West Berkshire Council
|Founded||1 April 1974|
since 25 May 2023
since 25 May 2023
since 18 October 2021
Length of term
|4 May 2023|
|Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury, RG14 5LD|
West Berkshire Council is the local authority of West Berkshire in Berkshire, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. West Berkshire is divided into 24 wards, electing 43 councillors. The council was created by the Local Government Act 1972 as the Newbury District Council and replaced five local authorities: Bradfield Rural District Council, Hungerford Rural District Council, Newbury Borough Council, Newbury Rural District Council and Wantage Rural District Council. On 1 April 1998 it was renamed West Berkshire Council and since then has been a unitary authority, assuming the powers and functions of the abolished Berkshire County Council within the district. In the 2023 election the Liberal Democrats won 29 out of 43 seats.
The council was formed by the Local Government Act 1972 as the Newbury District Council. It replaced Bradfield Rural District Council, Hungerford Rural District Council, Newbury Borough Council, Newbury Rural District Council and Wantage Rural District Council. The first election to the Newbury District Council was held in 1973, initially acting as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the district formally came into being on 1 April 1974.
From 1974 until 1998 Newbury District Council was a lower-tier district authority, with Berkshire County Council being the upper-tier authority for the area. In 1998 Berkshire County Council was abolished and the county's six districts became unitary authorities, taking over the functions of the county council within their respective areas. During the transition period the council decided to change the district's name from Newbury to West Berkshire with effect from 1 April 1998, being the same day the council became a unitary authority.
See also: West Berkshire Council elections
West Berkshire Council is elected every four years, with, currently, 43 councillors being elected at each election. From the first election to the unitary authority in 1997 to the 2003 election the Liberal Democrats had a majority and they then kept control with the chairman's casting vote until 2005.
In 2005 the Conservative party gained a majority, which they held until 2023.
In the 2023 United Kingdom local elections, the Liberal Democrats gained a majority following the Conservative Party losing over half their councillors.
The council composition is:
|Leader of the Council
Portfolio Holder for Strategy, Communications and Public Safety
|Lee Dillon||Thatcham North East|
|Deputy Leader of the Council
Portfolio Holder for Governance and Transformation
|Jeff Brooks||Thatcham West|
|Portfolio Holder for Finance and Corporate Services||Iain Cottingham||Thatcham Central|
|Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Growth and Strategy Development||Martin Colston||Newbury Central|
|Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health Integration||Alan Macro||Theale|
|Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Young People’s Services||Heather Codling||Chieveley and Cold Ash|
|Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Culture, Leisure, Sport and Countryside||Janine Lewis||Tilehurst and Purley|
|Portfolio Holder for Climate Action, Recycling and Biodiversity||Adrian Abbs||Newbury Wash Common|
|Portfolio Holder for Highways, Housing and Sustainable Travel||Denise Gaines||Hungerford and Kintbury|
|Portfolio Holder for Planning and Community Engagement||Tony Vickers||Hungerford and Kintbury|
The council's headquarters are the Council Offices on Market Street in Newbury. The building was purpose-built for Newbury District Council at a cost of £3.5 million and was completed in 1982.