Borough of Spelthorne

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. Spelthorne forms part of the historic county of Middlesex.

Spelthorne Borough Council
Coat of arms
Ad Solem Prospicimus
(Latin: We look towards the Sun)
Spelthorne shown within Surrey County Council
Coordinates: 51°26′N 0°30′W
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
  LeadershipLeader & Cabinet (Council NOC) (Conservative)
  MPsKwasi Kwarteng
  Total19.75 sq mi (51.16 km2)
Area rank272nd (of 317)[1]
 (mid-2019 est.)
  Rank244th (of 317)
  Density5,100/sq mi (2,000/km2)
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]


Spelthorne appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Spelethorne, in Middlesex. Spelthorne was a hundred, where local landowners met about once a month. The Spelthorne hundred also covered Poyle, historically a hamlet in the village of Stanwell,[3] Hatton, East Bedfont, Feltham and Hanworth in the modern London Borough of Hounslow and Teddington (not in 1086 a manor) and Hampton (historically including Hampton Wick, Hampton Hill and Hampton Court) in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.[4]

Hundreds dwindled in power as the medieval period drew to a close and were largely sources of revenue for certain overlords by the Tudor period, 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, when the rest of Middlesex, except for Potters Bar Urban District, was absorbed into the new county of Greater London, Staines 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 settlement outside the M25 motorway. Spelthorne, like Potters Bar, remained inside the Metropolitan Police District, and was not transferred to Surrey Police until the boundary was realigned to Greater London in 2000.

Spelthorne also retains its historic links with Middlesex through the Church: it remains part of the Church of England Diocese of London and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster, while the remainder 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, however, the proposal was generally opposed by local representatives of each of these areas.[9]

In June 2020 after the resignation of 6 Conservative Councillors, Spelthorne Borough fell in no overall control (NOC) for the first time in the Borough's history.[10]

Parks, lakes and the River Thames

The borough estimates it has 750 acres (300 ha) (3 km²) of parks, including, from Shepperton upstream the Thames Path.[11] Its sixteen main parks with recreational/sports facilities[12] are supplemented by various small greens and linear parks, such as by the River Thames and include the two largest parks which have substantial areas of flowering meadow with diverse and rare grasses, invertebrates and birds: Laleham Park and Sunbury Park.

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.

Of recognised high importance to nature is Staines Moor, which alongside Sheepwalk Lake and wetlands, Shepperton are the sites of special scientific interest (SSSI).[13]

Two Rivers Retail Park and Elmsleigh Shopping Centre in Staines-upon-Thames. In 2016 there were 5,365 businesses / retailers situated in Spelthorne. 10 screen cinema with Dolby Digital Surround Sound. 12 miles of river frontage for picturesque walks. 65% green belt land - the first countryside upon leaving London. Within 5 miles to top UK attractions - Windsor Castle, Thorpe Park, Hampton Court. Just over 30 minutes on train to Central London.

Other land use

A January 2005 enhanced basemap study by the Office for National Statistics managed to classify 50.8 square kilometres (19.6 sq mi), 99% of land in Spelthorne. This showed that in this borough 20.954 square kilometres (8.090 sq mi) was Greenspace (fields, verges, woods and parks) and 11.165 square kilometres (4.311 sq mi) was water. The remaining land uses were:[14]

Domestic gardens8.495 square kilometres (3.280 sq mi)
Road3.919 square kilometres (1.513 sq mi)
Other land uses2.491 square kilometres (0.962 sq mi)
Domestic buildings2.403 square kilometres (0.928 sq mi)
Non-domestic buildings1.045 square kilometres (0.403 sq mi)
Path0.209 square kilometres (0.081 sq mi)
Rail0.134 square kilometres (0.052 sq mi)


Elections for Spelthorne Borough Council are held every four years for the whole council, rather than third-of-council elections (for district and borough councils there is an approximately equal bias towards both methods).

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. The Leader is Cllr Ian Harvey and Deputy Leader is Cllr Tony Harman. The next borough council elections are scheduled to take place on May 2023.

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 Cllr Mary Madams.

On the 9th of June 2020, 6 Conservative Councillors, including Council leader Ian Harvey and Deputy leader Olivia Rybinski, resigned from the Conservative party, causing the Borough to fall in no overall control (NOC). This leaves the Conservative party without a governing majority for the first time in the Borough's history.[10]

Sport and leisure

The borough has two publicly sponsored leisure centres. Within the borders are two private fitness clubs also with pools, the Thames Club Staines, Pure Gym Staines, and Virgin Active Sunbury and two golf courses.

The three school-taught English sports of rugby, cricket and football are played at pitches widely. In rugby union, the London Irish Training Academy is in Sunbury-on-Thames and Staines Rugby Club play next to the Feltham-Sunbury border.

Spelthorne has three football clubs, which are semi- or non-professional as the top men's sides compete in the lower leagues:

Club Ground
Ashford Town (Middlesex) F.CThe Robert Parker Stadium, Short Lane, Stanwell
Spelthorne Sports F.C.Spelthorne Sports Club, Ashford
Staines Town F.C.Wheatsheaf Park, Staines-upon-Thames

Spelthorne is also home to one of the county's major Archery Clubs, Spelthorne Archers.

Fishing is open to all, subject to obtaining a rod licence,[15] 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 six nearby on the Thames, several of which incorporate dongola racing, dragon boat racing and canoeing and organises an August regatta with fireworks. In May the Staines 10k charity run takes place organised by two local running/'strolling' clubs and the Borough Council. Other sports venues hosting annual events in a range of sports are Kempton Park Racecourse and Staines Lammas Park.

Towns and villages

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.

Subsumed hamlets or manors

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


See also

Notes and references


  1. 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.[16]
  2. [3]
  3. 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.[3]
  4. Former hamlet of Sunbury-on-Thames. In Shepperton post town.[17]
  5. 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.[16]


  1. Office for National Statistics
  2. "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  3. Susan Reynolds (Editor) (1962). "Stanwell: Introduction". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 4 July 2013.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. Domesday Map website with details of 13 manors in the Hundred of Spelthorne
  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'". get surrey. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  11. Spelthorne BC Park and Open Spaces. Retrieved 2013-07-04
  12. Spelthorne BC Sports Facilities. Retrieved 2013-07-04
  13. SSSIs List and Management: Surrey Wildlife Trust.
  14. Land Use Statistics (Generalised Land Use Database) (2001 - 2005) Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  15. When you need a licence
  16. William Page (Editor) (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.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  17. Susan Reynolds (Editor) (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.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  18. Twinning with Melun, Île de France and Grand Port, Mauritius