Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council
Coat of arms or logo
Coat of arms
Council logo
Suzette Nicholson,
Liberal Democrat
since 16 May 2023[1]
Mike Jackson
since 2022[3]
Seats54 councillors[4]
Richmond Council composition
Political groups
Administration (49)
  Liberal Democrat (49)
Opposition (5)
  Green Party (5)
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
7 May 2026
Meeting place
York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AA

Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council, also known as Richmond upon Thames Council, LBRUT or Richmond Council, is the local authority for the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in London. The council has been under Liberal Democrat majority control since 2018. Although the borough is named after Richmond, the council meets at York House in Twickenham, and has its main offices in the adjoining Civic Centre.


There had been a borough called Richmond since 1890 when the Municipal Borough of Richmond was created.[5] It was enlarged in 1892 to include Kew, Petersham and North Sheen, and again in 1933 to include Ham.[6]

The modern borough was created in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963, covering the combined area of the former borough of Richmond plus the neighbouring Municipal Borough of Barnes and the Municipal Borough of Twickenham. Barnes and Richmond had both been in Surrey prior to the reforms, whilst Twickenham had been in Middlesex. The area was transferred to Greater London to become one of the 32 London boroughs. The new borough was named 'Richmond upon Thames' rather than just Richmond as the old borough had been called; it is the only London borough to straddle the River Thames.[7] The council's full legal name is the "Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames".[8]

From 1965 until 1986 the council was a lower-tier authority, with upper-tier functions provided by the Greater London Council. The split of powers and functions meant that the Greater London Council was responsible for "wide area" services such as fire, ambulance, flood prevention, and refuse disposal; with the boroughs (including Richmond upon Thames) responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. As an outer London borough council Richmond upon Thames has been a local education authority since 1965. The Greater London Council was abolished in 1986 and its functions passed to the London Boroughs, with some services provided through joint committees.[9]

Since 2000 the Greater London Authority has taken some responsibility for highways and planning control from the council, but within the English local government system the council remains a "most purpose" authority in terms of the available range of powers and functions.[10]

Since 2016 the council has shared a chief executive and other staff with neighbouring Wandsworth Council.[3]


The local authority derives its powers and functions from the London Government Act 1963 and subsequent legislation, and has the powers and functions of a London borough council. It sets council tax and as a billing authority also collects precepts for Greater London Authority functions and business rates.[11] It sets planning policies which complement Greater London Authority and national policies, and decides on almost all planning applications accordingly. It is a local education authority and is also responsible for council housing, social services, libraries, waste collection and disposal, traffic, and most roads and environmental health.[12]

Political composition

The council has been under Liberal Democrat majority control since 2018.

The first election was held in 1964, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until it came into its powers on 1 April 1965. Political control of the council since 1965 has been as follows:[13]

Party in control Years
Conservative 1965–1982
No overall control 1982–1983
Alliance 1983–1988
Liberal Democrats 1988–2002
Conservative 2002–2006
Liberal Democrats 2006–2010
Conservative 2010–2018
Liberal Democrats 2018–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Richmond. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1965 have been:[14][15]

Councillor Party From To
Harry Hall Conservative 1965 1978
John Barker Conservative 1978 1980
Keith Morell Conservative 1980 1983
David Williams Liberal 1983 3 Mar 1988
Liberal Democrats 3 Mar 1988 22 May 2001
Serge Lourie Liberal Democrats 22 May 2001 13 May 2002
Tony Arbour Conservative 13 May 2002 16 May 2006
Serge Lourie Liberal Democrats 16 May 2006 9 May 2010
Nicholas True Conservative 25 May 2010 4 Jul 2017
Paul Hodgins Conservative 4 Jul 2017 22 May 2018
Gareth Roberts Liberal Democrats align=right|22 May 2018


Following the 2022 election and by-elections in January 2024, the composition of the council was:[16][17]

Party Councillors
Liberal Democrats 49
Green 5
Total 54

The next election is due in May 2026.


The council meets at York House, a large 17th century house in the centre of Twickenham.[18] The house had been bought in 1923 by the old Twickenham Urban District Council (predecessor of Twickenham Borough Council) and converted to become its headquarters.[19] In 1990 the council moved its main offices to a new purpose-built Civic Centre at 44 York Street, immediately west of York House.[20] The Civic Centre was partly built behind the retained Victorian façade of a parade of shops at the corner of York Street and Church Street.[21]


See also: Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2022, the council has comprised 54 councillors representing 18 wards, with each ward electing three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[22]

Notable former councillors


  1. ^ "New Mayor to raise money for Age UK Richmond and SEEN". Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council. Retrieved 17 May 2023.
  2. ^ "Local Election – Thursday, 3 May 2018". 2018 Council Election results. London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Wandsworth and Richmond Councils choose new Chief Executive". Wandsworth Council. Retrieved 26 April 2024.
  4. ^ "Your Councillors". London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  5. ^ "No. 26049". The London Gazette. 9 May 1890. p. 2681.
  6. ^ "Richmond Municipal Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  7. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-901050-67-9.
  8. ^ "Unilateral undertaking template". Richmond Council. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  9. ^ "Local Government Act 1985",, The National Archives, 1985 c. 51, retrieved 5 April 2024
  10. ^ Leach, Steve (1998). Local Government Reorganisation: The Review and its Aftermath. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-0714648590.
  11. ^ "Council Tax and Business Rates Billing Authorities". Council Tax Rates. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Local Plan Responses – within and outside London". Mayor of London. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  14. ^ "Council minutes". Richmond upon Thames Council. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  15. ^ "London Boroughs Political Almanac". London Councils. Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  16. ^ Uyal, Berk (6 May 2022). "Richmond local election results 2022: Liberal Democrats hold". Richmond and Twickenham Times. London. p. 1. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  17. ^ Burford, Rachael (19 January 2024). "London by-elections: Tories 'wiped out in their former heartlands' but Labour suffer blow in Hackney". The Standard. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  18. ^ Historic England. "York House, garden walls wrought iron gates and boundary walls along Sion Road on the east side and Riverside on the south (Grade II*) (1263365)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  19. ^ Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher (1993). The London Encyclopaedia. London: PaperMac. p. 1004. ISBN 0333576888. OCLC 28963301.
  20. ^ "Richmond Council office moves update". Richmond Informer. 13 April 1990. p. 18. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  21. ^ "Bank backs civic centre: Work starts soon on council offices". Richmond Informer. 18 June 1987. p. 1. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  22. ^ "The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (Electoral Changes) Order 2020",, The National Archives, SI 2020/1230, retrieved 27 April 2024
  23. ^ Grossman, Wendy (22 August 2016). "David Blomfield obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  24. ^ Tonge, Jenny (Autumn 2016). "Tribute to David Blomfield MBE" (PDF). The Kew Society Newsletter. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  25. ^ Fleming, Christine (10 January 2011). "Former Hampton councillor Dee Doocey welcomed into House of Lords". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Dee Doocey". Liberal Democrats (UK). Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Sally Hamwee". Liberal Democrats (UK). Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  28. ^ Wickham, Chris (14 May 2010). "Ex-Richmond Council leader Serge Lourie loses seat after 28 years". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  29. ^ "Cllr Nicholas True, Leader of Richmond Council, has announced he will step down". Richmond and Twickenham Times. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  30. ^ Razzall, Tim (2014). Chance Encounters: Tales from a Varied Life. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84954-820-5.
  31. ^ Welch, Ben (3 March 2017). "Borough's longest-serving council leader and 'towering figure' of local politics to be awarded freedom of Richmond". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 25 May 2019.