Happy 50th birthday to Stratford District Council - The Stratford Observer

Happy 50th birthday to Stratford District Council

Stratford Editorial 28th May, 2024   0

STRATFORD District Council is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The council held its 50th annual council meeting – marking the major half century milestone.

Formed on April 1 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, SDC was created by combining five former districts, which were abolished at the same time – Alcester Rural District, Shipston Rural District, Southam Rural District, Stratford Rural District and Stratford Municipal Borough.

The new district was named Stratford-on-Avon after its main town.

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing councils before coming into its powers on April 1 1974.

Since 1974 political control of SDC has been as follows:

Independent 1974 – 1976

No overall control 1976 – 1979

Conservative 1979 – 1991

No overall control 1991 – 1992

Conservative 1992 – 1994

No overall control 1994 – 2000 (Lib Dem ruling group)

Conservative 2000 – 2002

No overall control 2002 – 2003 (Conservative ruling group)

Conservative 2003 – 2023

Liberal Democrats 2023 – present

At the beginning, SDC offices were located in a number of different areas of the town. The main office was Regal House on Birmingham Road where the chief executive, district secretary and solicitor, chief technical officer and chief personnel officer had their departments.

The treasurer’s department was based in Rother Street in the Civic Hall building (now the Stratford Arthouse). The planning and housing departments were both based in Tyler Street with the environmental health department on Guild Street. There were also sub-offices in Alcester, Shipston and Southam.

SDC is now based at Elizabeth House on Church Street in Stratford.

The oldest part of the building was a house at 15 Church Street, built in 1911 as ‘Maugersbury House’. The house was bought in 1920 by NFU Mutual and converted to be their offices.

It was later extended in a similar style along Church Street in 1927 and 1957. The NFU left the building in 1982, after which it was bought by SDC and converted to become its offices, replacing the five sets of offices inherited from the council’s predecessor authorities.

The building was formally re-opened as SDC’s headquarters on April 19 1985 by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, when it was named ‘Elizabeth House’ in recognition of her visit.

SDC chief executive David Buckland said: “We share this milestone with many other councils established after the Local Government Act of 1972 came into force in April 1974. I am delighted the district council has been proudly serving residents in the district for 50 years. It is a real milestone in the history of the district and for the council.”

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