UKIP calls for by-election to fill vacant town council seat

Polling Station Sign (photo by Paul Downey).

The local branch of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has called for a by-election to fill a vacant seat on Bradley Stoke Town Council.

The vacancy, in the Primrose Bridge parish ward, arose in February when Keir Gravil (Conservative) resigned because he is going to work abroad.

Local UKIP councillor Ben Walker, buoyed by the good showing of his party’s candidate in the Eastleigh parliamentary by-election at the end of February, has told The Journal that local UKIP supporters are responsible for forcing the local by-election, despite him previously expressing concern about the cost implications for the town council.

On 1st March, Cllr Walker tweeted:

“On the back of #Eastleigh, can #UKIP go step further in Bradley Stoke & win a Town Council seat following 2nd #Tory resignation in 6 months!”

The staging of a town council by-election in the Meadowbank parish ward last September cost local taxpayers £4,437. The turnout for that poll, called after the resignation of Barry Mitchell (Conservative), was just 20.8% (508 voters). In a three-way contest, the Conservative candidate Paul Hardwick comfortably defeated Caroline Sullivan (UKIP) and Robin Horsfall (Labour).

The town council is currently formed of 12 Conservative members and three from UKIP.

The three UKIP councillors, Ben Walker, Ed Rose and Kim Harris, were all elected as Conservatives at the May 2011 election but chose to defect last year.

Nominations for the by-election close at noon on Friday (5th April). Assuming it is contested, the poll will take place on Thursday 2nd May.

The Primrose Bridge parish ward covers an area between central and north Bradley Stoke and includes roads such as Dewfalls Drive, Wheatfield Drive, Saxon Way, Winsbury Way, Oaktree Crescent, Campion Drive and Ellicks Close.

Do you live in the Primrose Bridge parish ward? Check out the interactive map of parish ward boundaries on The Journal’s Contact your Councillor page.

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  1. How can UKIP justify spending all this money on a by-election. They lost last time, so probably will loose again. Councillors are supposed to spend the ratepayers money sensibly, not like this when the result, whoever wins, will make no difference to the council. Thanks UKIP for costing us £4,437. Money that could have been spent on services for Bradley Stoke residents!

  2. I tend to agree with J & B’s comment above, it all seems like a huge waste of ever scarcer local council funding, UKIP will have wasted nearly £9000 of what to all intents and purposes is our money! over two by-elections to basically achieve nothing. Politics at this level of local government should be about doing the best for the local community and spending the ratepayers money wisely and not wasting it by forcing a local election that nobody really wants (considering only 1/5th of those eligible to vote, turned out last time).

  3. What a disgraceful waste of council money calling a by-election. UKIP have already wasted £4437.00 of OUR money on one failed election and now they are off again. If they really want to represent the people of Bradley Stoke they should stand again themselves as UKIP rather than fraudently representing the people who voted for them as Conservatives!

  4. We live in a democratic country. We elect our representatives – councillors, MPs and MEPs. As with most things in life there are costs to this democracy. Elections are not free. In the case of a local election for Bradley Stoke this appears to be almost four and a half thousand pounds. For those blaming a political party for these costs may I point out that it is voters who invoke the democratic process (10 must write to the retuning officer within 14 days of the vacancy being advertised) and we should not slate them or any party for invoking the democratic process. Perhaps the cost of the election should be met by the outgoing representative or the party they are a member? I would also encourage BSTC councillors to ask South Glos to justify the election costs.
    All said and done I am happy that a small part of my precept is spent to ensure democracy is carried out. It is unfortunate that turnout is so low but a low turnout to elect a representative is better in my opinion than co-opting councillors.

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