Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council
Mayor of Richmond upon Thames
since 16 May 2023
Leader of the Council
|5 May 2022|
|York House, Twickenham|
Richmond upon Thames London Borough 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 United Kingdom capital. Richmond upon Thames is divided into 18 wards and elections for all Council seats in the borough are held every four years. The most recent election was in 2022 when the Liberal Democrats, led by Gareth Roberts, retained overall majority control of the council for a second consecutive term.
There have previously been a number of local authorities responsible for the Richmond upon Thames area. The current local authority was first elected in 1964, a year before formally coming into its powers and prior to the creation of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames on 1 April 1965. Richmond upon Thames replaced the Municipal Borough of Twickenham in Middlesex, the Municipal Borough of Richmond and the Municipal Borough of Barnes, both then in Surrey.
It was envisaged that through the London Government Act 1963 Richmond upon Thames as a London local authority would share power with 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 local authorities responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. As an outer London borough council it has been an education authority since 1965. This arrangement lasted until 1986 when Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council gained responsibility for some services that had been provided by the Greater London Council, such as waste disposal. 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.
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. 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.
The borough council was controlled by the Conservatives from its inception to 1983 when the Liberals and the SDP won control in a by-election. The Council was then led by David Williams until he stood down in favour of Serge Lourie in 2001. Between 2002 and 2006 the council was controlled by the Conservatives under Greater London Assembly member Tony Arbour. Between 2006 and 2010 the council reverted to the Liberal Democrats under the leadership of Serge Lourie. From 2010 to 2018 it was run by the Conservative Party, initially under Lord True and then (from 2017) led by Paul Hodgins. The Liberal Democrats, led by Gareth Roberts, won control of the council at the 2018 election and retained control in the 2022 election.