May 2021 by-elections cost town council over £15,000

Logo of Bradley Stoke Town Council.

The total cost of staging by-elections in May 2021 for two vacant seats on Bradley Stoke Town Council has come in at a staggering £15,187.

The charges, levied by South Gloucestershire Council, which administers the local aspects of all elections, fall on the town council to pay.

Previous one-off by-elections in recent years have cost the town council up to around £4,500 each.

However, these were all held when the ward sizes, and hence the number of people entitled to vote, were significantly smaller than they are now.

The increased size of the electorate is a consequence of the Boundary Commission reducing the number of wards in the town to three (from seven previously), prior to the May 2019 elections.

Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

It had been anticipated that the cost of staging a single town council by-election staged in isolation from any other might rise to between £7,000 and £8,000. However, given that the two by-elections held in May 2021 were held on the same day as the elections for the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner and the West of England ‘metro mayor’, it could reasonably be expected that the charges falling on the town council would be lower than this, due to the sharing of costs.

The two by-elections held in May 2021 saw Angela Morey (Independent) win the vacant seat in Bradley Stoke North with 826 votes, while Edward He (Conservative) took the vacant seat in Bradley Stoke South with 1,118 votes.

Collage: Photos of two councillors.
Victors in the May 2021 town council by-elections (l-r): Angela Morey, the victor in Bradley Stoke North; and Edward He, who took Bradley Stoke South.

Turnout in Bradley Stoke North, where there were three candidates, was 32.4 percent. In Bradley Stoke South (two candidates), it was 30.2 percent. These figures are much lower than the 72.6 percent recorded at constituency level for the 2019 general election.

The per-ward cost of staging the by-elections was £7,192 for the North ward and £7,995 for the South ward.


When a vacancy arises on a town or parish council, a by-election is only held if one is called for by at least ten local electors. Otherwise, the vacancy is filled by ‘co-option’, meaning that the remaining members of council chose someone of their own liking who has expressed an interest in taking on the role once it has been advertised.

This article originally appeared in the October 2021 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.

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