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Cumbria County Council

Cumbria County Council
10th four-year term
Stewart Young (Labour)
35 / 84
26 / 84
16 / 84
6 / 84
"No Party"
1 / 84
First past the post
Last election
2 May 2013
Next election
Meeting place
County Hall, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4RQ

Cumbria County Council is the county council of Cumbria, a county in the North West of England. Established in 1974, following its first elections held a year before that, it is an elected local government body responsible for the most significant local services in the county, including county schools, county roads, and social services.


  • Creation 1
  • Functions 2
  • History 3
  • Elections 4
  • Political control 5
  • Notable members 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8


In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, the administrative counties of Cumberland and Westmorland and the county borough of Carlisle were abolished, and the areas they covered were combined with parts of Lancashire and parts of the West Riding of Yorkshire to form a new non-metropolitan county called Cumbria.[1]


Cumbria County Council is responsible for the more strategic local services of the county, including education (schools, both primary and secondary), libraries and youth services, social services, highway maintenance, waste disposal, emergency planning, consumer protection, and town and country planning for minerals matters, waste and for highways. This makes it a substantial employer.

The former Cumberland County Council's final major road scheme, an A66 bypass for Keswick, was prepared by Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick, consulting engineers, in 1972,[2] and construction began in the summer of 1974, with the new authority completing the scheme.[3]

The Council operates various recycling and waste disposal facilities across the area. In January 2012, the Council announced plans to close six of these centres. The six sites identified by the review as most suitable for closure are at Ambleside, Brampton, Grange-over-Sands, Kirkby Stephen, Millom and Wigton.[4]


Control of the council has swung back and forth. In its first four years (1973-1977) there was no overall control, but in 1977 the Conservatives gained a majority. In 1981, this became a majority for Labour, and from 1985 there was again no one-party control. In 1997, Labour again took control, but lost it in 2001. Since then, no party has had a majority.

A proposal for Cumbria to become a unitary authority was made in 2007,[5] and Cumbria went into consultation, with opposition coming from the district councils which would be abolished, Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden, and South Lakeland.[6] In the event, the county was left out of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England.[7]

In 2008, the county council rejected a proposal to introduce a directly elected mayor, opting instead for a cabinet-style administration that resembled the status quo.[8] During the same year, an administration of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats collapsed, suffering not least from lacking a majority in the council. Thirty-nine Labour members and three Independents exactly equalled the total of thirty-two Conservatives and ten Liberals. A minority Labour administration then took over running the council until the June 2009 elections, when a net gain of one seat from the Independents led to the creation of a new Conservative and Labour coalition.[9]


The first elections to the authority were in 1973, and members have been elected since then every four years for a four-year term of office, with elections being held all together on the "first past the post" system.

Since boundary changes in 2001, 84 councillors have been elected from 84 single-member electoral divisions.[10]

At the June 2009 elections, the outcome was 38 Conservatives members, 24 Labour, 16 Liberal Democrats and six Independents. A Labour-Conservative coalition was formed.

Following the May 2013 elections the outcome was 35 Labour members, 26 Conservative, 16 Liberal Democrats and 7 Independents. A Labour-Lib Dem coalition was formed.[11]

Political control

Since 1973 the political control of the council has been as follows:[12]
Party in control Years
No overall control 1973–1977
Conservative 1977–1981
Labour 1981–1985
No overall control 1985–1997
Labour 1997–2001
No overall control 2001–present

Notable members

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Civil engineering and public works review, vol. 67, Issues 792-797 (1972), p. 715
  3. ^ Tony Aldous, Goodbye Britain? (1975), p. 171
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Julian Whittle, Political fight begins for control of Cumbria council dated 12 May 2009 at, accessed 1 January 2011
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Elizabeth Hughes, Obituary: Tim Westoll, dated 12 February 1999, in The Independent online
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