Swale is a local government district with borough status in Kent, England and is bounded by Medway to the west, Canterbury to the east, Ashford to the south and Maidstone to the south west. Its council is based in Sittingbourne. The district is named after the narrow channel called The Swale, a channel that separates the mainland of Kent from the Isle of Sheppey, and which occupies the central part of the district.
The Roman Watling Street passed through the area, as witness the straightness of the A2 main road, now by-passed by the M2 motorway. Apart from the northern coast of the Isle of Sheppey, and the town of Sittingbourne, it is a mainly rural borough, containing a high proportion of the UK's apple, pear, cherry and plum orchards (the North Kent Fruit Belt), as well as many of its remaining hop gardens. Most of the southern half of the Borough lies within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, whilst Sittingbourne and the Isle of Sheppey forms the concluding part of the Thames Gateway growth area.
The district was formed in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, from the Borough of Faversham; the Borough of Queenborough-in-Sheppey, which covered the whole of Sheppey; the Sittingbourne and Milton Urban District; and Swale Rural District.
Swale Borough Council is elected every four years, with currently 47 councillors being elected at each election. After the Conservatives had a majority on the council from 1976 to 1986, no party had overall control from 1986 until the 2002 election when the Conservatives regained control. The Conservatives have held their majority since then and as of the last election in 2015 the council is composed of the following councillors:-
The district contains the following civil parishes:
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