Durham County Council

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Durham County Council
Arms of Durham County Council
Durham County Council.svg
Amanda Hopgood,
Liberal Democrat
since 26 May 2021[1]
Chief Executive
John Hewitt
Seats126 councillors[2]
Durham County Council 2021.svg
Political groups
Administration (68)
  •   Conservative (23)
  •   Independent/not specified (21)
  •   Liberal Democrats (17)
  •   Derwentside Independents (5)
  •   North East Party (2)
  •   Green (1)

Non-aligned Group (3)

Opposition (55)
Length of term
4 years
First past the post
Last election
6 May 2021
Next election
May 2025
Meeting place
Main Entrance County Hall Durham City (geograph 1867806).jpg
County Hall, Durham

Durham County Council is a local unitary authority governing local government functions for the County Durham district of North East England. The council area covers part of wider ceremonial County Durham. County Hall in Durham is the council's headquarters.

Between its establishment in 1889 and major local government reforms in England in 1974, the council administered the historic county of Durham. From 1974 until 2009 the district area was governed as a non-metropolitan county.

Following the 2021 Durham County Council election the council is under no overall control. A Conservative/Liberal Democrat/Independents coalition was formed at the 2021 Annual General Meeting.[3] From 1919 to 2021 the council was under the control of the Labour Party, who held a majority except from 1922 to 1925.


The Local Government Act 1888 created Durham County Council with effect from April 1889 as the upper-tier local authority for the administrative county of Durham. At the same time, Gateshead, South Shields, and Sunderland were made county boroughs, exempting them from county council control. The first elections took place in January 1889. Darlington became a separate county borough in 1915, Hartlepool in 1967, and Teesside in 1969. Durham was the first county council to be controlled by the Labour Party, which won the most seats in 1919.[3]

In 1974, the boundaries of the council area changed significantly as the new counties of Tyne and Wear and Cleveland were created, taking in areas in the northeast and southeast of County Durham. At the same time, the county council area gained the part of Teesdale south of the River Tees from the North Riding of Yorkshire.

In 1997 Darlington became a unitary authority, removing it from county council control.

Durham County Council itself became a unitary authority on 1 April 2009, when the seven remaining non-metropolitan districts of the county (Durham (City), Easington, Sedgefield (Borough), Teesdale, Wear Valley, Derwentside, and Chester-le-Street) were abolished and the county council absorbed their functions.

The legislation which created the unitary authority allowed the council to name itself 'Durham Council', but in the event the name 'Durham County Council' was kept.[4]


The unitary district is situated around the non-metropolitan areas of County Durham, covering the towns of Consett, Barnard Castle, Peterlee, Seaham, Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Shildon, Chester-le-Street, Crook, Stanhope, Spennymoor, Ferryhill, Sedgefield and the cathedral city of Durham. As well as all surrounding hamlets, villages and suburbs of the unitary authority.[citation needed]

Darlington, Hartlepool and the parts of Stockton-on-Tees North of the River Tees are still part of the ceremonial county of County Durham but separate from the new unitary authority.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Cross party alliance to run Durham County Council as 100-year Labour rule officially ends". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  2. ^ Durham County Council, webadmin@durham gov uk. "Local MPs and MEPs - information and advice". Durham County Council. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b Bloom, Dan (9 May 2021). "Labour lose control of Durham Council heartland for first time in a century". mirror. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  4. ^ "The Local Government (Structural Changes) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Other Provision) Order 2009". Legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 10 February 2019.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by LGC Council of the Year
Succeeded by