Sutton London Borough Council
Coat of arms or logo
Coat of arms
Council logo
Colin Stears,
Liberal Democrat
since 22 May 2023[1][2]
Barry Lewis,
Liberal Democrat
since 20 May 2024
Helen Bailey
since 2019[3]
Seats54 councillors
Sutton London Borough Council composition
Political groups
  Liberal Democrat (29)
Other parties
  Conservative (20)
  Independent (3)
  Labour (3)
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
7 May 2026
Meeting place
Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA

Sutton London Borough Council, also known as Sutton Council, is the local authority for the London Borough of Sutton 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 1990. The council is based at the Civic Offices in Sutton.


The London Borough of Sutton and its council were created under the London Government Act 1963, with the first election held in 1964.[4] For its first year the council acted as a shadow authority alongside the area's three outgoing authorities, being the municipal borough councils of Sutton and Cheam and Beddington and Wallington, and the urban district council of Carshalton. The new council formally came into its powers on 1 April 1965, at which point the old districts and their councils were abolished.[5]

The council's full legal name is "The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Sutton".[6]

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 Sutton) responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. As an outer London borough council Sutton 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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

Political control

The council has been under Liberal Democrat majority control since 1990.

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:[11]

Party in control Years
Conservative 1965–1971
No overall control 1971–1974
Conservative 1974–1986
No overall control 1986–1990
Liberal Democrats 1990–present


The role of Mayor of Sutton is largely ceremonial. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1965 have been:[12][13]

Councillor Party From To
Tag Taylor Conservative 1965 1973
John Charles Cox Conservative 1973 1976
Robin Squire Conservative 1976 1980
David Trafford Conservative 1980 1986
Graham Tope Liberal 1986 1988
Liberal Democrats 1988 1999
Mike Cooper Liberal Democrats 1999 16 Oct 2002
Sean Brennan Liberal Democrats 18 Nov 2002 21 May 2012
Ruth Dombey Liberal Democrats 21 May 2012 20 May 2024
Barry Lewis[14] Liberal Democrats 20 May 2024


Following the 2022 election, the composition of the council was:[15]

Party Councillors
Liberal Democrats 29
Conservative 20
Labour 3
Independent 3
Total 55

The next election is due in 2026.


See also: Sutton London Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2022 the council has comprised 55 councillors representing 20 wards, with each ward electing two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[16]


The council is based at the Civic Offices on St Nicholas Way in the centre of Sutton. The building was purpose-built for the council in phases between 1972 and 1975. In 2022 the council announced plans to develop a new headquarters on part of the site of the St Nicholas Shopping Centre on the High Street.[17][18]


  1. ^ "Council minutes, 22 May 2023". Sutton Council. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  2. ^ "Council appoints Sutton's Mayor for 2024/25 at its annual meeting". Sutton Council. 21 May 2024. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  3. ^ Kituno, Nick (14 February 2019). "Sutton Council set to appoint Helen Bailey as new chief executive". Your Local Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  4. ^ "London Government Act 1963",, The National Archives, 1978 c. 33, retrieved 16 May 2024
  5. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0901050679.
  6. ^ "Baseline Agreement" (PDF). Kippa Bid. Retrieved 28 April 2024.
  7. ^ "Local Government Act 1985",, The National Archives, 1985 c. 51, retrieved 5 April 2024
  8. ^ Leach, Steve (1998). Local Government Reorganisation: The Review and its Aftermath. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-0714648590.
  9. ^ "Council Tax and Business Rates Billing Authorities". Council Tax Rates. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Local Plan Responses – within and outside London". Mayor of London. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  12. ^ "Council minutes". Sutton Council. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  13. ^ "London Boroughs Political Almanac". London Councils. Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  14. ^ "New Leader of Sutton Council chosen". 2024-05-20. Retrieved 2024-05-22.
  15. ^ "Elections 2022: Sutton election result". BBC News. Retrieved 28 April 2024.
  16. ^ "The London Borough of Sutton (Electoral Changes) Order 2020",, The National Archives, SI 2020/1225, retrieved 28 April 2024
  17. ^ O'Connor, Tara (16 November 2022). "Sutton Council plans to sell offices and move to High Street". Your Local Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2024.
  18. ^ "Sutton Civic and Town Centre Regeneration". Sutton Council.