillor Party From To
Cecil Eimerl[19] Conservative 1 Apr 1974 9 May 1976
Hugh Jones[20] Conservative 19 May 1976 May 1979
Derek Owens-Kaye[21] Conservative May 1979 May 1985
Cecil Eimerl[22][23] Conservative May 1985 21 May 1986
John Bramall[24][25] Conservative 21 May 1986 May 1989
Richard Short[26] Conservative May 1989 May 1990
John Price[27] Labour 21 May 1990 May 1991
Richard Short[28] Conservative May 1991 20 May 1992
No leader 20 May 1992 Jan 1993
Richard Short[29] Conservative Jan 1993 May 1993
No leader[30] May 1993 May 1995
John Price[31] Labour May 1995 14 May 2003
David Evans[32][33] Liberal Democrats 14 May 2003 2006
Paul Roberts[34] Liberal Democrats 2006 2007
Margaret Parker Conservative 2007 2009

Premises

Chester Town Hall, Northgate Street, with The Forum shopping centre and municipal offices in background to its left.
Chester Town Hall, Northgate Street, with The Forum shopping centre and municipal offices in background to its left.

The council had its main offices at The Forum on Northgate Street, Chester, being offices above a shopping centre.[35] 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.[36] The offices immediately adjoined Chester Town Hall, where council and committee meetings were held.

Council elections

2006 Election

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.[citation needed]

2007 Election

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.[citation needed]

2008 Election

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.

By-election results

Vicars Cross By-Election 1 May 1997
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrats Kenneth Holding 1,466 42.5 -8.3
Labour Sara Barnsley 1,151 33.3 -0.3
Conservative Peter Moore-Dutton 834 24.2 +8.7
Majority 315 9.2
Turnout 3,451
Liberal Democrats hold Swing
College By-Election 26 June 1997
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour 664 74.9 +6.3
Conservative 120 13.5 -4.6
Independent 53 6.0 +6.0
Liberal Democrats 50 5.6 -2.5
Majority 544 61.4
Turnout 887 16.0
Labour hold Swing
Newton Brook By-Election 21 September 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrats Robert Jordan? 572 55.1 +11.2
Conservative 401 38.6 -5.6
Labour 65 6.3 -5.6
Majority 171 16.5
Turnout 1,038 33.8
Liberal Democrats hold Swing
College By-Election 7 June 2001
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour 1,150 51.8 -2.8
Liberal Democrats 570 25.6 +6.0
Conservative 502 22.6 -3.2
Majority 580 26.2
Turnout 2,222
Labour hold Swing
Hoole Groves By-Election 7 June 2001
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Alex Black 886 41.4 +12.9
Liberal Democrats 811 37.9 -20.2
Conservative 406 19.1 +7.6
Independent 35 1.6 +0.7
Majority 75 3.5
Turnout 2,103
Labour gain from Liberal Democrats Swing
Malpas By-Election 6 September 2001
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Keith Ebben 482 54.3 -19.5
Liberal Democrats 405 45.7 +31.4
Majority 77 8.6
Turnout 887 20.8
Conservative gain from Independent Swing
Blacon Hall By-Election 1 August 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Alan Tushingham 592 77.1 +2.3
Independent 119 15.5 +15.5
Liberal Democrats 57 7.4 +7.4
Majority 473 61.6
Turnout 768 13.8
Labour hold Swing
Blacon Hall By-Election 14 August 2003
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Norman Stainthorp 714 66.2 +0.2
Conservative Charles Isaac 204 18.9 +5.8
Liberal Democrats 160 14.8 +8.2
Majority 510 47.3
Turnout 1,078 20.0
Labour hold Swing
Boughton By-Election 29 July 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Susan Atkinson 427 44.9 -7.9
Conservative Mark Williams 377 39.6 +11.0
Liberal Democrats Joanne Crotty (?) 147 15.5 +4.5
Majority 50 5.3
Turnout 951 35.0
Labour hold Swing
Blacon Lodge By-Election 18 November 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Ethel Price 505 62.9 +4.1
Conservative John Burke ? 243 30.3 +6.2
Liberal Democrats 55 6.8 -10.3
Majority 262 32.6
Turnout 803 21.5
Labour hold Swing
Hoole All Saints By-Election 5 May 2005
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrats Barry Sullivan 765 51.2 -8.6
Labour 496 33.2 +10.9
Conservative 233 15.6 +7.0
Majority 269 18.0
Turnout 1,494 65.0
Liberal Democrats hold Swing
Curzon & Westminster By-Election 27 October 2005
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Max Drury 875 63.8 -1.1
Liberal Democrats Allan Stobie 258 18.8 +1.9
Labour Alexandra Tate 238 17.4 -0.8
Majority 617 45.0
Turnout 1,371 41.0
Conservative hold Swing
Newton St. Michaels By-Election 26 October 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Adrian Walmsley 518 41.9 -0.1
Liberal Democrats Molly Hale 497 40.2 +8.1
Labour Alex Black 197 15.9 -2.9
Green Diana Wilderspin-Jones 24 1.9 -5.2
Majority 21 1.7
Turnout 1,236 46.2
Conservative gain from Liberal Democrats Swing

References

  1. ^ a b Local government in England and Wales: A Guide to the New System. London: HMSO. 1974. p. 35. ISBN 0-11-750847-0.
  2. ^ OPCS Key Population and Statistics 1992
  3. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 6 September 2022
  4. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 6 September 2022
  5. ^ "District Councils and Boroughs". Hansard 1803–2005. Parliament of the United Kingdom. 28 March 1974. Retrieved 3 September 2022.
  6. ^ "Crown Office". London Gazette (46303): 6485. 31 May 1974. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  7. ^ Chester City Council web site Archived November 10, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ BBC News, 25 July 2007 - County split into two authorities. Retrieval Date: 25 July 2007.
  9. ^ Cheshire (Structural Changes) Order 2008 Archived May 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ The Local Government (Structural Changes) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Other Provision) Order 2009 (SI 2009/837)
  11. ^ a b "History Facts". Chester City Council. 2009. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  12. ^ "No. 52861". The London Gazette. 13 March 1992. p. 4553.
  13. ^ "Cheshire". Civic Heraldry of England and Wales. Archived from the original on 9 April 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  14. ^ "Parish Councils". Chester City Council. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
  15. ^ District Council notices of the change of name of a parish Archived March 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Chester Castle". GENUKI (UK and Ireland Genealogy). Retrieved 16 December 2008.
  17. ^ "Chester Municipal Borough / County Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  18. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  19. ^ "Warning of more cuts on way". Cheshire Observer. Chester. 15 March 1974. p. 1. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  20. ^ "Tribute to defeated leader". Cheshire Observer. Chester. 21 May 1976. p. 1. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  21. ^ "Committees elected". Cheshire Observer. Chester. 25 May 1979. p. 43. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  22. ^ "New city leaders". Cheshire Observer. Chester. 24 May 1985. p. 1. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  23. ^ Chamberlain, Paul (16 May 1986). "Parties in big power struggle". Chester Chronicle. p. 5. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  24. ^ "Town Hall copies Commons". Chester Chronicle. 23 May 1986. p. 3. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  25. ^ "With all concerned sworn to secrecy..." Chester Chronicle. 19 May 1989. p. 11. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  26. ^ Body, Cynthia (11 May 1990). "Centre party holds the key". Chester Chronicle. p. 4. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  27. ^ Body, Cynthia (25 May 1990). "Ins and outs of control in City Council". Chester Chronicle. p. 8. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  28. ^ "Council is in a state of limbo". Chester Chronicle. 22 May 1992. p. 3. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  29. ^ Body, Cynthia (22 January 1993). "Success for Tories in council battle". Chester Chronicle. p. 23. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  30. ^ "Control in the balance". Chester Chronicle. 12 May 1995. p. 13. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  31. ^ "Cabinet minutes, 13 September 2001". Chester City Council. Archived from the original on 26 June 2002. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  32. ^ "Council minutes, 14 May 2003". Chester City Council. Archived from the original on 19 August 2004. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  33. ^ "Councillor to step down from post". Cheshire Live. 24 February 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  34. ^ "Former Chester council leader fails to win seat". Cheshire Live. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  35. ^ "Location of the Council Offices". Chester City Council. Archived from the original on 20 March 2009.
  36. ^ "City's new £1m local government offices opened". Cheshire Observer. Chester. 6 April 1973. p. 32. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  37. ^ The City of Chester (Electoral Arrangements) Order 1978 (S.I. 1978/88)
  38. ^ legislation.gov.uk - The Cheshire (District Boundaries) Order 1988. Retrieved on 6 November 2015.
  39. ^ legislation.gov.uk - The City of Chester (Electoral Changes) Order 1998. Retrieved on 4 October 2015.

Coordinates: 53°11′N 2°53′W / 53.183°N 2.883°W / 53.183; -2.883