Borough of Dacorum
Hemel Hempstead town centre
Hemel Hempstead town centre
Coat of arms of Dacorum
Dacorum shown within Hertfordshire
Dacorum shown within Hertfordshire
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionEast of England
Administrative countyHertfordshire
Founded1 April 1974
Admin. HQHemel Hempstead
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district
 • BodyDacorum Borough Council
 • Leadership:Leader & Cabinet
 • MPs:Gagan Mohindra
Mike Penning
 • Total82 sq mi (212 km2)
 • Rank141st
 • Total156,123
 • RankRanked 134th
 • Density1,900/sq mi (740/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
ONS code26UC (ONS)
E07000096 (GSS)

Dacorum is a local government district with borough status in Hertfordshire, England. The council is based in Hemel Hempstead. The borough also includes the towns of Berkhamsted and Tring and surrounding villages. The borough had a population of 155,081 in 2021.[2] Dacorum was created in 1974 and is named after the ancient hundred of Dacorum which had covered a similar area. The borough of Dacorum is the westernmost of Hertfordshire's ten districts. It borders St Albans, Three Rivers, Buckinghamshire and Central Bedfordshire.


Dacorum means "of the Dacians" in medieval Latin.[a][3] The name appears to reference a period in Saxon times when the area formed part of the Danelaw which covered much of what is now eastern England, although the duration and extent of Danish occupation in this area is unclear and continues to be debated by historians. In 1086, the Domesday Book records a hundred called Danais (also meaning "of the Danes") and a neighbouring hundred called Tring; the two had merged into a single hundred by about 1200 which was thereafter called Dacorum.[4] From the seventeenth century onwards, hundreds gradually declined in importance as administrative divisions, with their functions passing to other bodies such as the county courts. The final administrative functions of hundreds were extinguished in 1886.[5]

The modern local government district of Dacorum was created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the whole area of five former districts and parts of another two, which were all abolished at the same time:[6]

The new district was named Dacorum after the medieval hundred, which had covered a similar area.[7]

The district was granted borough status in 1984, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor. Hemel Hempstead had maintained Charter Trustees from 1974 to 1984. The amalgamation of the former local authorities was symbolised in the seven oak leaves which surround a Tudor rose on the Dacorum coat of arms, issued in 1992.[8]


Dacorum Borough Council
Brenda Link,
Liberal Democrats
since 15 May 2024[9]
Adrian England,
Liberal Democrats
since 15 May 2024
Claire Hamilton
since October 2020[10]
Seats51 Councillors
Political groups
Administration (28)
  Liberal Democrats (28)
Opposition (23)
  Conservative (17)
  Labour (3)
  Independent (3)
Plurality voting system
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1DN

Hertfordshire has a two-tier structure of local government, with the ten district councils (including Dacorum Borough Council) providing district-level services, and Hertfordshire County Council providing county-level services. In some areas there is an additional third tier of civil parishes.[11]

Political control

The Liberal Democrats won a majority of the seats on the council at the 2023 election. Prior to 2023 the Conservatives had held a majority of the seats since 2003.

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[12][13]

Party in control Years
Labour 1974–1976
Conservative 1976–1995
Labour 1995–1999
No overall control 1999–2003
Conservative 2003–2023
Liberal Democrats 2023–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Dacorum. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1995 have been:

Councillor Party From To
Julia Coleman[14] Labour 1995 1999
Andrew Williams Conservative 1999 17 May 2023
Ron Tindall Liberal Democrats 17 May 2023 15 May 2024
Adrian England Liberal Democrats 15 May 2024


Following the 2023 election and a subsequent change of allegiance in March 2024, the composition of the council was:[15][16]

Party Councillors
Liberal Democrats 28
Conservative 17
Labour 3
Independent 4
Total 51

The next election is due in 2027.


The council is based at The Forum on Marlowes in Hemel Hempstead. From the council's creation in 1974 until 2017, the council was based at Dacorum Civic Centre, also on Marlowes in Hemel Hempstead. That building had previously been called Hemel Hempstead Town Hall, having been built for Hemel Hempstead Borough Council in 1966 to replace the Old Town Hall on High Street. On 16 January 2017 the council opened its new headquarters at The Forum, on the corner of Marlowes and Combe Street, immediately south of the Civic Centre, which was demolished shortly afterwards.[17]

Civic Centre, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead: Council's headquarters 1974–2017, since demolished


See also: Dacorum local elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2007 the council has comprised 51 councillors, representing 25 wards, with each ward electing one, two or three councillors. The whole council is elected together every four years.[18]


The borough's wards are:[18]


Hemel Hempstead is an unparished area. The rest of the borough is divided into 16 civil parishes, with Berkhamsted and Tring parish councils taking the style "town council". The civil parishes are:[19]


Coat of arms of Dacorum
Granted 21 January 1992.
A sprig of seven oak leaves Proper and acorns Or inflected to the sinister out of a mural crown Or.
Or seven oak leaves stalks inward Vert radiating from a Tudor rose Proper.
Two stags in trian aspect Proper attired and unguled Or gorged with a wreath Or and Gules ribbons flowing outward depending therefrom a bezant charged with oak leaves and a Tudor rose as in the Arms standing on a compartment Vert strewn with sprigs of oak leaves Proper and acorns Or.[20]


In terms of television, Dacorum is served by BBC London and ITV London with television signals received from the Crystal Palace transmitter [21] and the Hemel Hempstead relay transmitter.[22] However, Tring receive regional overlaps of both Sandy Heath (BBC East/ITV Anglia) [23] and Oxford (BBC South/ITV Meridian) transmitters. [24]

Radio stations for the area are:

Local newspapers are Hemel Hempstead Gazette and St Albans Observer.

Town twinning

Two of the civil parishes in the borough also maintain their own separate twinning arrangements:

See also


  1. ^ Dacorum literally means "of the Dacians", a term which was used in the Middle Ages for the Danes based on a legend (now dismissed as erroneous) that certain tribes from Dacia in south-eastern Europe had migrated to Denmark in the distant past.
  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Dacorum Local Authority (E07000096)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ "Census 2021 Data".
  3. ^ Latin Dictionary, accessed 10 August 2022
  4. ^ Williamson, Tom (2010). The Origins of Hertfordshire. Hatfield: Hertfordshire Publications. pp. 106, 226. ISBN 978-1-905313-95-2.
  5. ^ Riot (Damages) Act 1886 (49 & 50 Vict. c. 38), s.2
  6. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 12 May 2023
  7. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 12 May 2023
  8. ^ "About Dacorum". Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
  9. ^ "Council meeting, 15 May 2024". Dacorum Borough Council. Retrieved 16 May 2024.
  10. ^ Patel, Holly (6 August 2020). "Dacorum Borough Council appoints new chief executive". Hemel Today. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  11. ^ "Local Government Act 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 3 March 2023
  12. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  13. ^ "Dacorum". BBC Online. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  14. ^ "Tributes paid to former Hemel Hempstead Mayor Les Taber". Hemel Today. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2023. Julia Coleman was the leader of Dacorum Borough Council from 1995 to 1999...
  15. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  16. ^ Boothroyd, David (29 March 2024). "Somerset turns another Page". Local Councils. Thorncliffe. Retrieved 11 May 2024.
  17. ^ "New £15m home for Dacorum Borough Council and library officially opens in Hemel Hempstead". Hemel Today. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  18. ^ a b "The Borough of Dacorum (Electoral Changes) Order 2007", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2007/139, retrieved 17 May 2023
  19. ^ "Community connections". Dacorum Borough Council. Retrieved 17 May 2023.
  20. ^ "East of England Region". Civic Heraldry of England. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Full Freeview on the Crystal Palace (Greater London, England) transmitter". May 2004.
  22. ^ "Hemel Hempstead (Hertfordshire, England) Full Freeview transmitter". May 2004.
  23. ^ "Full Freeview on the Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  24. ^ "Full Freeview on the Oxford (Oxfordshire, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  25. ^ "Radio Dacorum". Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  26. ^ "Tring Radio". Retrieved 21 April 2024.


51°46′N 00°32′W / 51.767°N 0.533°W / 51.767; -0.533