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Cambridge City Council
Coat of arms or logo
Coat of arms
Non-metropolitan district
Jenny Gawthrope Wood,
Since 25 May 2023
Mike Davey,
Since 25 May 2023
Chief Executive
Robert Pollock
Since April 2021
Seats 42 councillors
Political groups
     Labour (26)
     Liberal Democrats (9)
     Green Party (5)
     Conservative (1)
     Independent (1)
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
Meeting place
The Guildhall, Cambridge - - 514416.jpg
The Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge, CB2 3QJ

Cambridge City Council is the local authority for the city of Cambridge, a non-metropolitan district with city status in Cambridgeshire, England.


Cambridge was an ancient borough. The Borough of Cambridge was granted a Royal Charter by King John in 1207 which permitted the appointment of a mayor. The earliest recorded mayor was Harvey FitzEustace, who served in 1213. The borough of Cambridge was reformed to become a municipal borough in 1836 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, which standardised how borough councils (also known as town councils or corporations) operated across the country.

Cambridge was granted city status on 21 March 1951 in recognition of its history, administrative importance, and economic success, allowing the council to call itself Cambridge City Council.

The Local Government Act 1972 reconstituted Cambridge as a non-metropolitan district with effect from 1 April 1974; it kept the same boundaries and its city status, but there were changes to the council's responsibilities.

The city of Cambridge is completely encircled by the neighbouring district of South Cambridgeshire. The two authorities work together on some projects, such as the Greater Cambridge Local Plan. Since 2017 the city has been a constituent member of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, led by the directly-elected Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.


Cambridge City Council provides district-level services, including parks and open spaces, waste collection, council housing and town planning. The Council also organises numerous events throughout the year, including the Cambridge Folk Festival and a programme of free summer entertainment entitled Summer in the City. County-level services are provided by Cambridgeshire County Council. There are no civil parishes in Cambridge; the entire district is an unparished area.

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since 2014.

The first elections to the city council as reformed under the Local Government Act 1972 were held in 1973, initially acting as a shadow authority until the new arrangements took effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:

Party in control Years
Labour 1974–1976
Conservative 1976–1979
No overall control 1979–1986
Labour 1986–1987
No overall control 1987–1988
Labour 1988–1992
No overall control 1992–1996
Labour 1996–1998
No overall control 1998–2000
Liberal Democrats 2000–2012
No overall control 2012–2014
Labour 2014–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Cambridge. Political leadership is provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 2003 have been:

Councillor Party From To
David Howarth Liberal Democrats 2000 17 Jul 2003
Ian Nimmo-Smith Liberal Democrats 17 Jul 2003 27 May 2010
Sian Reid Liberal Democrats 27 May 2010 24 May 2012
Tim Bick Liberal Democrats 24 May 2012 12 Jun 2014
Lewis Herbert Labour 12 Jun 2014 30 Nov 2021
Anna Smith Labour 30 Nov 2021 25 May 2023
Mike Davey Labour 25 May 2023


Since the 2024 election, the composition of the council has been:

Party Councillors
Labour 26
Liberal Democrats 9
Green 5
Conservative 1
Independent 1
Total 42

The next election is due in 2026.


The council meets at the Guildhall, on the south side of Market Square in the centre of Cambridge. The building was purpose-built for the old borough council and completed in 1939. The council also has offices at Mandela House at 4 Regent Street.


For electoral purposes, the city is divided into 14 wards: Abbey, Arbury, Castle, Cherry Hinton, Coleridge, East Chesterton, King's Hedges, Market, Newnham, Petersfield, Queen Edith's, Romsey, Trumpington, and West Chesterton. There are 42 city councillors with three elected in each ward.

Elections for a third of the seats take place three out of every four years. Cambridgeshire County Council elections take place in the 4th year. Due to boundary changes there was an "all up" (all Councillors are up for election) election in 2021, on the same day as other local elections.

Cambridge City Council Flag
Flag used by Cambridge City Council

See also

  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • List of mayors of Cambridge
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