Warrington Borough Council
Whole council elected every four years
Arms of Warrington Borough Council
Wendy Johnson,
Liberal Democrats
since 1 July 2024[1]
Mo Hussain,
since 1 July 2024[2]
Hans Mundry,
since 4 Dec 2023
Steven Broomhead
since June 2012[3]
Seats58 councillors[4]
Warrington Borough Council composition
Political groups
Administration (42)
  Labour (42)
Other Parties (16)
  Liberal Democrats (12)
  Independent (3)
  Conservative (1)
Length of term
4 years
Last election
2 May 2024
Next election
4 May 2028
Meeting place
Town Hall, Sankey Street, Warrington, WA1 1UH

Warrington Borough Council is the local authority of Warrington, Cheshire, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. It provides a full range of local government services including Council Tax billing, libraries, social services, processing planning applications, waste collection and disposal, and it is a local education authority.


The town of Warrington was made a municipal borough in 1847, governed by a body formally called the "mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the borough of Warrington", generally known as the corporation, town council or borough council.[5] This first incarnation of the borough council replaced an earlier body of improvement commissioners which had governed the town since 1813.[6] From its creation in 1847 the borough straddled Lancashire and Cheshire, with the county boundary being the River Mersey; the town centre and most of the built-up area was on the north bank of the river in Lancashire, but the borough also included the built-up parts of Latchford on the south bank of the river in Cheshire.[5]

In 1889 boroughs which straddled county boundaries were placed entirely in the county which had the majority of the population, and so the part of the borough south of the Mersey was transferred from Cheshire to Lancashire.[7] The borough boundaries were subsequently enlarged on several occasions, notably in 1890, 1933 and 1954.[8][9]

In 1900 Warrington was made a county borough, making it independent from Lancashire County Council, whilst remaining part of Lancashire for ceremonial purposes.[10]

The borough was substantially enlarged in 1974, taking in a number of surrounding parishes from both Lancashire and Cheshire, including Lymm, which had been a separate urban district. The enlarged borough was transferred from Lancashire to Cheshire and was redesignated as a non-metropolitan district, with Cheshire County Council providing county-level services.[11] The borough regained control of county-level functions 24 years later in 1998 when it was made a unitary authority. It remains part of Cheshire for ceremonial purposes.[12][13]


As a unitary authority, Warrington Borough Council has the functions of a county council and district council combined. In its capacity as a district council it is a billing authority collecting Council Tax and business rates, it processes local planning applications, it is responsible for housing, waste collection and environmental health. In its capacity as a county council it is a local education authority, responsible for social services, libraries and waste disposal.[14] Parts of the borough are also covered by civil parishes, which form a second tier of local government for their areas.[15]

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since 2011.

Political control of the council since the 1974 reforms has been as follows:[16]

Non-metropolitan district

Party in control Years
Conservative 1974–1979
No overall control 1979–1983
Labour 1983–1998

Unitary authority

Party in control Years
Labour 1998–2006
No overall control 2006–2011
Labour 2011–present


The role of Mayor of Warrington is largely ceremonial. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1985 have been:[17]

Councillor Party From To
Mike Hall Labour 1985 1992
John Gartside Labour 1992 23 May 2002
Mike Hughes[18] Labour 23 May 2002 23 Feb 2004
John Joyce Labour 23 Feb 2004 22 May 2006
Ian Marks Liberal Democrats 22 May 2006 23 May 2011
Terry O'Neill[19] Labour 23 May 2011 17 Dec 2018
Russ Bowden Labour 17 Dec 2018 4 Dec 2023
Hans Mundry Labour 4 Dec 2023

The Mayors since 1998 have been:[20]

Councillor Party From To
Albert Clemow Labour 1998 1999
Tom Swift Labour 1999 2000
Sheila Woodyatt Conservative 2000 2001
Jeff Richards Labour 2001 2002
George Warburton Labour 2002 2003
Pauline Nelson Labour 2003 2004
Edward Lafferty Liberal Democrats 2004 2005
Hans Mundry Labour 2005 2006
Linda Dirir Labour 2006 2007
Celia Jordan Liberal Democrats 2007 2008
Graham Welborne Liberal Democrats 2008 2009
Brian Axcell Liberal Democrats 2009 2010
John Joyce Labour 2010 2011
Michael Biggin Liberal Democrats 2011 2012
Steve Wright Labour 2012 2013
Peter Carey Labour 2013 2014
Ted Finnegan Liberal Democrats 2014 2015
Geoff Settle Labour 2015 2016
Faisal Rashid Labour 2016 2017
Les Morgan Labour 2017 2018
Karen Mundry Labour 2018 2019
Wendy Johnson Liberal Democrats 2019 2020
Maureen Creaghan Labour 2021 2022
Jean Flaherty Labour 2022 2023
Steve Wright Labour 2023 2024
Wendy Johnson Liberal Democrats 2024 2025

The Mayor's role is to perform civic duties across the Borough, such as attending large events in different communities and taking the lead on certain recognised days, such as Remembrance Sunday. The Mayor has no power over policies, as that is the job of the Leader. The Mayor also chairs Full Council meetings. Though elected as a Councillor representing a particular Party, the Mayor remains impartial when chairing but also has a vote of their own (often voting with their Party line).


Following the 2024 election, the composition of the council was:

Party Councillors
Labour 42
Liberal Democrats 12
Independent 3
Conservative 1
Total 58

The next elections are due in May 2028.


See also: Warrington Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2016 the council has comprised 58 councillors representing 22 wards, with each ward electing two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[21]


The council generally meets at Warrington Town Hall on Sankey Street. The building was originally built in 1750 as a large house, and was formerly called Bank Hall. It was bought by the borough council in 1870 and converted into a town hall, with its grounds becoming a public park.[22]

The council's main offices are at 1 Time Square which was completed in 2020, replacing earlier offices at New Town House on Scotland Road which have since been demolished.[23][24]


Elected members have approved a number of significant commercial investments by the local authority. In September 2016, Warrington Borough Council became one of the first local councils in the UK to buy clean-tech bonds in Swindon Solar Park through its owner, specialist investment management firm Rockfire Capital.[25]

In September 2019, the council acquired a 50% shareholding in Clydebank-based energy retailer Together Energy for £18m.[26][27] In September 2020, Bristol Energy's brand and residential accounts – 155,000 meter points – were sold by Bristol City Council to Together Energy for £14 million.[28] In August 2021, Warrington Council's total financial exposure to Together Energy was reported to be £41.2m.[29] In October 2021, Ofgem issued a provisional order to several suppliers, including Together Energy, who had not made Renewables Obligation payments; Together Energy's obligation was over £12m.[30] Following sharp increases in wholesale gas and electricity prices which began in autumn 2021,[31] Together Energy Retail Ltd announced on 18 January 2022 that it was ceasing to trade.[32][31]

Other loans and investments include almost £30 million paid in stages between 2017 and 2019 for a 33% stake in Redwood Bank, a "challenger bank" which has a Warrington office.[33] In 2021 a £202m loan facility, secured against commercial property, was provided to Matt Moulding, founder of Cheshire-based e-commerce business The Hut Group.[34][35]

In September 2021, the council confirmed that its borrowing had reached £1.7 billion, but that the current value of its investment assets were £2.173 billion.[36]

In May 2024, just after the local election, it was announced by the Government that they had commissioned a "Best Value" inspection into the council's finances.[37]


  1. ^ https://www.warrington.gov.uk/news/wendy-johnson-be-mayor-warrington-second-time
  2. ^ https://www.warrington.gov.uk/news/wendy-johnson-be-mayor-warrington-second-time
  3. ^ Skentelbery, Gary (4 December 2013). "Broomhead re-appointed to top job". Warrington Worldwide. Retrieved 16 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Councillors | warrington.gov.uk". www.warrington.gov.uk.
  5. ^ a b "Warrington Improvement and Market Act 1854". legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  6. ^ "Warrington Improvement and Bridewell Act 1813". legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  7. ^ Local Government Act 1888
  8. ^ "Warrington Extension and Water Act 1890". legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  9. ^ "Warrington Extension Act 1932". legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  10. ^ "Warrington Municipal Borough / County Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  11. ^ Local Government Act 1972
  12. ^ "The Cheshire (Boroughs of Halton and Warrington) (Structural Change) Order 1996", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1996/1863, retrieved 19 January 2024
  13. ^ "Lieutenancies Act 1997", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1997 c. 23, retrieved 19 January 2024
  14. ^ Sandford, Mark (22 July 2021). Unitary local government (Report). House of Commons Library. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  15. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  16. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  17. ^ "Council minutes". Warrington Borough Council. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  18. ^ "Hughes to resign this month, say sources". Warrington Guardian. 3 February 2004. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  19. ^ Dhillon, Aran (28 October 2019). "Former council leader Terry O'Neill dies". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  20. ^ "Mayor's role and history | warrington.gov.uk". www.warrington.gov.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2024.
  21. ^ "The Warrington (Electoral Changes) Order 2016", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2016/115, retrieved 19 January 2024
  22. ^ Historic England. "Town Hall, Warrington (Grade I) (1329725)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  23. ^ "New council offices bring financial benefits". Warrington Borough Council. Retrieved 19 January 2024.
  24. ^ Barnes, Jessica (21 September 2022). "New Town House demolition begins in Warrington town centre". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 19 January 2024.
  25. ^ "Solar farm deal to generate council cash". www.themj.co.uk. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Tories raise further "serious concerns" over being denied access to Auditor's letter". 7 September 2021.
  27. ^ "Bristol Energy: Troubled company sells off domestic customer base". BBC News. 8 September 2020.
  28. ^ "Bristol Energy: Troubled company sells off domestic customer base". BBC News. 8 September 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  29. ^ "Council remains confident in investment in Together Energy despite growing condemnation". 14 August 2021.
  30. ^ "Ofgem orders seven suppliers to pay £17.9m in unpaid Renewables Obligations payments".
  31. ^ a b Pickard, Jim; Thomas, Nathalie (7 January 2022). "UK council has £52m exposure to troubled power company". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  32. ^ Lempriere, Molly (18 January 2022). "Together Energy becomes first supplier to collapse in 2022 amidst continuing high power prices". Current. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  33. ^ Dhillon, Aran (24 September 2019). "Redwood Bank under 'close scrutiny' from Bank of England". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  34. ^ Dhillon, Aran (27 August 2021). "Warrington Borough Council loans £151m to The Hut Group". Warrington Guardian. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  35. ^ Ambrose, Jillian (26 August 2021). "Warrington council lends billionaire founder of the Hut Group £151m". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  36. ^ "Council debt totals £1.7bn – but value of assets worth more".
  37. ^ "Best value inspection | warrington.gov.uk". www.warrington.gov.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2024.