A by-election to fill a vacant seat representing the South ward on Bradley Stoke Town Council looks almost certain to take place in the last week of March.
The vacancy arose after Nikki Hallur, a Conservative councillor elected just eight months ago in the May 2019 poll, handed in her resignation in mid-January, citing “personal reasons”.
A notice of election to fill the vacancy was published on 20th February and a poll will take place on Thursday 26th March, subject to more than one valid nomination being received.
The Journal understands that at least two separate groups submitted the necessary number of ten local elector signatures in order to force a by-election.
Had a by-election not been requested, the vacancy would have been filled by ‘co-option’, a procedure which effectively involves the remaining 14 council members appointing someone of their own liking.
As we went to press, two of the minority parties on the Conservative-led council, Labour and the Citizens Movement Party UK, had already announced their intention to field candidates.
The by-election will see around 6,700 residents called to vote, many more than in previous town council by-elections due to a decision by the Boundary Commission to reduce the number of wards in Bradley Stoke ahead of the May 2019 poll.
Following the recent resignation, the make-up of the town council is 11 Conservative, 1 Labour, 1 Citizens Movement Party UK and 1 independent, so the result of the by-election will not affect overall control of the council.
The cost of staging the by-election, which will fall on the town council, has been estimated by Cllr John Ashe to be in the region of £7,000 to £8,000.
In the May 2019 poll, when all South Gloucestershire and town or parish council seats were up for grabs, turnout in the Bradley Stoke South ward (represented by seven seats on the town council) was just 26 percent. Turnout for a single-seat by-election is likely to be lower.
The Conservatives won all seven seats in the ward on that occasion, attracting 63.9 percent of the total votes cast, with Labour Party candidates on 21.9 percent and independents 14.2 percent.
Assuming the by-election goes ahead as expected on 26th March, voters in Bradley Stoke South will be called to the polls for a second time just six weeks later, on 7th May, to elect the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Journal understands that delaying the town council by-election to 7th May was not an option as legislation requires a poll, if requested, to take place within 60 working days of the publication of the notice of vacancy, which happened on 16th January.
Residents in the Bradley Stoke South ward can expect to receive polling cards for the by-election in early March.
A map of the ward boundaries in Bradley Stoke may be viewed on the town council website.
More information and related links:
- 2020 Bradley Stoke South By-election (Town) (BSJ)
- Result of poll in this ward in the 2019 election (SGC)
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 12). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
UPDATE (4th March 2020)
A Statement of Persons Nominated and Notice of Poll was duly published on Friday 28th February 2020.
As stated in the article, the poll will take place on Thursday 26th March 2020.
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