Hartlepool Borough
Borough of Hartlepool
The borough within County Durham and England
The borough within County Durham and England
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionNorth East England
Combined authorityTees Valley
Ceremonial countyCounty Durham
 • Tees Valley Mayor:Ben Houchen
 • MPs:Jill Mortimer (C)
 • Total36 sq mi (94 km2)
 • Rank204th
 • Total93,861
 • RankRanked 258th
 • Density2,600/sq mi (1,000/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
ONS code00EB (ONS)
E06000001 (GSS)

The Borough of Hartlepool is a local government district with borough status in County Durham, England. Since 1996 Hartlepool Borough Council has been a unitary authority, being a district council which also performs the functions of a county council; it is independent from Durham County Council. It is named after its largest settlement, Hartlepool, where the council is based. The borough also includes a rural area to the west of the town. The population of the borough at the 2021 census was 92,571, of which over 95% (87,995) lived in the built-up area of Hartlepool itself.

Since 2016 the council has been a member of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, which has been led by the directly elected Tees Valley Mayor since 2017. The Hartlepool constituency has been coterminous with the borough since 1983.

The neighbouring districts are the County Durham district and Stockton-on-Tees; the borough also adjoins Redcar and Cleveland across the mouth of the River Tees.


The town of Hartlepool was an ancient borough, having been granted a charter by King John in 1200.[2][3] It was reformed to become a municipal borough in 1850. This borough covered the relatively small area now known as the Headland, where the original town was located.[4]

The new town of West Hartlepool was laid out from the 1840s on land outside Hartlepool's historic borough boundaries, in the neighbouring parish of Stranton. A body of improvement commissioners was established to administer the new town in 1854.[5] The commissioners' district was enlarged in 1883 to include Seaton Carew.[6] The commissioners were superseded in 1887, when West Hartlepool was incorporated as a separate borough.[7] In 1902 West Hartlepool was elevated to become a county borough, making it independent from Durham County Council.[8]

After several unification efforts starting in 1902, the two boroughs of Hartlepool and West Hartlepool merged into a single county borough called Hartlepool in 1967, also absorbing at the same time the neighbouring parish of Seaton (being the residual rural part of the old parish of Seaton Carew) to provide coastal land for industrial development.[9][10]

The borough was reformed and enlarged on 1 April 1974, by the merger of the previous county borough of Hartlepool, along with the parishes of Brierton, Claxton, Dalton Piercy, Elwick, Elwick Hall, Greatham, Hart and Newton Bewley, from the Stockton Rural District, all of which had been part of the administrative county of Durham. The enlarged borough was transferred at the same time from County Durham to the new non-metropolitan county of Cleveland.[11]

Cleveland was abolished in 1996 following the Banham Review, which gave unitary authority status to its four districts, including Hartlepool. The way this change was implemented was to create a new non-metropolitan county of Hartlepool covering the same area as the existing borough, but with no separate county council; instead the existing borough council took on county functions, making it a unitary authority. The borough was restored to County Durham for ceremonial purposes at the same time, but as a unitary authority it is independent from Durham County Council.[12] Hartlepool continues to share certain local services with the other former Cleveland boroughs, including the Cleveland Police and Cleveland Fire Brigade.


Hartlepool Borough Council
Carole Thompson,
since 21 May 2024
Brenda Harrison,
since 21 May 2024[13]
Denise McGuckin
since 7 September 2020[14]
Seats36 councillors
Political groups
Administration (24)[15]
  Labour (24)
Other parties (12)
  Conservative (6)
  Independent (5)
  Independent Union (1)
Joint committees
Tees Valley Combined Authority
Last election
2 May 2024
Next election
7 May 2026
Meeting place
Civic Centre, Victoria Road, Hartlepool, TS24 8AY

Hartlepool Borough Council provides both county-level and district-level services. There are also nine civil parishes in the borough, which form a second tier of local government for their areas; the rest of the borough is an unparished area.[16]

Since 2016 the council has been a member of the Tees Valley Combined Authority.[17]

In May 2021, the four parish councils of Elwick, Hart, Dalton Piercy and Greatham all issued individual votes of no confidence in Hartlepool Borough Council, and expressed their desire to re-join County Durham.[18] Subsequently, quarterly parish liaison meetings were set up between the parish and borough councils, and a new Parish Charter was adopted.[19]

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since the May 2024 local elections.[13]

Political control of the council since the 1974 reforms has been as follows:[20][21]

Non-metropolitan district

Party in control Years
Labour 1974–1976
No overall control 1976–1979
Labour 1979–1996

Unitary authority

Party in control Years
Labour 1996–2000
No overall control 2000–2004
Labour 2004–2008
No overall control 2008–2010
Labour 2010–2019
No overall control 2019–2024
Labour 2024–present


See also: Mayor of Hartlepool

Since 2013 the role of mayor has been largely ceremonial in Hartlepool. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council.

Between 2002 and 2013, Hartlepool was one of a small number of councils in the United Kingdom to have a directly elected mayor. This followed a referendum held in the borough in October 2001.[22] The first mayoral election was held in May 2002, and became famous for being won by the mascot of Hartlepool United F.C., 'H'Angus the Monkey',[23] with a majority of approximately 500 over the second-placed Labour Party candidate. The man inside the monkey costume, Stuart Drummond, served as mayor as an independent, being re-elected in 2005 with a majority of over 10,000[24] and again in 2009 with a second round majority of 844.

In November 2012 Hartlepool voted in a referendum to abolish the directly elected mayor and return to having a leader of the council, as it had done prior to 2002, being the leadership model used by most English councils.[25] 7,366 voted against the directly elected mayor system, while 5,177 voted to retain it, on a turnout of 18%.[25]

The leaders from 1999 to 2002 were:

Councillor Party From To
Ray Waller[26] Labour 1999
Russell Hart[27] Labour 1999 2000
Arthur Preece[28] Liberal Democrats 2000 5 May 2002

The directly elected mayor was:

Mayor Party From To
Stuart Drummond Independent 6 May 2002 2 May 2013

The leaders since 2013 have been:[29]

Councillor Party From To
Christopher Akers-Belcher Labour 2 May 2013 May 2019
Shane Moore Independent Union 23 May 2019 12 Sep 2019
Brexit Party[30] 12 Sep 2019 31 Jan 2020
Independent Union[31] 31 Jan 2020 16 May 2023
Mike Young Conservative 16 May 2023 21 May 2024
Brenda Harrison[13] Labour 21 May 2024


Following the 2024 election the composition of the council was:[15]

Party Councillors
Labour 24
Conservative 6
Independent 5
Independent Union 1
Total 36

The next election is due in May 2026.


See also: Hartlepool Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2020 the council has comprised 36 councillors representing 12 wards, with each ward electing three councillors. Elections are held three years out of every four, with a third of the council (one councillor for each ward) elected each time for a four-year term of office.[32]


The council is based at the Civic Centre on Victoria Road, which was built in the 1970s.[33] Prior to that it was based at the Municipal Buildings on Church Square, which had been built in 1889 for the old West Hartlepool Borough Council.[34] Before the 1967 merger the old Hartlepool Borough Council had been based at Hartlepool Borough Hall on Middlegate.

Municipal Buildings, Church Square: Built 1889 for West Hartlepool Borough Council
Hartlepool Borough Hall: Built 1866 for the old Hartlepool Borough Council
Hartlepool Civic Centre: Built 1970s following merger of the two boroughs.


See also: List of civil parishes in County Durham

Settlements in the borough include:


Main article: Demographics of Tees Valley


Ethnic Group Year
1991[35] 2001[36] 2011[37] 2021[38]
Number % Number % Number % Number %
White: Total 89,765 99.3% 87,569 98.8% 89,899 97.7% 89,068 96.4%
White: British 86,874 98% 88,924 96.6% 87,761 95.0%
White: Irish 235 193 170 0.2%
White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller 40 37 0.0%
White: Roma 19 0.0%
White: Other 460 742 1,081 1.2%
Asian or Asian British: Total 486 0.5% 602 0.7% 1,304 1.4% 1,600 1.7%
Asian or Asian British: Indian 160 187 266 335 0.4%
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 106 204 291 297 0.3%
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 73 73 214 278 0.3%
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 94 110 229 217 0.2%
Asian or Asian British: Other Asian 53 28 304 473 0.5%
Black or Black British: Total 78 70 170 0.2% 445 0.6%
Black or Black British: African 31 36 36 327 0.4%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 21 16 129 57 0.1%
Black or Black British: Other Black 26 18 5 61 0.1%
Mixed or British Mixed: Total 311 0.4% 550 0.6% 671 0.8%
Mixed: White and Black Caribbean 85 180 143 0.2%
Mixed: White and Black African 34 54 115 0.1%
Mixed: White and Asian 94 173 240 0.3%
Mixed: Other Mixed 98 143 173 0.2%
Other: Total 80 59 105 0.1% 554 0.6%
Other: Arab 57 270 0.3%
Other: Any other ethnic group 80 59 48 284 0.3%
Total 90,409 100% 88,611 100% 92,028 100% 92,338 100%


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Hartlepool Local Authority (E06000001)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ Surtees, Robert (1823). The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 3. London: Nichols and Son. pp. 99–120. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  3. ^ Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Municipal Corporations in England and Wales: Appendix 3. 1835. p. 1531. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  4. ^ "Hartlepool Municipal Borough / County Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  5. ^ "West Hartlepool Improvement Act 1854". legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  6. ^ "Seaton Carew Township / Civil Parish". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  7. ^ "West Hartlepool Municipal Borough / County Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  8. ^ "West Hartlepool Municipal Borough / County Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  9. ^ Hartlepool Order 1966 Commons debate and Lords debate
  10. ^ "Local Government Boundaries (Hartlepool)". House of Commons Debates. 7 February 1967. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  11. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 28 February 2024
  12. ^ "The Local Government Changes for England (Miscellaneous Provision) Regulations 1995", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1995/1748, retrieved 6 March 2024
  13. ^ a b c Marko, Nic (22 May 2024). "New Hartlepool Borough Council leader Brenda Harrison aims to make town 'an even better place to live, work and visit'". Hartlepool Mail. Retrieved 2 June 2024.
  14. ^ Marko, Nic (11 June 2020). "Meet the new woman at the helm of Hartlepool council as new leadership team announced". Hartlepool Mail. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  15. ^ a b Marko, Nic (3 May 2024). "Win for Labour in Hartlepool as they lead council for first time since 2019". The Northern Echo. Darlington. Archived from the original on 4 May 2024. Retrieved 4 May 2024.
  16. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  17. ^ "The Tees Valley Combined Authority Order 2016". legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. SI 2016/449. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  18. ^ Nic Marko (10 May 2021), "Four Hartlepool villages have 'no confidence' in borough council and want to join Durham", Hartlepool Mail
  19. ^ "Charter sets the seal on stronger partnership between Hartlepool's Borough and Parish Councils". Hartlepool Borough Council. 23 March 2023. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  20. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  21. ^ "Hartlepool". BBC News. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  22. ^ Mark Sandford (March 2002). "Who wants an elected mayor? Lessons from the first wave". New Economy. 9 (1). Institute of Public Policy Research: 47–51. doi:10.1111/1468-0041.00239.
  23. ^ "Monkey mascot elected mayor". BBC News. 3 May 2002. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
  24. ^ "Winning 'monkey' mayor gains wife". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
  25. ^ a b Mulholland, Hélène (16 November 2012). "Mayor H'Angus the Monkey finally loses his Hartlepool habitat". The Guardian. London: 16 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  26. ^ Hetherington, Peter (1 May 2000). "Labour struggle for the heart of Hartlepool". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  27. ^ "Former Hartlepool council leader Russell Hart dies". Hartlepool Mail. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  28. ^ "Councillor's bid to be mayor". Northern Echo. 19 March 2002. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  29. ^ "Council minutes". Hartlepool Borough Council. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  30. ^ Scott, Jim (13 September 2019). "The Brexit Party takes hold of Hartlepool Borough Council". Northern Echo. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  31. ^ Marko, Nic (5 February 2020). "Brexit Party loses control in Hartlepool after council leader Shane Moore quits party". Hartlepool Mail. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  32. ^ "The Hartlepool (Electoral Changes) Order 2019", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2019/1089, retrieved 2 March 2024
  33. ^ "Hartlepool Civic Centre". Hartlepool Borough Council. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  34. ^ Historic England. "Cleveland College of Art and Design, former Municipal Buildings, Church Square (Grade II) (1250113)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  35. ^ Data is taken from United Kingdom Casweb Data services of the United Kingdom 1991 Census on Ethnic Data for England, Scotland and Wales (Table 6)
  36. ^ "Office of National Statistics; 2001 Census Key Statistics". webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  37. ^ "2011 Census: Ethnic Group, local authorities in England and Wales". webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  38. ^ "Ethnic group – Office for National Statistics". ons.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 November 2022.

54°41′11″N 1°12′39″W / 54.68639°N 1.21083°W / 54.68639; -1.21083