Brighton and Hove City Council
Arms of Brighton and Hove City Council
Coat of arms
Founded1 April 1997
Mohammed Asaduzzaman,
since 16 May 2024[1]
Bella Sankey,
since 25 May 2023
Jess Gibbons
since 18 March 2024[2][3]
Seats54 councillors
Political groups
Administration (38)
  Labour (38)
Other parties (16)
  Green (7)
  Conservative (5)
  Brighton and Hove Ind. (2)
  Independent (2)
Joint committees
Greater Brighton City Board
Length of term
4 years
Plurality block voting
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove, BN3 3BQ

Brighton and Hove City Council is the local authority for Brighton and Hove, a local government district with city status in the ceremonial county of East Sussex, England. The council is a unitary authority, being a district council which also performs the functions of a county council. The council has been under Labour majority control since 2023. It is based at Hove Town Hall.


The district of Brighton and Hove was created in 1997 as a merger of the former Borough of Brighton and Borough of Hove, both of which had been lower-tier districts with East Sussex County Council providing county-level services prior to 1997. The new district was removed from the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex to also become its own non-metropolitan county, but with no county council; instead the district council performs both district and county functions, making it a unitary authority.[4] For the purposes of lieutenancy and shrievalty, Brighton and Hove remains part of the wider ceremonial county of East Sussex.[5]

The new district was awarded borough status from its creation on 1 April 1997, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor.[6] The borough was additionally awarded city status on 31 January 2001, since when the council has been called Brighton and Hove City Council.[7]

In December 2023 the council leader declared that the council was facing bankruptcy.[8]


The council provides both district-level and county-level services. In its capacity as a district council it is a billing authority collecting council tax and business rates, and it is responsible for town planning, housing, waste collection and environmental health. In its capacity as a county council it is a local education authority, and is responsible for social services, libraries and waste disposal.[9] There is one civil parish in the city at Rottingdean which provides an additional tier of local government for that area; the rest of the city is an unparished area.[10]

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since the 2023 election.[11]

The first election to the council was held in 1996, initially acting as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until it came into its powers on 1 April 1997.[4] Political control of the council since 1997 has been as follows:[12][13]

Party in control Years
Labour 1997–2003
No overall control 2003–2023
Labour 2023–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Brighton and Hove. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The first leader following the merger, Steve Bassam, had been the last leader of the old Brighton Borough Council. In 2011, Bill Randall of the Green Party was appointed leader, being the party's first council leader in the United Kingdom.[14] The leaders since the council's creation in 1997 have been:[15]

Councillor Party From To
Steve Bassam Labour 1997 1999
Lynette Gwyn-Jones Labour 1999 2001
Ken Bodfish Labour 2001 2006
Simon Burgess Labour 2006 6 May 2007
Brian Oxley Conservative 24 May 2007 15 May 2008
Mary Mears Conservative 15 May 2008 19 May 2011
Bill Randall Green 19 May 2011 17 May 2012
Jason Kitcat Green 17 May 2012 10 May 2015
Warren Morgan Labour 21 May 2015 17 May 2018
Daniel Yates Labour 17 May 2018 22 May 2019
Nancy Platts Labour 22 May 2019 23 Jul 2020
Phélim Mac Cafferty Green 23 Jul 2020 7 May 2023
Bella Sankey Labour 25 May 2023


Following the 2023 election and subsequent by-elections and changes of allegiance up to May 2024, the composition of the council was as follows:[16]

Party Councillors
Labour 38
Green 7
Conservative 5
Brighton and Hove Independents 2
Independent 2
Total 54

The next election is due in 2027.


Brighton Town Hall: Used (with the adjoining Bartholomew House) for some council functions.

The council inherited Brighton Town Hall (completed 1832)[17] and the adjoining 1980s Priory House and Bartholomew House from the old Brighton Borough Council, and Hove Town Hall (completed 1974) from the old Hove Borough Council.[18]

Council meetings are generally held at Hove Town Hall, which also houses the council's main offices.[19] Brighton Town Hall and Bartholomew House continue to be used as a register office, customer service centre and additional offices.[20] Priory House was closed as council offices in 2011 and subsequently converted to residential use.[21]


See also: Brighton and Hove City Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2023 the council has comprised 54 councillors representing 23 wards, with each ward electing two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[22]

Museums service

The council's museums service takes the name Royal Pavilion & Museums, and operates the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Hove Museum and Art Gallery, the Booth Museum of Natural History and Preston Manor.[23]


  1. ^ Booker-Lewis, Sarah (16 May 2024). "Councillors elect Brighton and Hove's first Muslim mayor". Brighton and Hove News. Retrieved 17 May 2024.
  2. ^ Benn, Dan (2023-12-08). "New Chief Executive appointed to council". Public Sector Executive. Retrieved 2023-12-09.
  3. ^ "New council chief executive joins today". Brighton and Hove City Council. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  4. ^ a b "The East Sussex (Boroughs of Brighton and Hove) (Structural Change) Order 1995",, The National Archives, SI 1995/1770, retrieved 7 May 2024
  5. ^ "Lieutenancies Act 1997: Schedule 1",, The National Archives, 1997 c. 23 (sch. 1), retrieved 7 May 2024
  6. ^ "Understanding borough status; national context" (PDF). West Suffolk Council. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  7. ^ "No. 56109". The London Gazette. 5 February 2001. p. 1431.
  8. ^ "Brighton & Hove City Council finances perilous, says leader". BBC News. 2023-12-02. Retrieved 2023-12-09.
  9. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70
  10. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  11. ^ Booker-Lewis, Sarah (30 May 2023). "Brighton and Hove's new leader elected". The Argus. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  12. ^ "Brighton & Hove". BBC News Online. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
  13. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  14. ^ "Go Green for first Green-led council in UK". Retrieved 2016-12-20.
  15. ^ "Council minutes". Brighton and Hove City Council. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  16. ^ "Local elections 2023: full council results for England". The Guardian. 9 May 2023. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  17. ^ Historic England. "Town Hall and attached railings (Grade II) (1379974)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  18. ^ "Hove Town Hall". My Brighton and Hove. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Calendar". Brighton and Hove City Council. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  20. ^ "Visit us in person". Brighton and Hove City Council. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  21. ^ Vowles, Neil (17 February 2014). "Former council office in Bartholomew Square Brighton for sale". The Argus. Retrieved 23 August 2023.
  22. ^ "The Brighton and Hove (Electoral Changes) Order 2023",, The National Archives, SI 2023/22, retrieved 7 May 2024
  23. ^ "Who we are". Royal Pavilion and Museums. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2020.