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West Berkshire Council
West Berkshire Council logo
Founded1 April 1974
Jeremy Cottam,
Liberal Democrats
since 25 May 2023
Lee Dillon,
Liberal Democrats
since 25 May 2023
Chief Executive
Nigel Lynn
since 18 October 2021
Seats43 councillors
West Berkshire Council composition
Political groups
Administration (29)
  Liberal Democrats (29)
Other parties (14)
  Conservative (11)
  Green (2)
  Labour (1)
  • Overview and Scrutiny Management
  • Health Scrutiny
  • Resource Management Working Group
  • Licensing
  • District Planning
  • Eastern Area Planning
  • Western Area Planning
  • Governance and Audit
  • Personnel
  • Standards[1]
Length of term
4 years
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
May 2027
Meeting place
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.[2] 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.[3]


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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]


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:

Political group Councillors
2011 2015 2019 2023 Current
Liberal Democrats 13 4 16 29 29
Conservative 39 48 24 11 11
Green 0 0 3 2 2
Labour 0 0 0 1 1
Total 52 52 43 43 43


Post Councillor Ward
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.[7]


  1. ^ West Berkshire Council – Your Councillors. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  2. ^ "Your Councillors". 5 May 2023. Retrieved 5 May 2023.
  3. ^ "West Berkshire result - Local Elections 2023". BBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2023.
  4. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 23 February 2023
  5. ^ "The Berkshire (Structural Change) Order 1996",, The National Archives, SI 1996/1879, retrieved 23 February 2023
  6. ^ "Historical information from 1973 onwards". Boundary-Line support. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  7. ^ "Builders hand over new HQ to council". Reading Evening Post. 17 March 1982. p. 7. Retrieved 23 February 2023.