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Peterborough City Council
Coat of arms or logo
Unitary authority council of Peterborough
John Holdich OBE, Conservative
Since 2015
Deputy Leader
Wayne Fitzgerald, Conservative
Since 2015
David Sanders, Conservative
Since 2016
Deputy Mayor
Keith Sharp, Liberal
Since 2016
Seats 60
Joint committees
East of England Local Government Association
First past the post (elected in thirds)
Last election
5 May 2016
Meeting place
Town Hall, Bridge Street, Peterborough

Peterborough City Council is the local authority for Peterborough in the East of England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. The City was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1874; from 1888, it fell within the jurisdiction of the Soke of Peterborough county council and from 1965, Huntingdon and Peterborough county council. In 1974, it was replaced by a wholly new non-metropolitan district, broadly corresponding to the Soke, in the new enlarged Cambridgeshire. In 1998, Peterborough became independent of Cambridgeshire as a unitary authority, but the city continues to form part of that county for ceremonial purposes as defined by the Lieutenancies Act 1997.

The leader and cabinet model of decision-making was adopted by the city council in 2001. The Conservative Party held control of the council from 2002 until 2014, when it became no overall control. It is a member of the East of England Local Government Association.


Peterborough Town Hall
Peterborough Town Hall


A public enquiry was held in 1873, to determine whether it would be advantageous for the city to be administered by a municipal corporation. The result being in the affirmative, the city council, sometimes archaically called the corporation, was founded by a Charter of Incorporation dated 17 March 1874, under the government of a mayor, six aldermen and 18 councillors. Something of an anomaly, the Parliamentary Boundary Commission of 1868 had decided that the urban parts of Fletton and Woodston were so involved in Peterborough that they ought to be in the borough and added the newly built-up portions of these parishes to the parliamentary constituency. In local matters they were still in Huntingdonshire and, as the City of Peterborough did not extend south of the River Nene, the full title of the new municipality was the City and Borough of Peterborough and its inhabitants, citizens and burgesses.

Watch committee

The new corporation was required to appoint a Watch Committee and a police force under the provisions of the County and Borough Police Act 1856. In 1947, the City of Peterborough Constabulary amalgamated with the Liberty of Peterborough Constabulary, which had shared its chief constable with Northamptonshire until 1931 and Peterborough thereafter, to form the Peterborough Combined Police force. This, in turn, merged into Mid-Anglia Constabulary in 1965 and was renamed Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1974. The Fire Brigades Act 1938 made it a requirement for the corporation to maintain a fire brigade; under the Fire Services Act 1947 this function passed to the councils of counties.

Bridge House Mural, Peterborough
Sunken relief at Bridge House, formerly Mitchell Engineering Limited, now in use by the city council.



In 1927, the city council submitted a memorial to the Minister of Health for permission to extend the borough boundary to include Gunthorpe, Longthorpe, Paston, Walton, Werrington and the area north-east of Fengate; this became effective from 1929. Until this point the council were using the Guildhall and a large number of subsidiary offices, but the need to widen Narrow Bridge Street and the need for a new Town Hall came together in a combined scheme, resulting in the building of the present Town Hall. It was opened in 1933 and accommodated both Peterborough city council and the former Soke of Peterborough county council.

Administrative county

Under the Local Government Act 1888, the ancient Soke of Peterborough formed an administrative county in its own right, with boundaries similar, although not identical, to the current unitary authority. Nonetheless, it remained geographically part of Northamptonshire until 1965, when the Soke of Peterborough was merged with Huntingdonshire to form the county of Huntingdon and Peterborough. The municipal borough covered the urban area only; under the Local Government Act 1972, Huntingdon and Peterborough was abolished and the current district created, including the outlying rural areas. However, as a result of intervening development and a new town project, this has a much larger population than the Soke had. Having petitioned for borough status under Section 245 of the Act, letters patent were granted continuing the style of the city over the wider area, which became part of the non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire.

Unitary authority

In 1998, the city gained autonomy from county council control as a unitary authority area, but it continues to form part of Cambridgeshire for ceremonial purposes. Policing in the city remains the responsibility of Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The police authority comprises 17 members, including nine councillors, of which seven are nominated by Cambridgeshire county council and two are nominated by Peterborough city council. Firefighting remains the responsibility of Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. The joint fire authority comprises 17 elected councillors, 13 from Cambridgeshire county council and four from Peterborough city council. Nowadays the Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade, one of few of its kind, effectively functions as a retained fire station, responding to calls as directed by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Political control

Political control of the unitary authority has been held by the following groups:

Cambridgeshire Ceremonial Numbered
The City of Peterborough (6) shown within Cambridgeshire.
Election Party Seats   +/-  
1997 Labour 25
1999 No overall control
Lab largest single party
(25) 0
2000 No overall control
Con largest single party
(27) +3
2001 No overall control
Con largest single party
(26) −1
2002 Conservative 29 +2
2004 Conservative 33 +9
2006 Conservative 35 +3
2007 Conservative 40 +5
2008 Conservative 43 +3
2010 Conservative 39 −4
2011 Conservative 38 −1
2012 Conservative 32 −6
2014 No overall control
Con largest single party
(28) +2
2015 No overall control
Con largest single party
(27) −1
2016 Conservative 31 +4

In 2016, every councillor was up for re-election following changes made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. 2017 is a fallow year and therefore there will be no elections held.


The council comprises 60 councillors who represent the city and surrounding villages. Each councillor typically serves for a four-year term, representing an electoral ward. Wards are divided so that each councillor serves an average of around 2,000 electors.

These are (in alphabetical order): Barnack, Bretton North, Bretton South, Dogsthorpe, Fletton, Glinton and Wittering, Newborough, Northborough, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville, Orton with Hampton, Park, Paston, Peterborough Central, Peterborough East, Peterborough North, Peterborough West, Ravensthorpe, Stanground Central, Stanground East, Eye and Thorney, Walton, Werrington North, and Werrington South. 15 wards comprise the Peterborough constituency for elections to the House of Commons, while the remaining nine fall within the North West Cambridgeshire constituency.


Each ward elects up to three councillors by the first past the post system of election. Barnack, Bretton South, Newborough, Northborough, and Stanground East each elect one councillor; Eye and Thorney, Glinton and Wittering, North ward, Ravensthorpe, and Walton each elect two. The current composition of the city council, following the 2016 election, is:

Party Seats   +/-  
Conservative 31 +4
Labour 14 +2
UKIP 2 −2
Liberal Democrat 7 +3
Liberal 3 0
Independent 3 −4
Conservative gain from no overall control

Labour and Co-operative candidates stand on behalf of both the Labour Party and its sister Co-operative Party. The Green Party of England and Wales also contests elections. In 2010, Peterborough Independents was registered with the Electoral Commission for the "single purpose" of creating, protecting and using a mark or logo.


Cllr John Holdich OBE (Glinton and Wittering), Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and University and former mayor (1995-1996) was appointed Leader of the Council in 2015, replacing Cllr Marco Cereste OMRI (Stanground Central), who had served in the role since 2009 but lost his seat in 2015. The Deputy Leader is currently Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald (West), Cabinet Member for Integrated Adult Social Care and Health, replacing Holdich, who had served in that role since 2013.

District elections


One third of the council is elected each year, followed by one year without elections. At the 2008 election, for example, there were 70 candidates contesting 20 seats. In 2007, turnout at the polling stations ranged from 26% in Orton Longueville to 55% in Central ward. At the previous election, voters were required to provide a signature before being issued with a ballot paper. This pilot scheme trialled new procedures which are now included in the Electoral Administration Act 2006.

Electoral fraud

In April 2008 a former Mayor, Mohammed Choudhary, was convicted for making a false instrument, namely a poll card, in connection with vote-rigging allegations during the 2004 election. In May 2008 chief executive, Gillian Beasley, said "People can have confidence in this result because measures that have been put in place have ensured that the vote was carried out within the law." Beasley also revealed the city council was to write a report on tackling election fraud, after the Electoral Commission said it could be adopted as best practice. As part of the drive to reduce election fraud, the council sent out blank registration forms, resulting in more than 8,000 people falling off the electoral roll.

Civil parishes

Civil parishes do not cover the whole of England and mostly exist in rural areas. They are usually administered by parish councils which have various local responsibilities. Parish councillors, like city councillors, are elected to represent the views of local people. Ailsworth, Bainton, Barnack, Borough Fen, Bretton, Castor, Deeping Gate, Etton, Eye, Glinton, Helpston, Marholm, Maxey, Newborough, Northborough, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville, Peakirk, St. Martin's Without (Parish Meeting), Southorpe, Sutton, Thorney, Thornhaugh, Ufford, Upton (Parish Meeting), Wansford, Wittering, and Wothorpe each have a parish council. Newborough and Borough Fen merged on 1 April 2012. The city council also works closely with Werrington neighbourhood association which operates on a similar basis to a parish council. Parish elections are held simultaneously on the ordinary day of election of councillors for the district.

By-election results

West Ward By-Election: 10 December 2009
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Nick Arculus 1,252 58.4 +4.1
Labour John Knowles 341 15.9 +0.9
[[Liberal Democrats|Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/shortname]] Ginny McDermid 224 10.4 +7.4
[[United Kingdom Independence Party|Template:United Kingdom Independence Party/meta/shortname]] Frances Fox 177 8.3 +8.3
style="background-color: Template:English Democrats Party/meta/color; width: 5px;" | [[English Democrats Party|Template:English Democrats Party/meta/shortname]] Jane Cage 93 4.3 -20.1
Green Fiona Radic 58 2.7 -0.5
Majority 911 42.5
Turnout 2,145 34.0
Conservative hold Swing
Northborough By-Election: 13 July 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Peter Hiller 393 44.6 -16.5
Independent Simon Potter 388 44.0 +18.3
[[Liberal Democrats|Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/shortname]] Peter Stead-Davis 64 7.3 +7.3
Labour Mark Duckworth 36 4.0 -9.2
Majority 5 0.6
Turnout 881 41.0
Conservative hold Swing
West Ward By-Election: 18 September 2003
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Matthew Dalton 1,405 69.5 +1.6
[[Liberal Democrats|Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/shortname]] Jessica Story 393 19.4 +8.1
Labour Michael Langford 224 11.1 -5.2
Majority 1,012 50.1
Turnout 2,022 33.2
Conservative hold Swing
Walton By-Election: 13 February 2003
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
[[Liberal Democrats|Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/shortname]] Christopher Spencer 640 52.8 +1.1
Conservative Brian Hutchinson 355 29.3 +4.5
Labour Mary Rainey 218 18.0 -5.5
Majority 285 23.5
Turnout 1,213 30.5
[[Liberal Democrats|Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/shortname]] hold Swing
North Bretton By-Election: 22 March 2001
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Angus Ellis 805 53.7 -7.4
Conservative Sheila Scott 591 39.5 +0.6
[[Liberal Democrats|Template:Liberal Democrats/meta/shortname]] Rohan Wilson 102 6.8 +6.8
Majority 214 14.2
Turnout 1,498 26.8
Labour hold Swing

2016 EU Referendum

See also: Results of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016

On Thursday 23 June 2016 Peterborough voted in the 2016 EU Referendum. The result produced a large "Leave" majority by 61% of voters on a turnout of 72% with only the wards of Peterborough Central, Barnack and late postal votes in the city council area returning "Remain" votes and all other wards returning "Leave" majority votes. local MP Stewart Jackson backed "Leave", whereas Shailesh Vara campaigned for a "Remain" vote.

Results by Council Wards

Council Wards Votes
Remain Leave
Barnack 1,010 955
Bretton 1,387 2,798
Central 1,728 1,617
Dogsthorpe 1,273 2,622
East 1,384 2,186
Eye, Thorney & Newborough 1,846 3,568
Fletton & Stanground 1,612 2,949
Fletton & Woodston 2,170 2,669
Glinton & Castor 1,774 2,275
Gunthorpe 1,438 2,670
Hampton Vale 1,262 1,400
Hargate & Hempsted 1,320 1,439
North 1,178 2,127
Orton Longueville 1,555 3,124
Orton Waterville 2,144 3,129
Park 1,770 1,975
Paston & Walton 1,442 3,226
Ravensthorpe 1,686 2,746
Stanground South 1,430 2,762
Werrington 2,173 3,647
West 1,482 1,904
Wittering 649 1,094
Late Postal 422 344

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