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Charter trustees

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Title: Charter trustees  
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Subject: Borough status in the United Kingdom, High steward (civic), Unparished area, List of cities in the United Kingdom, Rochester, Kent
Collection: Local Government in the United Kingdom
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Charter trustees

In England and Wales, charter trustees are set up to maintain the continuity of a town charter or city charter after a district with the status of a borough or city has been abolished, until such time as a parish council is established. Duties are limited to ceremonial activities such as the election of a mayor, and various other functions depending upon local customs and laws.

The charter trustees are made up of local councillors in the district representing wards within the boundaries of the town/city. In the event that there are less than three district councillors for the former borough, qualified local electors may be co-opted to make the number up to three.

Charter trustees must hold an annual meeting within twenty-one days of the annual meeting of the district council. The first item of business is the election of a town or city mayor and deputy mayor for the next year. The charter trustees of Lowestoft failed to nominate any candidate for the office of town mayor for several years until a change of political control in 2003, the trustees being effectively in abeyance. The charter trustees of Worksop are also effectively in abeyance, having not elected a town mayor for over 30 years.


  • History 1
    • Local Government Act 1972 1.1
    • Charter Trustees Act 1985 1.2
    • Local Government Act 1992 1.3
    • Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 1.4
  • List 2
  • Changes in April 2009 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5
  • Sources 6


Local Government Act 1972

The original bodies of charter trustees were set up in 1974, under section 246 of the Local Government Act 1972. The concept was introduced into the Bill by a government amendment in September 1972.[1]

Section 245(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 allowed the 'shadow' district councils to make a petition to the Queen for borough status, before their coming into effect on 1 April 1974. In this case, if "it is signified on behalf of Her Majesty before that date that She proposes to accede" to the request then, the style of borough could be used immediately from 1 April 1974, despite the fact that the charter would be presented only later.

For the new districts which made no such petition (or where it was refused), for each former municipal borough in the district, which was not to become a successor parish, a body corporate styled the charter trustees of the town or city, were established, under section 246(4) of the Act.

In the original legislation, charter trustees could also be formed in Welsh Districts, but the Charter Trustees Order 1974, which provided for the establishment of the trustees, stated that the section "shall not apply to the area consisting of the counties established by section 20 of the Act (new local government areas in Wales)", and "there will be no charter trustees in Wales."[2]

Charter Trustees Act 1985

Originally, under section 246(7), when the district in which a town for which charter trustees had been established gained the status of a borough, the trustees would be immediately dissolved. Some new district councils petitioned for borough status soon after April 1, 1974, quickly dissolving the charter trustees.

This was changed by the Charter Trustees Act 1985, which provided that charter trustees would cease to exist only when a parish council was formed for the area of the former borough.

Local Government Act 1992

Legislation passed in 1992 led to the establishment of City of Rochester-upon-Medway council to appoint charter trustees for Rochester or to apply for Rochester's city status to be transferred to the replacement unitary authority of Medway led to Rochester losing its city status.

Some abolished boroughs such as Beverley included a large rural area. In such cases, the charter trustees were not established for the entire area of the former borough, but were limited to that part of the new authority which was unparished: the area identifiable as the town.

Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007

A further wave of Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. The reforms saw the creation of new unitary authorities and the abolition of a number of districts with city or borough status. The Charter Trustees Regulations 2009 allow for the creation of trustees to preserve civic traditions in those areas where there is no obvious successor parish council. In the case of the cities of Chester and Durham the charter trustees area are identical to the entire abolished district, which includes not only the central unparished area but also the surrounding parishes.[3]


Former municipal borough Successor district County in 1974 Website Created Parished/abolished
Andover Test Valley District Hampshire 1974 abolished 1976, successor the Borough of Test Valley[4]
Aylesbury Aylesbury Vale Buckinghamshire [1] 1974 parished 2000[5]
Banbury Cherwell Oxfordshire [2] 1974 parished 2000[6]
Basingstoke Basingstoke District Hampshire 1974 abolished 1978, successor the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane[7]
Bath Bath and North East Somerset Avon 1996[8] extant
Bedford Bedford District Bedfordshire 1974 abolished 1975, successor the Borough of North Bedfordshire[9]
Beverley East Riding of Yorkshire Humberside [3] 1996[8] parished 1999[10]
Bexhill-on-Sea Rother East Sussex 1974 extant
Bootle Sefton Merseyside 1974 abolished c. 1975, successor the Borough of Sefton
Bridgwater Sedgemoor Somerset 1974 parished 2003
Burton upon Trent East Staffordshire Staffordshire 1974 abolished 1992 when East Staffordshire became a borough [4]

unparished area became various parishes in 2003

Chelmsford Chelmsford District Essex 1974 abolished, 1975, successor the Borough of Chelmsford
City of Chester Cheshire West and Chester Cheshire 2009[11] extant
Chippenham North Wiltshire Wiltshire [5] 1974 parished 1984[12]
Cleethorpes Cleethorpes District Humberside 1974 Abolished 1975, successor the Borough of Cleethorpes
Cleethorpes North East Lincolnshire Humberside 1996[8] extant
Colne Pendle district Lancashire 1974 Abolished 1976, successor the Borough of Pendle
Crewe Cheshire East Cheshire 2009[11] extant
Crosby Sefton Merseyside 1974 abolished c. 1975, successor the Borough of Sefton
Dartford Dartford district Kent 1974 Abolished 1977, successor the Borough of Dartford
Daventry Daventry district Northamptonshire [6] 1974 parished 2003
Deal Dover district Kent [7] 1974 parished 1996
Dover Dover district Kent 1974 parished 1996
Dunstable South Bedfordshire Bedfordshire [8] 1974 parished 1985
City of Durham County Durham 2009[11] extant
East Retford Bassetlaw Nottinghamshire 1974 extant
Ellesmere Port Cheshire West and Chester Cheshire 2009[11] extant
Folkestone Shepway Kent 1974 parished 2004
Goole Boothferry Humberside 1974 Abolished 1978, successor the Borough of Boothferry
Grantham South Kesteven Lincolnshire 1974 extant
Great Grimsby North East Lincolnshire Humberside 1996[8] extant
Hemel Hempstead Dacorum District Hertfordshire 1974 Abolished 1986, successor the Borough of Dacorum
City of Hereford Herefordshire Herefordshire [9] 1998[13] parished 2000
High Wycombe Wycombe Buckinghamshire [10] 1974 extant
Ilkeston Erewash Derbyshire 1974 abolished 1975, successor the Borough of Erewash
Kidderminster Wyre Forest Worcestershire 1974 extant
King's Lynn West Norfolk district Norfolk 1974 Abolished 1981, successor the Borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk
City of Lichfield Lichfield district Staffordshire [11] 1974 parished 1980
Lowestoft Waveney Suffolk 1974 extant
Lymington New Forest district Hampshire 1974 parished (as four parishes) 1979
Macclesfield Cheshire East Cheshire 2009[11] extant
Maldon Maldon Essex [12] 1974 parished ?
Mansfield Mansfield district Nottinghamshire 1974 extant
Margate Thanet Kent [13] 1974 extant
Nelson Pendle district Lancashire 1974 Abolished 1976, successor the Borough of Pendle
Newark Newark district Nottinghamshire [14] 1974 parished 1976?
Newbury West Berkshire Berkshire [15] 1974 parished 1997
Penzance Penwith Cornwall 1974 parished 1980
Queenborough-in-Sheppey Swale district Kent 1974 parished 1976?
Ramsgate Thanet Kent [16] 1974 parished 2009[14]
Royal Leamington Spa Warwick district Warwickshire [17] 1974 parished 2002
Royal Tunbridge Wells Tunbridge Wells district Kent 1974 Abolished 1974, successor the Borough of Tunbridge Wells
City of Salisbury (New Sarum) Salisbury district Wiltshire [18] 1974 parished 2009
Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire Humberside 1996[8] extant
Southport Sefton Merseyside 1974 abolished c. 1975, successor the Borough of Sefton
Taunton Taunton Deane District Somerset 1974 abolished 1975, successor the Borough of Taunton Deane
Weston-super-Mare Woodspring (now North Somerset) Avon [19] 1974 parished 2000
Workington Allerdale Cumbria 1974 parished 1982
Worksop Bassetlaw Nottinghamshire 1974 extant
Yeovil Yeovil district (now South Somerset) Somerset [20] 1974 parished 1984

Changes in April 2009

The structural changes to local government in 2009 affected charter trustees. Trustees were formed in a number of new unitary authorities to preserve the mayoralty and civic traditions of abolished boroughs. At the same time, the charter trustees of Salisbury were dissolved on the parishing of the area.

New Authority Boroughs or cities abolished Charter trustees formed
Cheshire East Borough of Congleton Borough is completely parished. Charters and civic property likely to pass to Congleton Town Council.[15]
Borough of Crewe and Nantwich Charter Trustees for Crewe.
(The ward of Crewe East and the unparished parts of the wards of Crewe West, Crewe North, and Crewe South.)[16]
Borough of Macclesfield Charter Trustees for Macclesfield.
(Wards of Broken Cross, Macclesfield Town, Macclesfield West, and the unparished parts of the wards of Macclesfield Forest, and Prestbury and Tytherington).[16]
Cheshire West and Chester City of Chester Charter Trustees for the City of Chester, with lord mayoralty preserved.
(area identical to abolished City of Chester District)[16][17]
Borough of Ellesmere Port and Neston Charter Trustees for Ellesmere Port formed as a temporary measure before creation of town council.[16][18][19]
Borough of Vale Royal Borough is entirely parished.
Cornwall Borough of Restormel No action was taken, and borough status ceased on 31 March 2009[20]
County Durham City of Durham Charter trustees for the City of Durham [16][21]
(area identical to abolished City of Durham local government district)
Borough of Sedgefield Privileges and rights relating to the borough charter transferred to Sedgefield Town Council.[22]
Northumberland Borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed Civic functions of the Mayoralty and Shrievalty and all associated regalia were transferred to Berwick-upon-Tweed Town Council (created 1 April 2008).[23]
Borough of Blyth Valley Area divided into three parishes of Blyth, Cramlington and Seaton Valley.[24]
Borough of Castle Morpeth The borough is entirely parished.
Shropshire Borough of Oswestry The borough is entirely parished.
Borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham Shrewsbury Town Council formed 1 April 2009[25]
Wiltshire Salisbury District Existing charter trustees of the City of New Sarum will be dissolved with the creation of civil parish and Salisbury City Council in June 2009.[26]


  1. ^  
  2. ^ S.I. 1974 No. 176
  3. ^ "The Charter Trustees Regulations 2009".  
  4. ^ "Test Valley Mayors and District Council Chairmen since 1973". Test Valley Borough Council. 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  5. ^ "The History of Mayoralty in Aylesbury" (PDF). Aylesbury town Council. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  6. ^ "Banbury Town Council". 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 47453. p. 1397. 2 February 1978.
  8. ^ a b c d e "The Charter Trustees Regulations 1996". Office of Public Sector Information. 1996. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 46725. p. 13813. 31 October 1975.
  10. ^ "Beverley Town Council". Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "The Local Government (Structural Changes) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Other Provision) Order 2009". Office of Public Sector Information. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  12. ^ "Chippenham Mayors". Chippenham Town Council. 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  13. ^ "The Charter Trustees (Hereford) Order 1998". Office of Public Sector Information. 1998. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  14. ^ "District of Thanet (Reorganisation of Community Governance) Order 2009". Thanet District Council. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  15. ^ "Congleton Borough Council and Cheshire East Council - Civic and Ceremonial Arrangements" (PDF). Congleton Borough Council. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  16. ^ a b c d e "The Local Government (Structural Changes) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Other Provision) Order 2009".  
  17. ^ "Job Description, Senior Manager Electoral and Civic Services" (PDF). Cheshire West and Chester Council. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  18. ^ "Civic and Ceremonial Issues" (PDF). Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  19. ^ Wards of Grange and Rossmore, Groves and Whitby, the unparished part of the Central and Westminster ward, and the parts of the wards of Ledsham and Willaston and Sutton and Manor comprised in the Ledsham, Sutton, Sutton Green and Manor and Willaston and Thornton wards of the former Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council
  20. ^ "Civic Ceremonial Issues in Cornwall". One Cornwall Implementation Executive. 18 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  21. ^ "Council Agrees Cost of Keeping City's 407 Year-Old Tradition". Durham County Council. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  22. ^ "Ceremonial Issues arising from Local Government Review". Durham County Council. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  23. ^ "Ceremonial Rights and Privileges". Joint Transition Forum, Northumberland County Council. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  24. ^ "Creation of Parish Councils in South East Northumberland". Joint Transition Forum, Northumberland County Council. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  25. ^ "Shrewsbury Town Council". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  26. ^ "Councillors". Salisbury City Council. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 

scottish paradise

External links

  • An article about Charter Trustees from the City of Bath


  • Local Government Act 1972
  • Charter Trustees Act 1985 (C.45)
  • Local Government in England and Wales : A guide to the New System, HMSO, London 1974
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