Spelthorne is a local government district and borough in Surrey, England. Its council is based in Staines-upon-Thames; other settlements in the area include Ashford, Sunbury-on-Thames, Shepperton, Stanwell and Laleham.

Coat of arms of Spelthorne
Official logo of Spelthorne
Ad Solem Prospicimus
(Latin: We look towards the Sun)
Spelthorne shown within Surrey
Spelthorne shown within Surrey
Coordinates: 51°26′N 0°30′W / 51.433°N 0.500°W / 51.433; -0.500
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth East England
Non-metropolitan countySurrey
Historic countyMiddlesex
StatusNon-metropolitan district, Borough
Incorporated1 April 1974
Admin HQStaines-upon-Thames
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodySpelthorne Borough Council
 • Leadership ModelCommittee system
 • MPsKwasi Kwarteng
 • Total19.75 sq mi (51.16 km2)
 • Rank272nd (of 314)[1][better source needed]
 • Total102,956
 • Rank235th (of 314)
 • Density5,200/sq mi (2,000/km2)
 • Ethnicity
91.8% White
3.8% S.Asian
1.3% Black
1.7% Mixed Race
0.7% Chinese
0.7% Other
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code43UH (ONS)
E07000213 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTQ045715

Spelthorne borders the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames to the north and east, the boroughs of Elmbridge and Runnymede in Surrey to the south, and the unitary authorities of Windsor and Maidenhead and Slough in Berkshire to the west.[2]

History Edit

Spelthorne appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Speletorne hund. on the Midelsexe pages.[3] This covered 13 settlements: Ashford, Charlton, East Bedfont, West Bedfont, Feltham, Kempton, Hanworth, Hatton, Laleham, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, and Sunbury.[4] Hundreds dwindled in power in the late Middle Ages, and by the Tudor period they were largely sources of revenue for certain overlords, underlying freeholds and rights over their commons frequently held or divided among royalty or peers in a particular hundred. Ecclesiastical parishes assumed responsibilities for upkeep of public places and roads and apprehending wrongdoers, appointing churchwardens and constables to administer their areas. The poor law unions assumed responsibility for indoor and outdoor relief, later including workhouses:

  • Kingston Poor Law Union in the east[5]
  • Staines Poor Law Union in the west.[6]

In 1875, Sanitary Districts were created covering England and Wales.[7]

In 1889, Middlesex County Council was elected and formed pursuant to the Local Government Act 1888 and principally administered the area until 1965.

Under the Local Government Act 1894, in the area of the current borough responsibilities such as planning, sanitation and surface water drainage were conferred on the new bodies Staines Urban, Sunbury Urban and Staines Rural districts.

The 20th century saw the construction of the two Staines Reservoirs (1901), Queen Mary (1931), King George VI (1947), and the Wraysbury Reservoirs (1970) in what is today's borough.

In 1930, most of Staines Rural District merged into Staines Urban District, with the remainder given to West Drayton and Feltham Urban Districts.

In 1965, Staines Urban District and Sunbury-on-Thames Urban Districts were transferred to Surrey.

The Borough of Spelthorne was formed on the abolition of the urban districts and rural districts nationally in 1974.

The borough ceded a small amount of land in 1995, when Poyle was transferred to the Borough of Slough, as it was the only land outside the M25 motorway. Spelthorne, like Potters Bar and South Mimms, remained inside the Metropolitan Police District whose jurisdiction was aligned to Greater London in 2000; it then transferred to Surrey Police.

Spelthorne remains part of the Church of England Diocese of London and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster. The rest of Surrey falls into the Anglican dioceses of Guildford and Southwark, and the Roman Catholic diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

Floods in 2014 caused internal damage to 891 (or 2.2%) of homes in Spelthorne due to record rainfall causing Thames flooding. This compared to internal damage to more than 30% of homes in the neighbouring settlement of Wraysbury in the borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.[8]

In August 2014 a campaign group of local business leaders called for the borough – along with others close to the capital – to be transferred from the county of Surrey to Greater London. The proposal was generally opposed, and so not tabled as a motion, by representatives in either county.[9]

In June 2020, after the resignation of six Conservative Councillors, Spelthorne Borough fell into no overall political control (NOC) for the first time in the borough's history.[10] In May 2021, Liberal Democrat Lawrence Nichols became the leader of the council,[11] with the Lib Dem group ruling in coalition with one of the independent groups. However that coalition only controls 9 out of 39 seats on the council, so deals may need to be cut in order for their programme to get through.[12]

Following the 2023 local elections and the Conservative loss of 11 councillors, a new independent-led leadership took control of the council.[13][14] This was only the second time in the borough's history that the Conservatives had lost control of the leadership. As of 2023, the council had £1.1 billion in borrowing, with the highest borrowing to income ratio of any council in England.[15]

Parks, lakes and the River Thames Edit

The borough estimates it has 3.0 square kilometres (750 acres) of parks, including, from Shepperton upstream, the Thames Path.[16] Its sixteen main parks with recreational/sports facilities[17] are supplemented by small greens and linear parks, such as those by the River Thames. The largest parks have woodland and flowering meadow. These support diverse and rare grasses, invertebrates and birds on a rich alluvial soil: Laleham Park and Sunbury Park.

The final great reduction of private parks was that of the early 20th century, a sale of Laleham manor demesne by the Earl of Lucan. The Jockey Club, as owner of Kempton Park Racecourse, is successor to the domain of the lords of the manor of Kempton – about 40% is a large nature reserve with its internal two large ponds abutting the Kempton Park Reservoirs Site of Special Scientific Interest, on Thames flood meadow.

The borough has five reservoirs, covering more than 15% of land, which apart from their main use of ensuring a stable and energy-efficient drinking water supply to London, are bird reserves and in the case of the Queen Mary Reservoir, a sailing training centre. A similar percentage of land is covered by other lakes, mostly former gravel pits no longer pumped out of water. The 10-kilometre (6.2 mi) River Ash, Surrey starts and ends in the borough.

Of recognised high importance to nature is Staines Moor, which alongside Sheepwalk Lake and wetlands, Shepperton are the sites of special scientific interest (SSSI).[18]

Hotels, take-aways and restaurants Edit

Hospitality is widespread in the riverside towns. Sunbury and Staines town hubs are within 6 miles (10 km) of top UK attractions such as Windsor Castle, Thorpe Park, Hampton Court, Twickenham Rugby Stadium and Kew Gardens.

Transport Edit

Staines is the borough's main station, being served by South Western Railway services to London Waterloo, Reading and Windsor & Eton Riverside.[19]

Other land use Edit

A January 2005 enhanced base map study by the Office for National Statistics managed to classify 50.8 square kilometres (19.6 sq mi), 99% of land in Spelthorne. The findings of this study showed that the land use in Spelthorne was as follows:[20]

Greenspace 20.954 km2 (8.090 sq mi)
Water 11.165 km2 (4.311 sq mi)
Domestic gardens 8.495 km2 (3.280 sq mi)
Road 3.919 km2 (1.513 sq mi)
Other land uses 2.491 km2 (0.962 sq mi)
Domestic buildings 2.403 km2 (0.928 sq mi)
Non-domestic buildings 1.045 km2 (0.403 sq mi)
Path 0.209 km2 (0.081 sq mi)
Rail 0.134 km2 (0.052 sq mi)

Two Rivers Retail Park and Elmsleigh Shopping Centre in Staines-upon-Thames. In 2016 there were:

  • 5,365 businesses (including retailers) in Spelthorne.
  • a 10 screen cinema with Dolby Digital Surround Sound.
  • 12 miles of river frontage for picturesque walks.
  • 65% green belt land or water – a green and blue buffer offsetting local major economic contributors Heathrow Airport and the UK motorway network

Governance Edit

Spelthorne Borough Council
Leader of the Council
Joanne Sexton, Independent Spelthorne Group
since 26 May 2023
Deputy Leader of the Council
Chris Bateson, Liberal Democrats
Seats39 councillors
Political groups
  Conservative Party (12)
  Liberal Democrats (10)
  Labour (7)
  Green Party (3)
  Independents (7)
Length of term
4 years
First past the post
Last election
May 2023
Next election
May 2027
Meeting place
Council Offices, Knowle Green, Staines-upon-Thames, TW18 1XB
Map of wards within the Borough of Spelthorne

Political oversight and policy-making Edit

Elections for Spelthorne Borough Council are held every four years for the whole council, rather than third-of-council elections.[n 1]

The 4 May 2023 Spelthorne Borough Council elections resulted in

This marked the first election that resulted in no political group having overall control (NOC).

Composition Edit

Spelthorne Borough Council management team consists of Daniel Charles Mouawad (Chief Executive), Terry Collier (Deputy Chief Executive) and Lee O'Neil (Deputy Chief Executive). The Mayor for Spelthorne is Denise Saliagopoulos.

Whole council elections are held every four years.

Changes during 2019-23 term Edit

The 2 May 2019 Spelthorne Borough Council elections resulted in 23 Conservative seats, 8 Liberal Democrat seats, four Labour seats, two Green Party seats and two Independents. The Conservative Party thus maintained their overwhelming majority on the council.

On 9 June 2020, 6 Conservative Councillors, including Council leader Ian Harvey and Deputy leader Olivia Rybinski, resigned from the Conservative party and created the new United Spelthorne Group on the council. With the Conservatives now having fewer than half of all seats on the council, the Borough is now in "no overall control", leaving the Conservative party without a governing majority for the first time in the Borough's history.[21]

On 25 June 2020, John Boughtflower was elected as leader of the council and Jim McIlroy as his deputy.

On 27 May 2021, Lawrence Nichols (Liberal Democrats) was elected as leader and Joanne Sexton (Independent) as his deputy.

On 27 May 2022, John Boughtflower was elected as leader of the council and Tony Mitchell as his deputy.

On 8 March 2022, Veena Silva and Jenny Vinson - elected as Labour - disbanded the Independent Labour group to join the Breakthrough Party.[22]

Premises Edit

The council offices are at Knowle Green in Staines. The building was opened in 1972 for the former Staines Urban District Council, shortly before that council was abolished in 1974 to be replaced by Spelthorne Borough Council.[23]

Ceremonial matters Edit

The Mayor of Spelthorne for the Civic Year 2022–23 is Cllr Susan Doran.

Sport and leisure Edit

The district has two publicly sponsored leisure centres and two private clubs with pools, and two without pools:

It has two golf courses.

School-taught English sports: cricket and football are played at many pitches; the third, rugby union is played at the London Irish Hazelwood Centre sharing pitches with London Irish Amateur Rugby Football Club in Sunbury. Staines Rugby Club play next to the Feltham-Hanworth-Sunbury tripoint in Lower Feltham.

Spelthorne has two football clubs – semi- or non-professional – as the top men's sides compete in the lower leagues:

Club Ground
Ashford Town (Middlesex) F.C The Robert Parker Stadium, Short Lane, Stanwell
Spelthorne Sports F.C. Spelthorne Sports Club, Staines Road West, Ashford

Spelthorne hosts one of the county's major archery clubs (Spelthorne Archers) and five lawn bowls clubs.

Fishing is open to all, subject to rod licensing,[24] from the Thames Path National Trail and adjoining islands in Laleham and Staines as well as at lakes in Shepperton and Ashford. One rowing club is in the borough, at Laleham, with others nearby including Staines Boat Club across Staines Bridge from the town centre which organises a regatta to Penton Hook in July for racing shells. Sunbury Skiff and Punting Club is the newest of all six which are quite clustered on the Thames, several of which incorporate dongola racing, dragon boat racing and canoeing. It organises an August regatta with fireworks.

In May the Staines 10k charity run takes place organised by two local running/'strolling' clubs and the council. One of the more than 720 nationwide 5,000-metre running competitions of the major organiser is around the rugby union club in its borders, which has a small nature reserve it owns to one end.[25]

Other venues hosting annual events in a range of sports are Kempton Park Racecourse and Staines Lammas Park.

Towns and villages Edit

The stated proportion of land that is absorbed by domestic dwellings tends to be housing with gardens forming suburbs to London and otherwise has mid rise urban town centres with exceptional offices (in Staines-upon-Thames) and apartments (in Sunbury-on-Thames) which are high rise, including a minority of the social housing.

The non-urban parts, inclusive of the embanked water retaining reservoirs, are today for the most part Spelthorne's parks and lakes. The bulk of the rest is mostly narrow buffering land being arable farming, horse-grazing meadows and sheep grazing on the reservoir embankments and fringes with Green Belt legal status. Shopping is available in each of the towns and in the village of Shepperton but not in the other small villages which are connected by road and bus to the nearby towns. Kempton Park Racecourse and Shepperton Studios are in Spelthorne. Staines is the largest town and has local government and judicial buildings. Each of the towns has libraries and schools.

In July 2017, Shepperton was named as the UK's most courteous town by the National Campaign for Courtesy.

List of towns and villages Edit

Subsumed hamlets or manors Edit

  • Kempton
  • Astleham: see Littleton, above and Queen Mary Reservoir, above.

Twinning Edit

See also Edit

Notes and references Edit


  1. ^ In districts and boroughs an approximately equal bias exists as to these methods
  2. ^ In Staines upon Thames post town. As with the first four places, these are ancient parishes, manors and were also in local services/improvements civil parishes from 1895 until 1974.[26]
  3. ^ [27]
  4. ^ Former hamlet of Stanwell. In Staines upon Thames post town. Its verges, grazing and hay meadow parts have mostly become part of Staines Moor from which they have been indivisible since the 1820s when both were inclosed (privatised) from an area of common land alongside the River Colne and later transferred to the local authority.[27]
  5. ^ a b Former hamlet of Sunbury-on-Thames. In Shepperton post town.[28]
  6. ^ Covers a small area as covered most of the Queen Mary Reservoir. Of sporadic use: half-rural, half-suburban streets with trees and verges. The streets adjoin other housing across the Ash in Shepperton Green; within Shepperton post town and this is the home of Shepperton Studios.[26]


  1. ^ Office for National Statistics
  2. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Original folio of Middlesex, page 4 in Domesday Book | Domesday Book". opendomesday.org. Anna Powell-Smith. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Hundred of Spelthorne | Domesday Book". opendomesday.org. Anna Powell-Smith. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  5. ^ Samuel Lewis (publisher) (1848). "Teddington, St Mary". A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  6. ^ Samuel Lewis (publisher) (1848). "Hanworth, St George". A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  7. ^ Public Health Act 1875
  8. ^ "No flood defence work for worst hit towns" Chris Caulfield. Surrey Advertiser/Surrey Herald newspaper group. 20 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-02
  9. ^ "Calls for Surrey towns to be part of London". BBC News. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2014
  10. ^ Phillips, James (9 June 2020). "Six councillors quit Conservative Party at Spelthorne Borough Council saying membership 'untenable'". Surrey Live. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  11. ^ "New Leadership team for Spelthorne".
  12. ^ "Previewing the Spelthorne council by-election of 23 Feb 2022 – Britain Elects".
  13. ^ "Spelthorne result - Local Elections 2023". BBC News. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  14. ^ "New Leadership team elected - Spelthorne Borough Council". www.spelthorne.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  15. ^ Pratley, Nils (19 September 2023). "Loose lending and inadequate auditing: central government's role in the local council disaster". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  16. ^ Spelthorne BC Archived 16 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine Park and Open Spaces. Retrieved 2013-07-04
  17. ^ Spelthorne BC Archived 8 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine Sports Facilities. Retrieved 2013-07-04
  18. ^ SSSIs List and Management: Surrey Wildlife Trust.
  19. ^ Staines National Rail
  20. ^ "Land Use Statistics (Generalised Land Use Database) (2001 - 2005)". Office for National Statistics. 29 January 2007. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  21. ^ "Six councillors quit Conservative Party at Spelthorne Borough Council saying membership 'untenable'". Surrey Live. 9 June 2020.
  22. ^ Caines, Jackson (8 March 2022). "New trio of councillors join Breakthrough". Breakthrough Party. Retrieved 8 March 2022..
  23. ^ "Surrey County Council". London Gazette (45846): 14674. 8 December 1972. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  24. ^ When you need a licence www.gov.uk
  25. ^ "Events | parkrun UK".
  26. ^ a b William Page, ed. (1911). "Ashford, Laleham, Littleton [and others outside of the borough]". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 2. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  27. ^ a b Susan Reynolds, ed. (1962). "Stanwell: Introduction". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  28. ^ Susan Reynolds, ed. (1962). "Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury [and others outside the borough]". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  29. ^ "Twinning with Melun, Île de France and Grand Port, Mauritius". Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.

External links Edit