Peterborough City Council
Nick Sandford,
Liberal Democrat
since 23 May 2023[1]
Mohammed Farooq,
Peterborough First
since 1 November 2023[2]
Matthew Gladstone
since 2022[3]
Seats60 councillors[4]
Peterborough City Council composition
Political groups
  Conservative (23)
  Labour (14)
  Peterborough First (8)
  Liberal Democrats (8)
  Independent (4)
  Greens (3)
First past the post (elected in thirds)
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
2 May 2024
Meeting place

Sand Martin House, Bittern Way, Peterborough, PE2 8TY

Peterborough City Council is the local authority for Peterborough in the East of England.[5] It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. The City was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1874; from 1888, it fell within the jurisdiction of the Soke of Peterborough county council and from 1965, Huntingdon and Peterborough county council. In 1974, it was replaced by a wholly new non-metropolitan district, broadly corresponding to the Soke, in the new enlarged Cambridgeshire. In 1998, Peterborough became independent of Cambridgeshire as a unitary authority, but the city continues to form part of that county for ceremonial purposes as defined by the Lieutenancies Act 1997.

The leader and cabinet model of decision-making was adopted by the city council in 2001. It is a member of the East of England Local Government Association.


Peterborough Town Hall


A public enquiry was held in 1873, to determine whether it would be advantageous for the city to be administered by a municipal corporation. The result being in the affirmative, the city council, sometimes archaically called the corporation, was founded by a Charter of Incorporation dated 17 March 1874, under the government of a mayor, six aldermen and 18 councillors.[6] Something of an anomaly, the Parliamentary Boundary Commission of 1868 had decided that the urban parts of Fletton and Woodston were so involved in Peterborough that they ought to be in the borough and added the newly built-up portions of these parishes to the parliamentary constituency. In local matters they were still in Huntingdonshire and, as the City of Peterborough did not extend south of the River Nene, the full title of the new municipality was the City and Borough of Peterborough and its inhabitants, citizens and burgesses.[7]

Watch committee

The new corporation was required to appoint a Watch Committee and a police force under the provisions of the County and Borough Police Act 1856. In 1947, the City of Peterborough Constabulary amalgamated with the Liberty of Peterborough Constabulary, which had shared its chief constable with Northamptonshire until 1931 and Peterborough thereafter, to form the Peterborough Combined Police force. This, in turn, merged into Mid-Anglia Constabulary in 1965 and was renamed Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1974.[8] The Fire Brigades Act 1938 made it a requirement for the corporation to maintain a fire brigade; under the Fire Services Act 1947 this function passed to the councils of counties.

Sunken relief by sculptor Arthur Ayres for Mitchell Engineering Limited at Bridge House, later in use by the city council.[9]



In 1927, the city council submitted a memorial to the Minister of Health for permission to extend the borough boundary to include Gunthorpe, Longthorpe, Paston, Walton, Werrington and the area north-east of Fengate; this became effective from 1929.[10] Until this point the council were using the Guildhall and a large number of subsidiary offices, but the need to widen Narrow Bridge Street and the need for a new Town Hall came together in a combined scheme, resulting in the building of the present Town Hall. It was opened in 1933 and accommodated both Peterborough city council and the former Soke of Peterborough county council.[11][12]

Administrative county

Under the Local Government Act 1888, the ancient Soke of Peterborough formed an administrative county in its own right, with boundaries similar, although not identical, to the current unitary authority. Nonetheless, it remained geographically part of Northamptonshire until 1965, when the Soke of Peterborough was merged with Huntingdonshire to form the county of Huntingdon and Peterborough.[13] The municipal borough covered the urban area only; under the Local Government Act 1972, Huntingdon and Peterborough was abolished and the current district created, including the outlying rural areas.[14] However, as a result of intervening development and a new town project, this has a much larger population than the Soke had.[15] Having petitioned for borough status under Section 245 of the Act, letters patent were granted continuing the style of the city over the wider area, which became part of the non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire.[16]

Unitary authority

In 1998, the city gained autonomy from county council control as a unitary authority area, but it continues to form part of Cambridgeshire for ceremonial purposes.[17] Policing in the city remains the responsibility of Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The police authority comprises 17 members, including nine councillors, of which seven are nominated by Cambridgeshire county council and two are nominated by Peterborough city council.[18] Firefighting remains the responsibility of Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. The joint fire authority comprises 17 elected councillors, 13 from Cambridgeshire county council and four from Peterborough city council.[19] Nowadays the Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade, one of few of its kind, effectively functions as a retained fire station, responding to calls as directed by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.[20]

In 2018 the council moved most of its staff from Peterborough Town Hall to modern facilities at Sand Martin House, a refurbished and extended Victorian railway building at Fletton Quays on the south side of the River Nene.[21] Both Sand Martin House and the Town Hall are used for council meetings.[22]


Executive model

The leader and cabinet model of decision-making, adopted by the city council under the Local Government Act 2000, is similar to national government. The council appoints the Leader (usually a member of the group with the political majority) and the leader appoints up to nine other councillors to serve on the cabinet. The cabinet members, one of whom is appointed Deputy Leader, assume responsibility for different key areas of local governance.[23] The full council meets around ten times a year. There are decisions that only full council can make, these include setting budgets and spending programmes, setting council tax levels and approving major policies and priorities. In addition to the Leader of the Council, the council also appoints the Mayor of Peterborough, the Deputy Mayor, committee chairmen and the chief executive. The cabinet and committees report to, and are accountable to, council.


The council's budget for the financial year 2018/19 is £418.7m[24] (down from £432.6m in 2017/18[25]). The main source of non-school funding is the formula grant, which is paid by government to local authorities based on the services they provide. The remainder, to which the police and fire authorities (and parish council where this exists) set a precept, is raised from council tax and business rates. Following the 2010 Spending Review, the council announced that 11.1% could be cut from departmental budgets to save £65m over a five-year period and up to 181 posts could be lost.[26]


The city council elects a Mayor to serve for a term of one year. The role is now largely ceremonial, with political leadership provided instead by the Leader of the Council. Former leaders are listed with the historic election results. The Mayor has social and legal precedence in all places within the city unless HM the King or his personal representative, a close member of the Royal Family or the Lord Lieutenant is present. The Mayor also has a key democratic role to play, acting as a politically impartial chairman of the council and making sure that proper conduct takes place in the chamber during its meetings. The Mayor does not take part in debate or vote, except to break ties.[27] Mayoralty of the unitary authority has been held by the following councillors:

Arms of the Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Peterborough, used from 1874 to 1960.
Tenure Incumbent
1998–1999 Mary Beatrice Rainey
1999–2000 John Ernest Graham Bartlett
2000–2002 Raymond Arthur Pobgee
2002–2003 Clifford Stanley Horace Sneesby
2003–2004 David Raines
2004–2005 Raja Akhtar
2005 died John Ray Horrell
2006 David Thorpe
2006–2007 Michael Burton
2007–2008 Marion Yvonne Todd
2008–2009 Patricia Nash
2009–2010 Irene Walsh
2010–2011 Keith Sharp
2011–2012 Paula Thacker
2012–2013 George Simons
2013–2014 June Stokes
2014–2015 David Over
2015–2016 John Peach[28]
2016–2017 David Sanders
2017–2018 John Fox
2018–2019 Chris Ash
2019–2021 Gul Nawaz[29]
2021-2022 Stephen Lane[30]
2022-2023 Alan Dowson
2023-2024 Nick Sandford

Joint committees

The East of England Regional Assembly was based at Flempton, near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. The assembly was created as a voluntary regional chamber by the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 and the first meeting was held in March 1999. Following criticism of the regional assemblies, it was proposed in 2007 that they would be axed, losing their role by 2010.[31] It was replaced by the East of England Local Government Association who established a Regional Strategy Board to act as Local Authority Leaders' Board under the provisions of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. This role ended in 2010, with the abolition of statutory regional planning in England.

GO East, the Government Office for the East of England, co-ordinated the functions of national government in the region until 2011. The abolition of the Government Office network was announced in the 2010 Spending Review.

A combined authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was established in 2017, with the first mayoral elections taking place on 4 May.

Political control

See also: Peterborough City Council elections

Political control of the unitary authority has been held by the following groups:

The City of Peterborough (6) shown within Cambridgeshire.
Election Party Seats   +/-  
1997 Labour 25
1999[32] No overall control
Lab largest single party
(25) 0
2000[33][34] No overall control
Con largest single party
(27) +3
2001[35][36] No overall control
Con largest single party
(26) −1
2002[37][38] Conservative 29 +2
2004[39][40] Conservative 33 +9
2006[41][42] Conservative 35 +3
2007[43][44] Conservative 40 +5
2008[45][46] Conservative 43 +3
2010[47][48] Conservative 39 −4
2011[49][50] Conservative 38 −1
2012[51][52] Conservative 32 −6
2014[53][54][55] No overall control
Con largest single party
(28) +2
2015 No overall control
Con largest single party
(27) −1
2016 Conservative 31 +4
2017 No overall control
Con largest single party
(30) −1
2018 Conservative 31 +1
2019 No overall control
Con largest single party
(28) −3
2020 No overall control
Con largest single party
(26) −2
2021 No overall control
Con largest single party
(29) +1
2022 No overall control
Con largest single party
(28) -1
2023 No overall control
Con largest single party
(30) +2

In 2016, every councillor was up for re-election following changes made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.[56] Following a vote of no confidence backed by all opposition parties in November 2023, the Conservative group leader and his team were ousted. The council is now run by Independents, a group of 11 known as Peterborough First.

Wards and councillors

The council comprises 60 councillors who represent the city and surrounding villages. Each councillor typically serves for a four-year term, representing an electoral ward. Wards are divided so that each councillor serves an average of around 2,000 electors.[57]

These are (in alphabetical order): Barnack, Bretton, Central, Dogsthorpe, East, Eye, Thorney & Newborough, Fletton & Stanground, Fletton & Woodston, Glinton and Castor, Gunthorpe, Hampton Vale, Hargate and Hempsted, North, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville, Park, Paston & Walton, Ravensthorpe, Stanground South, Werrington, West, Wittering. Twelve wards comprise the Peterborough constituency for elections to the House of Commons, while the remaining 10 fall within the North West Cambridgeshire constituency.[58]

Independent and Werrington First councillors sit as an Independent group known as "Peterborough First" on the council.[59]

* Julie Stevenson (Orton Waterville) resigned from the Green Party to sit as an Independent in June 2022.[60]

** Councillors Bisby, Hiller and Rush defected from the Conservatives to Peterborough First just two weeks after the Local Election in May 2023.[61] Councillor Elsey defected the following day.[62]

*** Councillor Mohammed Farooq was suspended by the Conservative Party in May 2023.[63] Despite being re-admitted in June, Cllr (M) Farooq quit the party due to a "bullying, toxic culture[64] - followed by his son, Cllr Saqib Farooq[65] and ward-colleague Cllr John Howard.[66]

Parliamentary constituency Ward Councillor Party Term of office
Bretton Chaz Fenner Conservative 2021–24
Scott Warren Conservative 2022–26
Richard Strangward Labour 2023–27
Central Amjad Iqbal Labour 2021–24
Alison Jones Labour 2022–26
Mohammed Jamil Labour 2023–27
Dogsthorpe Ishfaq Hussain Conservative 2021–24
Dennis Jones Labour 2022–26
Katy Cole Labour 2023–27
East Jackie Allen Conservative 2021–24
Sam Hemraj Labour 2022–26
Shabina Qayyum Labour 2023–27
Eye, Thorney & Newborough Nigel Simons Conservative 2021–24
Rylan Ray Conservative 2022–26
Steve Allen Conservative 2023–27
Gunthorpe Bryan Tyler Conservative 2021–24
Andrew Bond Liberal Democrats 2022–26
Sandra Bond Liberal Democrats 2023–27
North Mohammed Haseeb Labour 2021–24
Noreen Bi Labour 2022–26
Asim Mahmood Labour 2023–27
Park Muhammad Asif Conservative 2023–24
Mohammed Sabir Labour 2022–26
Arfan Khan Conservative 2023–27
Paston and Walton Nick Sandford Liberal Democrats 2021–24
Asif Shaheed Liberal Democrats 2022–26
Simon Barkham Liberal Democrats 2023–27
Ravensthorpe Gul Nawaz Conservative 2021–24
Mohammed Rangzeb Conservative 2022–26
Sabeel Ahmed Conservative 2023–27
Werrington John Fox Werrington First 2021–24
Steve Lane Werrington First 2022–26
Judy Fox Werrington First 2023–27
West Lynne Ayres Conservative 2021–24
Wayne Fitzgerald Conservative 2023–27
North West Cambridgeshire
Barnack David Over Conservative 2021-24
Fletton and Stanground Oliver Sainsbury Conservative 2021–24
Christian Hogg Liberal Democrats 2022–26
Jade Seager Liberal Democrats 2023–27
Fletton and Woodston Andy Coles Conservative 2021–24
Alan Dowson Labour 2022–26
Nick Thulbourn Labour 2023–27
Glinton and Castor Saqib M Farooq*** Independent 2021–24
Peter Hiller** Independent 2023–27
Hampton Vale Lindsay Sharp Conservative 2021–24
Marco Cereste Conservative 2022–26
Chris Wiggin Liberal Democrats 2023–27
Hargate and Hempsted Nicolle Moyo Conservative 2021–24
Mohammed Farooq*** Independent 2022–26
John Howard*** Independent 2023–27
Orton Longueville Graham Casey Conservative 2021–24
Michael Perkins Conservative 2022–26
Heather Skibsted Green 2023–27
Orton Waterville Kirsty Knight Green 2021–24
Julie Stevenson* Independent 2022–26
Nicola Day Green 2023–27
Stanground South Chris Harper Independent 2021–24
Ray Bisby** Independent 2022–26
Brian Rush** Independent 2023–27
Wittering Gavin Elsey** Independent 2021–24


Each ward elects up to three councillors by the first past the post system of election. Barnack and Wittering each elect one councillor, Glinton & Castor and West each elect two. All other wards elect three councillors. The current composition of the city council, following the 2023 elections, inclusive of defections and deaths, is:[67]

Party Seats
Conservative 23
Labour 14
Liberal Democrat 8
Peterborough First 8
Green Party 3
Independent 4

District elections


One third of the council is elected each year, followed by one year without elections. At the 2019 election, for example, there were 97 candidates from 9 parties contesting 20 seats and turnout at the polling stations ranged from 24% in Stanground South to 46% in Park ward.[68]

Electoral fraud

In April 2008 a former Mayor, Mohammed Choudhary, was convicted for making a false instrument, namely a poll card, in connection with vote-rigging allegations during the 2004 election.[69][70] In May 2008 chief executive, Gillian Beasley, said "People can have confidence in this result because measures that have been put in place have ensured that the vote was carried out within the law." Beasley also revealed the city council was to write a report on tackling election fraud, after the Electoral Commission said it could be adopted as best practice. As part of the drive to reduce election fraud, the council sent out blank registration forms, resulting in more than 8,000 people falling off the electoral roll.[71]

Civil parishes

Civil parishes do not cover the whole of England and mostly exist in rural areas. They are usually administered by parish councils which have various local responsibilities. Parish councillors, like city councillors, are elected to represent the views of local people. Ailsworth, Bainton, Barnack, Borough Fen, Bretton, Castor, Deeping Gate, Etton, Eye, Glinton, Helpston, Marholm, Maxey, Newborough & Borough Fen, Northborough, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville, Peakirk, Southorpe, Sutton, Thorney, Thornhaugh, Ufford, Wansford, Wittering, and Wothorpe & St Martin's Without each have a parish council. Wothorpe and St Martin's Without merged on 4 March 2020. The city council also works closely with Werrington neighbourhood association which operates on a similar basis to a parish council.[72] Parish elections are held every four years on the ordinary day of election of councillors for the unitary authority. The central part of the Peterborough urban area is an unparished area.

2016 EU Referendum

See also: Results of the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum

On Thursday 23 June 2016 Peterborough voted in the 2016 EU Referendum under the provisions of the European Union Referendum Act 2015 where voters were asked to decide on the question "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" by voting for either "Remain a member of the European Union" or "Leave the European Union". The result produced a large "Leave" majority by 61% of voters on a turnout of 72% across the city[73] with only the wards of Peterborough Central, Barnack and late postal votes in the city council area returning "Remain" votes and all other wards returning "Leave" majority votes.[citation needed] The then local MP Stewart Jackson backed "Leave", whereas local MP Shailesh Vara campaigned for a "Remain" vote.


United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016
Choice Votes %
Leave the European Union 53,216 60.89%
Remain a member of the European Union 34,176 39.11%
Valid votes 87,392 99.91%
Invalid or blank votes 77 0.09%
Total votes 87,469 100.00%
Registered voters and turnout 120,892 72.35%
Peterborough referendum result (without spoiled ballots):
53,216 (60.9%)
34,176 (39.1%)

Results by Council Wards

Council Wards Votes
Remain Leave
Barnack 1,010 955
Bretton 1,387 2,798
Central 1,728 1,617
Dogsthorpe 1,273 2,622
East 1,384 2,186
Eye, Thorney & Newborough 1,846 3,568
Fletton & Stanground 1,612 2,949
Fletton & Woodston 2,170 2,669
Glinton & Castor 1,774 2,275
Gunthorpe 1,438 2,670
Hampton Vale 1,262 1,400
Hargate & Hempsted 1,320 1,439
North 1,178 2,127
Orton Longueville 1,555 3,124
Orton Waterville 2,144 3,129
Park 1,770 1,975
Paston & Walton 1,442 3,226
Ravensthorpe 1,686 2,746
Stanground South 1,430 2,762
Werrington 2,173 3,647
West 1,482 1,904
Wittering 649 1,094
Late Postal 422 344


Coat of arms of Peterborough City Council
Granted 6 September 1960
A mural crown of six towers Gold.
Azure two keys in saltire Or enfiled by a mural crown Argent.
On either side a lion Ermine winged Argent charged on the wing with three estoiles Sable the interior paw resting on a tree trunk fesswise Proper.
Upon this rock[74]

See also


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  2. ^ Taylor, Joanna (1 November 2023). "Conservative leader of Peterborough council Wayne Fitzgerald ousted and replaced by former group member". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
  3. ^ Grinnell, Paul (9 February 2022). "New chief executive confident he can tackle Peterborough City Council's cash woes". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
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