Cheshire West and Chester is the name for a new unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of Cheshire. It will come into force from April 2009, as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, when the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill is enacted, and will replace the boroughs of Ellesmere Port and Neston, Vale Royal and Chester District. The equivalent unitary authority in the other half of the county will be called Cheshire East. The decision to create the Cheshire West and Chester unitary authority was announced on 25 July2007 following a consultation period, in which a proposal to create a single Cheshire unitary authority was rejected.
The electoral wards for the new unitary authority are the same as those used in the former Cheshire County Council elections, with each ward electing 3 councillors.. Since the Cheshire council elections, 2005 there have been 11 Conservative controlled wards, 10 Labour controlled wards and 3 Liberal Democrat controlled wards within the proposed unitary authority boundaries, suggesting that the council would notionally be under no overall control, with the Conservatives as largest party.
The first elections to the authority took place on 1 May2008., with the Conservatives gaining control with a majority of 38 councillors. The members will sit as a shadow authority until they will take full powers from April 2009.
The shadow authority is currently Chaired by Cllr. Brian Crowe and led by Cllr. Mike Jones. The Conservatives have 54 councillors, Labour have 13, there are 4 Liberal Democrats and one independent.