Borough of Hertsmere
Hertsmere shown within Hertfordshire
Hertsmere shown within Hertfordshire
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionEast of England
Non-metropolitan countyHertfordshire
StatusNon-metropolitan district, Borough
Admin HQBorehamwood
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyHertsmere Borough Council
 • LeadershipLeader & Cabinet (Conservative)
 • MPsOliver Dowden
 • Total39.06 sq mi (101.16 km2)
 • Rank196th (of 296)
 • Total108,105
 • Rank221st (of 296)
 • Density2,800/sq mi (1,100/km2)
 • Ethnicity
88.9% White
4.7% S.Asian
2.5% Black
2.0% Mixed
1.8% Chinese or Other
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code26UE (ONS)
E07000098 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTQ195975

Hertsmere is a local government district with borough status in Hertfordshire, England. Its council is based in Borehamwood. Other settlements in the borough include Bushey, Elstree, Radlett and Potters Bar. The borough contains several film studios, including Elstree Studios and the BBC Elstree Centre at Borehamwood. The borough borders Three Rivers, Watford, St Albans, and Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire and the three north London boroughs of Harrow, Barnet and Enfield. Hertsmere is located mainly within the M25 Motorway.


Hertsmere was created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the whole area of three former districts and a single parish from a fourth district, which were all abolished at the same time:[1]

The Potters Bar Urban District (which coincided with the parish of South Mimms) was historically part of Middlesex, but had been transferred to Hertfordshire on 1 April 1965 when Greater London was created and Middlesex County Council abolished.[2]

The name "Hertsmere" was coined for the new district by combining the common abbreviation of Hertfordshire ("Herts") with "mere", an archaic word for a boundary, referencing the area's location on Hertfordshire's border with Greater London and also the fact that it straddles the historic county boundary between Middlesex and Hertfordshire. The name is reflected in the council's coat of arms, which shows a hart upon the battlements of a boundary wall.[3]

The district was awarded borough status on 15 April 1977, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor.[4]

The borough was originally in the Metropolitan Police District, despite being outside the modern Greater London boundaries. It was transferred to Hertfordshire Constabulary in 2000.

Film studios

Hertsmere is the location of Elstree Film and TV Studios, which produces such shows as Strictly Come Dancing, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Dancing on Ice, and was the location for the Big Brother house. The studios were bought by Hertsmere Borough Council in 1996 and are now operated via Elstree Film Studios Limited, a council-controlled company.[5]

Hertsmere is also the location for BBC Elstree Centre, the site of EastEnders, Holby City, and formerly the home to Top of the Pops, before its move to BBC TV Centre.

The area was also home to other TV and film studios, including MGM, until this was demolished for residential development, and is now an area called Studio Way.


Hertsmere Borough Council
Chris Myers,
since 17 May 2023
Jeremy Newmark,
since 17 May 2023
Sajida Bijle
since 25 January 2020[6]
Political groups
Administration (23)
  Labour (14)
  Liberal Democrats (9)

Opposition (16)

  Conservative (16)
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
Meeting place
Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, WD6 1WA
CrestOn a Wreath Argent and Azure in front of an Oak Tree proper fructed Or a demi Hart Royal guardant proper gorged with a Mural Crown Or and resting the sinister forehoof on a Cinematograph Spool loaded with film proper.
BlazonOr on an embattled Wall of grey stone throughout in base Proper pierced with a gate therein a portcullis raised Sable a hart royal at gaze Proper.
SupportersOn either side a Hart Royal guardant proper gorged with a Mural Crown Or that on the dexter charged on the shoulder with an Artist's Palette proper and that on the sinister with a Potter's Wheel Or.
MottoDo Well And Fear Not
BadgeOn a Roundel Or environed of a Garland of Oak proper fructed Or issuant from an embattled Wall of grey stone throughout in base a Hart Royal's Head affronty proper.
Granted 5 September 1975 [7]

Hertfordshire has a two-tier structure of local government, with the ten district councils (including Hertsmere 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.[8]

Political control

The council went under no overall control at the 2023 election. Prior to that election the Conservatives had held a majority of the seats on the council since 1999.[9] Whilst the Conservatives were still the largest party on the council, a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition formed to take control of the council instead. Labour group leader Jeremy Newmark became leader of the council and Liberal Democrat group leader Paul Richards became deputy leader of the council.[10]

The first elections to Hertsmere District Council were held in 1973, initially acting as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements took effect on 1 April 1974. Political control since 1974 has been as follows:[11][12]

Party in control Years
No overall control 1974–1976
Conservative 1976–1994
No overall control 1994–1996
Labour 1996–1999
Conservative 1999–2023
No overall control 2023–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Hertsmere, and is usually held by a different councillor each year. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1999 have been:[13]

Councillor Party From To
Stuart Nagler Conservative 26 May 1999 17 Oct 2001
Neil Payne Conservative 17 Oct 2001 20 Sep 2006
John Graham Conservative 20 Sep 2006 8 Oct 2007
Morris Bright Conservative 8 Oct 2007 17 May 2023
Jeremy Newmark Labour 17 May 2023


Following the 2023 election the composition of the council is as follows:[14]

Party Councillors
Conservative 16
Labour 14
Liberal Democrats 9
Total 39

The next election is due to be held in 2027.


The council inherited offices at Rudolph Road in Bushey, Darkes Lane in Potters Bar, and Shenley Road in Borehamwood from its predecessor authorities. A new building, called Hertsmere Civic Offices, was built in 1975–1976 on Elstree Way in Borehamwood to serve as the council's principal offices and meeting place.[15]


Main article: Hertsmere Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2019, the council comprises 39 councillors elected from 16 wards, each of which returns either two or three councillors. Elections for the whole council are held every four years.[16]


The borough's 16 wards are:[16]

Wider politics

Until 1983 the borough was included in the parliamentary constituency of Hertfordshire South. In 1983 the constituency was renamed Hertsmere.

Hertsmere had been represented in Parliament by Conservative, James Clappison since 1992. He succeeded Cecil Parkinson who had been Member of Parliament for the area since 1974. It is now represented by the Conservative, Oliver Dowden.

Civic Awards

In 2003, the Borough Council started to present a small number of Civic Awards to people who live or work in Hertsmere 'in recognition of work undertaken for the benefit of residents of the Borough'.


The borough contains five parishes:

Four of the parishes have parish councils, with Hertsmere Meriden instead having only a parish meeting. Bushey and Potters Bar are unparished areas, being directly administered by Hertsmere Borough Council.


The 2011 census showed that Hertsmere was the second most Jewish local authority area in the United Kingdom, with Jews comprising one in seven residents (the area with the highest Jewish population being the London Borough of Barnet).[17] In the 2021 census Hertsmere overtook Barnet to become the most Jewish local authority area, with Jews comprising one in every six residents. Jews form a plurality of the population in two wards of the borough, Bushey Heath and Elstree.


  1. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972",, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 12 May 2023
  2. ^ "London Government Act 1963",, The National Archives, 1963 c. 33, retrieved 14 May 2023
  3. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973",, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 12 May 2023
  4. ^ "Alterations of Area and Status of Local Authorities December 1976 – May 1977" (PDF). Department of the Environment. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Our History". Elstree Studios. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  6. ^ McLaughlin, Charlotte (26 January 2020). "First woman and member of BAME community appointed as managing director of Hertsmere Borough Council". Welwyn Hatfield Times. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  7. ^ "HERTSMERE BOROUGH COUNCIL (HERTS)". Robert Young. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 3 March 2023
  9. ^ "Local elections 2023: Tories lose Dacorum, Hertsmere, East Herts and Welwyn Hatfield". BBC News. 6 May 2023. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  10. ^ "Council meeting, 17 May 2023". Hertsmere Borough Council. Retrieved 18 May 2023.
  11. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  12. ^ "Hertsmere". BBC News Online. 19 April 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  13. ^ "Council minutes". Hertsmere Borough Council. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Hertsmere election result". BBC News. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  15. ^ Planning Application 75/209: Offices and ancillary accommodation of Hertsmere District Council at Elstree Way, Borehamwood. Permission granted 3 April 1975. (Referenced in planning application TP/13/0014.)
  16. ^ a b "The Hertsmere (Electoral Changes) Order 2018",, The National Archives, SI 2018/535, retrieved 14 May 2023
  17. ^ Office for National Statistics 1 June 2006 accessed 1 January 2012

51°40′N 0°16′W / 51.66°N 0.27°W / 51.66; -0.27