Suffolk County Council
Coat of arms or logo
Keith Robinson,
since 25 May 2023[1]
Matthew Hicks,
since 24 May 2018
Nicola Beach
since May 2018[2]
Seats75 seats
Political groups
Administration (53)
  Conservative (53)
Other parties (22)
  Green (9)
  Labour (5)
  Liberal Democrats (5)
  Independent (2)
  West Suffolk Ind. (1)
Length of term
4 years
Last election
7 May 2021
Next election
1 May 2025
Meeting place
Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX

Suffolk County Council is the administrative authority for the county of Suffolk, England. It is run by 75 elected county councillors representing 63 divisions. It is a member of the East of England Local Government Association.


Elected county councils were created in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888, taking over administrative functions that had been previously been performed by unelected magistrates at the court of quarter sessions. In most counties the quarter sessions were held at a single location, but in Suffolk the custom was long-established of holding the quarter sessions across several days, sitting in different towns.[3] Prior to 1860 the court sat in the four towns of Beccles, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Woodbridge. In 1860 the Beccles and Woodbridge divisions merged with the Ipswich one to form the eastern division, and the area administered from Bury St Edmunds became known as the western division.[4]

Officially it remained one court of quarter sessions which adjourned after each day of hearings and travelled to a new venue, and the original draft bill in 1888 therefore envisaged that there would be a single Suffolk County Council. As the bill progressed through its parliamentary processes an amendment was proposed by Frederick Hervey, 3rd Marquess of Bristol, who lived at Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds, that the eastern and western divisions of the county should instead become separate administrative counties. The amendment was agreed by 59 votes to 20 in the House of Lords.[5] It was also agreed that the borough of Ipswich was large enough to provide its own county-level functions and so it was made a county borough. Suffolk therefore had three county-level authorities after 1889: West Suffolk County Council, East Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Corporation.[6]

This system continued until 1974, when the Local Government Act 1972 abolished the separate county councils for East Suffolk and West Suffolk and downgraded Ipswich to providing district-level services only. In their place, Suffolk County Council was created with responsibility for county-level services across the whole county. Initially based at East Suffolk County Hall in Ipswich, the council relocated to Endeavour House in 2004.[7]

In September 2010, the council announced that it would seek to outsource a number of its services, in an attempt to cut its budget by 30%.[8] Controversy surrounding the then chief executive Andrea Hill, some concerning £122,000 spent on management consultants, featured in the local and national press in 2011;[9] this led to her facing a disciplinary hearing, and subsequently resigning.[10]


Suffolk County Council provides county-level services. District-level services are provided by the area's five district councils:[11]

With the exception of Ipswich, the rest of the county is covered by civil parishes, which form a third tier of local government.[12]

Political control

The council has been under Conservative majority control since 2017.

The first election to the county council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[13][14]

Party in control Years
Conservative 1974–1993
No overall control 1993–2005
Conservative 2005–2016
No overall control 2016–2017
Conservative 2017–present


The leaders of the council since 1984 have been:[15]

Councillor Party From To
Christopher Penn[16] Conservative 1984 18 May 1993
Chris Mole[17] Labour 18 May 1993 22 Nov 2001
Jane Hore Labour 18 Dec 2001 22 May 2003
Bryony Rudkin Labour 22 May 2003 26 May 2005
Jeremy Pembroke Conservative 26 May 2005 1 Apr 2011
Mark Bee Conservative 26 May 2011 21 May 2015
Colin Noble Conservative 21 May 2015 24 May 2018
Matthew Hicks Conservative 24 May 2018


Following the 2021 election and subsequent by-elections and changes of allegiance up to October 2023, the composition of the council was:

Party Councillors
Conservative 53
Green 9
Labour 5
Liberal Democrats 5
Independent 2
West Suffolk Independents 1
Total 75

The Greens, Liberal Democrats, West Suffolk Independent and one of the independent councillors sit as a group.[18] The next election is due in 2025.


West Suffolk House, the council's area office in Bury St Edmunds, shared with West Suffolk Council.

The council is based at Endeavour House at 8 Russell Road in Ipswich. It also maintains area offices in Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.[19] Endeavour House was built in 2003. It was originally commissioned as private offices but was bought by the county council whilst still under construction; the council moved into the building in 2004.[20] Since 2017 the council has shared the building with Babergh District Council and Mid Suffolk District Council.[21]

County Hall, St Helen's Street, Ipswich: Council's headquarters until 2004.

Previously the council was based at County Hall on St Helen's Street in Ipswich, the oldest parts of which had been built in 1837 as a jail and courthouse, which had been one of the meeting places of the quarter sessions.[22] The building had become the meeting place of East Suffolk County Council after 1889, and that council had built substantial extensions to the building, notably in 1906 with an office block, new council chamber and clock tower at the corner of St Helen's Street and Bond Street.[23]

Both County Hall and the Shire Hall in Bury St Edmunds had been inherited by Suffolk County Council from the two former county councils when local government was reorganised in 1974; Shire Hall served as an area office until 2009 when the council moved its Bury St Edmunds office to West Suffolk House, a new building shared with St Edmundsbury Borough Council (West Suffolk Council after 2019).[24][25]


See also: Suffolk County Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2005 the council has comprised 75 councillors representing 63 electoral divisions, with each division electing one or two councillors. Elections are held every four years.[26] New division boundaries reducing the number of councillors to 70 have been drawn up to come into effect for the 2025 election.[27]

Electoral divisions

Main article: List of electoral wards in Suffolk § County Council

As of 2021, there were 63 divisions of which 51 each returned a single member, a further 12 divisions each being represented by two members.[28] Each councillor is responsible for their own Locality budget which amounted to £8,000 for the 2021/2022 financial year.[29]

District No. Division Councillor
Babergh District 1 Belstead Brook Christopher Hudson
2 Cosford Robert Lindsay
3 Great Cornard Peter Beer
4 Hadleigh Mick Fraser
5 Melford Richard Kemp
6 Peninsula Simon Harley
7 Samford Georgia Hall
8 Stour Valley James Finch
9 Sudbury Jessie Carter
10 Sudbury East and Waldingfield Philip Faircloth-Mutton
Mid Suffolk District 26 Bosmere Kay Oakes
27 Gipping Valley Chris Chambers
28 Hartismere Jessica Fleming
29 Hoxne & Eye Peter Gould
30 Stowmarket North & Stowupland Keith Welham
31 Stowmarket South Keith Scarff
32 Thedwastre North Andy Mellen
33 Thedwastre South Penny Otton
34 Thredling Matthew Hicks
35 Upper Gipping Andrew Stringer
Borough of Ipswich 16 Bixley Paul West
17 Bridge Rob Bridgeman
18 Chantry Nathan Wilson
Nadia Cenci
19 Gainsborough Liz Harsant
20 Priory Heath Bill Quinton
21 Rushmere Sandy Martin
22 St Helen's Elizabeth Johnson
23 St John's Sarah Adams
24 St Margaret's and Westgate Debbie Richards
Inga Lockington
25 Whitehouse and Whitton Sam Murray
David Goldsmith
East Suffolk District 45 Aldeburgh and Leiston T-J Haworth-Culf
46 Blything Richard Smith
47 Carlford Elaine Bryce
48 Felixstowe Coastal Steve Wiles
Graham Newman
49 Felixstowe North and Trimley Stuart Bird
50 Framlingham Stephen Burroughes
51 Kesgrave and Rushmere St Andrew Stuart Lawson
Debbie McCallum
52 Martlesham Patti Mulcahy
53 Wickham Alexander Nicoll
54 Wilford Andrew Reid
55 Woodbridge Caroline Page
56 Beccles Caroline Topping
Peggy McGregor
57 Bungay Judy Cloke
58 Gunton James Reeder
Ryan Harvey
59 Halesworth Annette Dunning
60 Kessingland and Southwold Michael Ladd
61 Lowestoft South Jenny Ceresa
Jamie Starling
62 Oulton Edward Back
Keith Robinson
63 Pakefield Craig Rivett
Melanie Vigo di Gallidoro
West Suffolk District 11 Brandon Victor Lukaniuk
12 Exning and Newmarket Rachel Hood
13 Mildenhall Lance Stanbury
14 Newmarket and Red Lodge Andy Drummond
15 Row Heath Colin Noble
36 Blackbourn Joanna Spicer
37 Clare Roberta Bennett
38 Eastgate and Moreton Hall Peter Thompson
39 Harwick Richard Rout
40 Haverhill Cangle Joe Mason
Heike Sowa
41 Haverhill East and Kedington David Roach
42 Thingoe North Beccy Hopfensperger
43 Thingoe South Karen Soons
44 Tower Robert Everitt
David Nettleton


  1. ^ "Council minutes, 25 May 2023". Suffolk County Council. Retrieved 2 January 2024.
  2. ^ "Chief Executive Officer". Suffolk County Council. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  3. ^ Reports of cases argued and determined in the Queen's Bench Practice Court. 1848. p. 628. Retrieved 2 January 2024.
  4. ^ White, William (1874). History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk. Sheffield. p. 1. Retrieved 2 January 2024.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ "Parliamentary Intelligence: The Local Government Bill in the House of Lords". The Times. London. 7 August 1888. p. 7.
  6. ^ "Local Government Act 1888",, The National Archives, 1888 c. 41, retrieved 2 January 2024
  7. ^ Noble, Jason (27 December 2018). "New plans revealed for former County Hall in Ipswich". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 25 August 2020. The historic former County Hall offices in St Helen's Street have been unoccupied since Suffolk County Council moved out in 2004 to Endeavour House.
  8. ^ "Suffolk County Council to outsource most services". BBC News. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  9. ^ Private Eye
  10. ^ "Council chief Andrea Hill quits Suffolk Council". BBC News. 6 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  12. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  13. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  14. ^ "Suffolk". BBC News Online. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  15. ^ "Council minutes". Suffolk County Council. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  16. ^ Geater, Paul (9 October 2012). "Suffolk: Tributes paid to former county council leader Christopher Penn". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  17. ^ "Two parties work together for council". Bury Free Press. Bury St Edmunds. 21 May 1993. p. 7. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  18. ^ "Councillors by group" (PDF). Suffolk County Council. Retrieved 2 January 2024.
  19. ^ "Suffolk County Council offices". Suffolk County Council. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  20. ^ "Unite and Rule". 28 May 2004. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  21. ^ Geater, Paul (7 August 2017). "Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils set to move to Ipswich in September". East Anglian Daily Times. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  22. ^ Historic England. "County Hall Main Entrance Block, St Helen's Street (Grade II) (1207685)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  23. ^ "Ipswich's former County Hall". Victorian Society. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  24. ^ "Contact us". Suffolk County Council. Archived from the original on 11 April 2004. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  25. ^ Bunn, Roderic. "West Suffolk House" (PDF). Usable Buildings. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  26. ^ "The County of Suffolk (Electoral Changes) Order 2002",, The National Archives, SI 2002/3252, retrieved 3 January 2024
  27. ^ "The Suffolk (Electoral Changes) Order 2022",, The National Archives, SI 2022/823, retrieved 3 January 2024
  28. ^ "Electoral Divisions – Key to Map" (PDF). Suffolk County Council. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Councillor's Locality Budget". Suffolk County Council. Retrieved 4 March 2022.